The other coach "SOCIAL WORKER"
My name is Natalie Graves and I have been interested in sports since I was a young girl. Watching sporting events was something I did with my father, mother and younger brother. Living in Chicago, the Bears and the Bulls were very important to my family. I remember fondly cheering for Walter Payton and Michael Jordan as they did something unbelievable in the game. We would scream and give each other high fives in celebration of a good play. These are wonderful memories of my childhood. Being a sports fan has always been a part of my life growing up and as an adult it still is.
Another big part of my life is my career in social work. I have always loved helping people and the field of social work allows me to do just that. I have worked for over ten years with at risk children and adolescents in social services agencies. I also worked as a certified School Social Worker in elementary and junior high schools. I am currently consulting with parents, schools and social service agencies, while studying for my clinical license exam. I am also in the process of developing a private practice working with athletes and sports programs.
My theoretical point of view is based on the Biopsychosocial Perspective. This is a multidimensional framework which focuses on three basic dimensions, biophysical, psychological and social. Each dimension deals with a part of human development and behavior. This concept suggests that no one element is the sole cause or reason for a person or in this case an athlete's behavioral response. Instead, human behavior is the result of interactions between a person and his or her environment. To give an example - An athlete is stellar on the hockey field and he is emotionally and physically abusive towards his girlfriend. The social worker would look at the athlete's early development, psychological functioning and family supports and dynamics to address the issue.
For many years I wanted to integrate my two loves, social work and sports. When I began to take notice of some athletes and the problems they were facing off the field, I began thinking here is a population that could benefit from the support of mental health services. I am writing this blog to discuss topics and issues as it relates to sports athletes from a social work perspective.