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JUNE 24 - 26, 2021 / WORLDWIDE




SEGMENT 3: 11.45 - 12.15


Using Schema Therapy with Sports Psychology

with Satu Kaski

Mental  health in sport and clinical appplications in schematherapy

Satu Kaski, PhD, Advanced level schematherapist, trainer and supervisor


Over the recent decade existing reviews of empirical evidence have demonstrated that athletes, alike to general population, experience myriad of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders.Existing research has also found that a range of sport related stressors and demands have the potential to negatively affect elite athlete mental well-being. Much of the research has predominantly focused on identifying and understanding the presence and symptoms of mental disorders, i.e., mental ill-being, rather than the presence of factors that comprise mental well-being. The purpose of our research was to explore mental well-being profiles among Finnish elite athletes, and how these profiles may be associated with sport-related demands and resources. In this presentation, I will tell the results of our research: ”Profiles of mental well-being among Finnish elite athletes and associations with sport-related demands and resources”. I shall also present clinical application in schematherapy, and what things to consider when working with athletes.


The organization representatives were asked to send electronic invitations to their active and retired elite athlete members to participate in the study. A total of 259 Finnish elite athletes participated in the study. We measured mental well-being with the (absence of) mental disorders (by BDI, BAI, SCOFF and Audit-10), and the presence of both subjective (life satisfaction) and psychological (positive functioning) well-being. We also measured sport related risk and protective factors and their connection to athlete’s well-being. 


Of the respondents, 22.8 % had symptoms of depression, and 35.5 % symptoms of anxiety. A risk for eating disorders was detected among 17.0 % of the athletes, and a risk for alcohol abuse among 34.4 %. By a two-steps cluster analysis, we found four different clusters: group of well-being, group of having a risk of alcohol misuse, group of having risk of eating disorder and group of poor well-being. Robust variance analyses showed also that the profiles differed significantly in every sport-related demand and resource we were examined. In my presentation, I will also review examples of schematherapy applications in clinical sports psychology. In addition, I review what sport-specific factors should be considered in psychotherapy and clinical sports psychological work.


Sports at a high and professional level is demanding – in order to succeed, the athletes’ mental and physical performance must be at a peak level. It is important to understand what kind of sport related demands are risk for performance and well-being. In addition, it is important to know, how therapy can help athletes, and what to consider, when helping. In this presentation there will be examples of schematherapeutic methods and significant” sport related facts” to need to take into account. 


There is a gap in sport, how to help athletes with mental problems, even though knowledge is already beginning to exist. Schematherapy and schematherapeutic methods are suitable for helping athletes. However, more clinical data and research on this area is needed.

About the Presenter

Satu Kaski

Satu Kaski, PhD, has an extensive experience in the field of clinical sport psychology. In addition, she has long appliedSchematherapeutic methods in sports. She is the first Finnish certified advanced level individual Schema therapist (trainer and supervisor). She has also founded a SIG in Finland, an institute of schematherapy and special interest group: schema therapy for clinical sport psychology under ISST. Among other things, she has studied the well-and ill-being of sport coaches and athletes. In Finland she has a long experience working with athletes and coaches. She works as a director in UTHA (a centre of mental health for athletes, artists and those working with excellence)

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Stockholm, Sweden


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Berlin, Germany


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Istanbul, Turkey


Vienna, Austria

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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