Title of Work

"Blue Pill, Red Pill, Purple Pill?" The Myths and Realities of Consulting with Men and Boys in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology Settings

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date


City of Publication or Presentation

Portland, OR

Conference Name

Association of Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference

Conference Location

Portland, OR


Workshop description: Despite its relative lack of attention, promoting healthy male development (through sport) is a social justice issue (Kiselica & Woodford, 2007; Kiselica & Englar-Carlson, 2010). Historically, sport has been considered one of the few social institutions that strongly promotes traditional forms of masculine values. For example, Coakley (2015) affirms both male and female athletes (over)conform to a masculine ‘sport ethic’ where making sacrifices, striving for distinction, accepting risks and playing through pain, and confronting obstacles in the pursuit of success are all acceptable rules of the game. Recently, the American Psychological Association (APA) has published guidelines for psychological practice with male clients. These guidelines are based on the notion that many aspects of traditional masculinity can, under certain circumstances, be harmful to the psychosocial development of boys and men (APA, 2018). Critics have asserted that the guidelines do not consider the positive aspects of masculine identity development (Mull, 2015). Workshop purpose: The purpose of this workshop is to examine the myths and realities of consulting with male athletes and consider how the new APA guidelines impact applied SEP practice. The workshop will consider the following topics:

  • Critical feminist perspectives of disordered eating experiences in male athletes
  • Intersectional perspectives (e.g. race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, military affiliation) of stigma and mental health seeking behaviors among men
  • Male relational dynamics and the reinforcement of cultures of aggression in sport
  • Sport as a vehicle for promoting positive socio-emotional development
  • Gender-sensitive and gender-affirming consulting practices

Through a set of engaging exercises, workshop attendees will be exposed to tips, tools, and techniques which may be employed in applied contexts and encourage the positive aspects of masculinity within sport, the military, and other high-performance settings.

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