psychology – looking for a system that works

December 23, 2008 at 1:43 pm (Sport psychology) (, , , )


I’ve always felt that the teaching I was getting was not good enough. I don’t know if this is only a characteristic of the education in my country or is something happening everywhere.

I’ve always felt that the teachers did not manage to point out the main pieces of knowledge and to show the big picture.

I’ve read somewhere that when giving instructions about how to find something in a house to an iNtuitive person you should start with naming the floor, then the room and then get into details, while when giving instructions to a Sensing person you should start with the details (“it’s in the blue box”) and then name the room and the floor.

Could it be that I am more iNtuitive than most people (at least because 70-75 % of them are Sensing) ? Maybe this is why I always had this need for the big picture that most others did not have.

For example in history classes they start with the very old times and then, year by year, they move closer to the current time. They get into a lot of details about ancient times while I know nothing about medieval times. For me this is not how it works best. I want the big picture. I need to have an idea about the big picture before getting into details.

However most people don’t seem to mind these kind of problems.

I feel that in psychology it is the same. I have learned many pieces of information but somehow they don’t come together in a system. We have small maps about dealing with problems but the maps don’t come together in a larger one. Basically, nowadays, each psychologist chooses one or more maps that he/she uses when working with the clients.

Once again most psychologists seem ok with this. I don’t feel ok with it. I need to have a clear larger picture, a larger map. I need a system that incorporates the main points form the all existing psychological theories.

The closest that I came to such a system is Dr Paul’s MindOS (“Mind Operating System”). He offers a few maps about how our decisions are made, about how feelings are generated, etc. I like because it is close to what I need to have, it tries to look at the big picture.

I know we are all different. I know each person is unique. But there are characteristics that apply to all of us that could come together in a system. Among these are: motivation, psychological needs, self-image, self-confidence, expectations, explanatory style, attributional style, personality type, and the list could go on.

In sport psychology we have: goals, goal orientation, motivation, motivational orientation, self-control, self-efficacy, self-belief, attentional style and maybe some others that I don’t know or don’t remember right now.

Of course when working with an athlete we must take into consideration his/her entire person, so a good system should include sport psychology theories as well as general psychology theories.

I feel that psychologically humans can be compared to Rubik’s Cube. To solve it – find the state in which a person is happy and efficient – you must make changes, but sometimes it is not as easy as saying: it is a problem of self-esteem we must fix self-esteem. Sometimes, similar to Rubik’s Cube, making a change on self-esteem will imply a change on another side, it will have an impact on other psychological needs or on the relationships that the person has, or in some other parts.

I’m trying to create, or even find, such a system of working with athletes that takes into consideration as many things as possible. When dealing with ones lack of motivation what else should I consider? MBTI Type? Expectations? The quality of his/her relationships? Self-image?

It makes sense to consider everything, but when working I need to have a clear image of what actually affects ones motivation, or self-image, or concentration, etc – and I believe all other psychologist need to.

And then, when having such a system, we should have a way of knowing the state of the person that we are working with. Like with the Rubik Cube: we could not solve it if we did not know the initial state.

I know that all psychologists gather all possible information about clients that they work with, but to me – and I have a diploma in psychology – it looks more like fishing. In my opinion we still have a long road ahead of us…



  1. Al said,

    Great post! Sounds like you have an openmind, which is a good thing. Good luck in your professional endeavors.

    Happy New Year

  2. infpidealist said,

    Thank you

  3. psychologyofsuccess said,

    I believe the search for a niche and the academic mantra of always pushing the boundries of knowledge keeps people headed in different directions. It is understandable but I can also understand the need for a more holistic approach.

    Continued success in your search!

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