Student Sean Bharrat currently volunteers in the Black Creek Community Health Centre, helping to coach clients to do exercises to assist in rehabilitation and improve general health. As a student in Dr. Paul Dennis' Sport Psychology Seminar course, Sean was able to apply some of the concepts he has been learning in class to his experience at Black Creek. When asked to reflect on his experiences, here's what he had to say:
Using Sports Psychology in a Health and Wellness Setting
This year, I chose to undertake a volunteer position at Black Creek Community Health Centre. Here I was working with many elderly patients with various illnesses and problems, such as hypertension, diabetes and joint and muscle problems. The reason I wanted to take up this opportunity was to better understand the problems in the community and to help educate community members on the benefits of physical activity in their everyday lives. Since I was also taking Prof. Dennis’ Sport Psychology Seminar, I could use this experience as part of his course.
This experience contributed towards my love for helping others and made me look at my education path differently. I've always found a sense of joy in helping others, which is why I have been drawn towards the health field. My future aspirations include becoming a physiotherapist, and this experience has helped put my mind toward this more definite and heart-set goal; it has become more real to me. This in turn has led me to be a more engaged and serious student. In order to be successful in my respective field I have taken a more genuine approach towards being an informed and well-rounded student.
I have found that my experience at the Health Centre has contributed much to the Sport Psychology Seminar course, because it gave me a place to actually use the methods which we learned in class to deal with stress in sport and apply it to real world situations. It equipped me with methods to get through to the clients and build a more personal touch into their experience, because one should trust the person that they choose to go to for advice about health. My experience broadened the scope of the course material to include not only the context of sports, but the context of day to day life. Stresses and struggles always affect us, and the tools we learned in class can be applied anytime. In this case the course material and the experience worked hand in hand to solidify the teaching goals, while putting them into a good working environment. I personally valued this experience and look forward to what more the experiential learning project has to offer for students in the future.