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Meet Lauren Hennessy of MVP Mentality Sports Psychology

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Hennessy.

Lauren, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
While in college at the University of Miami, I had selected psychology to be my minor. However, the more classes I took, the more fascinated I became with the field. Eventually, I switched psychology to my second major and looked to pursue a graduate degree in the field. I got my doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I participated in practicums in different types of facilities with many different populations in order to determine what type of clinical practice I would pursue upon graduation.

While I was not very athletic, sports was always a big part of my life as I had a brother and sister who were very successful athletically. During my college years at the University of Miami, I was a member of the dance team during football season and became an even bigger sports enthusiast. It was during my senior year at Miami that I had first begun to consider the possibility of a career in sports psychology but had not fully committed to that path.

During my graduate work, my brother was pursuing his collegiate career as an athlete and it would always fascinate me how his perceptions of his performance could differ from mine or my family’s. I began to speak to more athletes about how they believed they performed during the game and realized that this was an area I wanted to learn more about. I started to read more books about sports psychology and realized that this was the direction my career was headed. I decided to conduct research and write my dissertation in the field of sports psychology, and there was no looking back.

That is how I decided to blend two passions- psychology and sports.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have been very fortunate that the road I have taken has not involved many struggles, but the journey was long. After completing my undergraduate degree, I worked as a mental health technician in a group home while I applied to graduate school.

It took 4 years to complete the academic requirements of the degree, then a one-year pre-doctoral internship. Upon graduation, I took a post-doctoral residency position in a practice where I provided individual therapy and neurofeedback treatment. Even though I was working with some athletes, it was not the setting that I had envisioned when I decided to pursue a career as a sports psychologist. so I decided to open my own practice.

Opening my own practice came with the typical struggles of starting a business and building a name for myself. I began working with American Twisters Gymnastics Center providing group therapy to help give the team members a good foundation of skills that would allow them to be successful during competition season and throughout the year.

During the time I worked with Twisters, I had very few clients in my practice. It took a lot of support from family and belief in myself to know that my business would grow. Slowly my referrals started to increase, and as the athletes, I worked with saw improvement and success, I started getting clients through word of mouth. Building a reputation and a business is a long process and one that I still actively work on daily.

Please tell us about MVP Mentality Sports Psychology.
Through my work at MVP Mentality, I aim to help athletes of all ages and sports performance levels to achieve their optimal performance. During my first session with an athlete, I assess various areas that can impact their performance (e.g., confidence levels, anxiety, self-talk) in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses. This allows me and the athlete to come up with an individualized treatment plan in order to achieve the athlete’s desired outcome. Techniques designed to help an athlete overcome mental blocks are taught. I use their strengths to push their performance further so they are able to compete at or above their expectations.

While it is most common for athletes to contact me when they are experiencing a difficult time in their sport, treatment does not need to focus on problems. Some athletes seek out services to help enhance their athletic performance by learning skills and techniques designed to help athletes excel in their sport, to push their talents further. No matter what the reason is for contacting me, the goal is always the same- achieving optimal performance.

My sessions can be provided on an individual basis or to a group. I have worked with many teams in order to improve not only their individual skills but their performance as a team. Just like individual session, team sessions are customized to the specific needs of the group as a whole by speaking with the coach and the members of the team.

Because of how passionate I am about what I do, I become a big fan and supporter of my clients. I encourage my clients to reach out to me any time that they may need whether it be before a game/competition/meet to get some clarity if needed or after a successful performance. I absolutely love when a client gets in touch with me after a big performance to share their excitement about improvement and successes they made.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Looking back, I have no regrets about the path that I took to get where I am currently.

Every class I took, client I saw, and struggle to build my business has made me who I am. I take what I learn from sessions with clients to improve my techniques with future clients and push my professional skills further.

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