My Work in Sport Psychology
Burt Giges, M.D.

Philosophical Perspective

Although originally trained as a clinician, with a background in medical research, I've come to see myself more as an educator. This change involved a shift from the medical model of illness and disease to a growth and development model, in which problems are seen as the result of learned thinking patterns. The focus of my work with athletes and others is to help them change those patterns that contribute to distressed feelings or troublesome behavior, and to remove the barriers to their optimal functioning. This focus is primarily on present experience, based on the hypothesis that past negative experiences might recede into the background, were it not for the fact that present patterns of thinking and feeling keep them in the foreground. The language used by the person is followed very closely, because it not only expresses present thoughts and feelings, but also contributes to their development.

I believe that what we learned in the past can be changed by what we learn in the present.