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Counseling & Sport Psychology

Doug Hankes, Ph.D
Executive Director of Counseling and Sport Psychology
(334) 844-5123
hankedm@auburn.edu

Chelsi Battle, Ph.D
Sport Psychologist
(334) 752-2076
csb0052@auburn.edu

Jack Howard, Ph.D
Sport Psychologist
jmh0278@auburn.edu

Isabella Fiorenzo, M.S.
Doctoral Psychology Intern
(334) 844-5123
imf0009@auburn.edu 

Beginning in 2015, the Auburn Athletic Department and Auburn Sports Medicine added embedded professional staff with expertise in both mental health and sport psychology to deliver psychological care to Auburn student-athletes. In 2022, the Auburn Athletics Counseling and Sport Psychology (CSP) team will be comprised of an executive director and three licensed counseling sport psychologists to provide comprehensive mental health counseling and applied sport psychology training to individual student-athletes and teams. The CSP team also offers student-athlete support groups and prevention and wellness education. In addition, the CSP team consults with athletic department personnel including coaches, administration, and sports medicine staff to provide a multi-disciplinary approach in promoting success within all aspects of Auburn student-athletes' lives.

Our mission is to provide Auburn student-athletes with holistic mental health care, wellness education, and applied sport psychology interventions. The CSP team supports student-athletes so they will thrive personally, academically, athletically, and in life beyond Auburn. As a department, the CSP team recognizes and values the unique experiences and intersectional identities of student-athletes and is committed to creating a safe and inclusive space to explore, learn, and grow. As part of the Auburn Family, CSP is strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and welcomes student-athletes of all races, ethnicities, national origins, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, ages, abilities, sizes, socioeconomic statuses, languages, and cultures.

Individual sessions provide a unique opportunity for an Auburn student-athlete to talk one-on-one with a licensed mental health professional about their concerns and/or areas they would like to improve in life and/or sport. It is important to understand that you do not need to have "something wrong with you" to schedule an individual session. Given the demands placed on student-athletes, it can be common to need time to discuss mental health, sport performance, or a combination of the two. Typically, student-athletes seek individual sessions for any of the reasons listed below. However, if a student-athlete is unsure what they need, they can schedule a 20-minute consultation with a member of the Counseling and Sport Psychology team or contact a member of the Auburn sports medicine staff.

  • Increasing Confidence
  • Anxiety in Life, Sport, or School
  • Adjustment/Homesickness
  • Imagery and Visualization
  • Identity Concerns/Questions
  • Loss of direction/purpose
  • Attention and Concentration/Focus
  • Communication with Teammates/Coaches
  • Relationships and managing conflict
  • Self-talk
  • Mindfulness
  • Recovering from Injury
  • Feeling sad, lonely, or hopeless)
  • Achieving Goals
  • Substance Use/Abuse
  • Eating Concerns/ loss of appetite
  • Body Image Concerns
  • Anger management
  • Sleep concerns
  • Suicidal thoughts/self-harm

In addition to individual sessions, the Counseling and Sport Psychology department currently offers the following groups for student-athletes:

Injury group

This group is for student-athletes who have suffered a season-ending injury, are recovering from surgery, and/or will not be participating in their sport for a period of time. Generally, this group meets one night per week for approximately 45-50 minutes. Contact a member of the Counseling and Sport Psychology staff or your team’s athletic trainer for more information.

The Counseling and Sport Psychology staff is a unique part of the athletic department. To schedule an appointment, student-athletes can text, email, or call any of the listed staff members. If you decide to contact a staff member by email or text, please include your name, sport, and your availability. Here is an example:

“Hi Dr. J!! This is Ben Jenkins from the football team. I would like to schedule a meeting with you. I am available on Monday from 1-5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 10-1 p.m., Wednesday 8-10 a.m., Friday we’re traveling. Thanks!”

Student-athletes can also seek mental health services though AU Student Counseling and Psychological Services if they choose not to use Counseling and Sport Psychology resources provided within Auburn Athletics. To schedule an appointment with AU Student Counseling and Psychological Services, call (334) 844-5123.

The Counseling and Sport Psychology department also partners with campus resources to provide prevention and wellness education to Auburn student-athletes and teams. To request a team or group session, contact a member of the Counseling and Sport Psychology staff.

QPR Suicide Prevention Training

  • People trained in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical, and proven suicide prevention training.

Green Dot Violence Prevention Training

  • The Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy is a national program that trains students, faculty, and staff in bystander intervention to help prevent instances of power-based personal violence (PBPV). PBPV is a form of violence where one individual asserts power, control, or intimidation over another to cause harm.

In accordance with NCAA Mental Health Best Practice Guidelines, all student-athletes will complete a mental health screening with a member of the Counseling and Sport Psychology staff.  

Sport psychology is a type of mental coaching that is used by athletes, teams, and others who want to improve their performance in any number of areas. Most athletes realize the importance of physical preparation. Exceptional athletes recognize that solid physical preparation combined with excellent mental preparation leads to their best performances. Emphasis is placed on the enhancement of psychological skills, such as confidence in one’s abilities, focusing in the moment, and relaxing when under pressure. Time is often spent helping individuals recognize and more effectively utilize personal strengths. You can find more information on sport psychology by visiting the Association for Applied Sport Psychology website.

Auburn student-athletes interested in setting up an individual session focused on sport psychology can contact a member of the Counseling and Sport Psychology staff to schedule.

During a student-athlete's career at Auburn University, there can be times that managing and adapting to the demands of fast-paced college life can seem overwhelming. The availability of a team of knowledgeable healthcare professionals with diverse backgrounds is critical to help the student-athlete develop effective strategies and skills in order to consistently achieve optimum wellbeing and performance.

Created in 1994, The Optimum Performance in Sports (OPS) Team includes an array of health care professionals. The purpose of the OPS team is to serve as a resource so that Auburn student-athletes can improve their abilities in the classroom, in their sport, and in life. Our team consists of physicians, dietitians, and mental health professionals who work collaboratively to provide individualized and expert care of Auburn student-athletes.

OPS INTERNAL PROVIDERS

Dr. Mike Goodlett, M.D.
Team Physician
(334) 844-9821

Dr. Doug Hankes, Ph.D
Executive Director of Counseling and Sports Psychology
(334) 844-5123
hankedm@auburn.edu