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Disrupting Borders: Considering Transnational Migration, Cultural Transition, and Intersectional Identities in the Delivery of Performance and Well-Being Support Services for International Athletes and Professionals

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75 minutes

Co-sponsored by the the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).


  • Dawn-Marie Armstrong, BSc., MSc., DSportExPsy, CPsychol, AFHEA, HCPC, Loughborough University
  • Thierry Middleton, PhD, FHEA, University of Portsmouth
  • Robert Owens, EdD, LCMHC, CMPC, CSCS, CPSS, TSAC-F, Valor Performance
  • Shameema Yousuf, MSc, MEd, CMPC, MBACP, Empower2Perform (Moderator)

International sports migration has become a burgeoning area of interest in sport studies scholarship over the last few decades (Besnier et al., 2018; Carter, 2013). Though under-represented in the sport psychology literature, the experiences of international athletes migrating across borders during their athletic careers (cf. Paul & Yeoh, 2020) should be of interest to applied sport psychology (ASP) practitioners. Some of these athletes inhabit multiple, intersectional identities and may encounter sociocultural and geo-political structures designed to create barriers to transnational mobility, and forestall the athlete’s and professional's rights for self-determination (Brutus & Yousuf, 2019; Yousuf, 2022; Yousuf, in review). Given the global flow of athlete migration, ASP practitioners should consider how international athletes cope and adapt within host nations vis-à-vis the processes of acculturation (Chirkov, 2009; Schinke et al., 2015). Furthermore, to understand and examine the experiences of athletes with multiple, intersectional identities requires an understanding of the social structures that seek to disempower or privilege particular athletic identities or bodies over others. These structures have the power to render bodies and (intersectional/transnational) identities immobile, invisible, marginal, and/or vulnerable to the cultural imaginaries of the host nation. How international student-athletes can culturally transition (Ryba et al., 2016) within collegiate environments in their host countries and continue to sustain optimal athletic performance (Streno et al., 2020) is a matter for consideration. Through research, illustration, personal stories, and mediated accounts, the speakers in this webinar will explore dominant worldviews that promote and sustain practices that are either incongruent with an athlete’s status, values, and belief systems or fall short of demonstrating the psychological care and safety needed for optimal performance. 

Learning Objectives
Participants will:

  • Appreciate and recognize the historical, sociocultural, and geo-political antecedents for athlete performance and wellbeing
  • Gain an understanding of theoretical frameworks related to culture and sport
  • Recognize the stressors associated with transnational mobility
  • Learn how to engage in cultural reflexivity when consulting with athletes who have intersectional and transnational identities
  • Learn how to broach conversations on culture and identity with humility and respect
  • Learn how to deliver interventions that supplement prevailing multicultural sport psychology approaches, and go beyond Western-based philosophies to center alternative ethical frameworks and psychologies


  • Besnier, N., Brownell, S., & Carter, T. F. (2018). The anthropology of sport: Bodies, borders, biopolitics. University of California Press.
  • Carter, T. F. (2013). Re-placing sport migrants: Moving beyond the institutional structures informing international sport migration. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 48(1), 66-82.
  • Chirkov, V. (2009). Critical psychology of acculturation: What do we study and how do we study it, when we investigate acculturation? International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33(2), 94-105.
  • D’Andrea, M., & Daniels, J. (2001). RESPECTFUL counseling: An integrative model for counselors. In D. B. Pope & H. L. K. Coleman (Eds.), The intersection of race, class, and gender in multicultural counseling (pp. 417-466). Sage Publications.
  • Day-Vines, N. L., Wood, S. M., Grothaus, T., Craigen, L., Holman, A., Dotson-Blake, K., & Douglass, M. J. (2007). Broaching the subjects of race, ethnicity, and culture during the counseling process. Journal of Counseling & Development, 85(4), 401-409.
  • Martín-Baró, I. (1996). Writings for a liberation psychology. Harvard University Press.
  • Parham, W. D. (2019). Hiding in plain sight: Discovering the promises of multicultural sport psychology. In M. H. Anshel, T. A. Petrie, & J. A. Steinfeldt (Eds.), APA handbook of sport and exercise psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 489-508). American Psychological Association.
  • Paul, A. M., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2020). Studying multinational migrations, speaking back to migration theory. Global Networks. 
  • Pedersen, P. B. (1990). The multicultural perspective as a fourth force in counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 12(1), 93–95.
  • Rasool, G. H. (2021). Islamic psychology: Human behaviour and experience from an Islamic perspective. Routledge.
  • Ryba, T. V., Stambulova, N. B., & Ronkainen, N. J. (2016). The work of cultural transition: An emerging model. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 427. 
  • Schinke, R. J., McGannon, K. R., Yukelson, D., Cummings, J., & Parro, W. (2015). Helping with the acculturation of immigrant elite coaches in Canadian sport contexts. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 6(1), 17-27.
  • Schinke, R. J., McGannon, K. R., Parham, W. D., & Lane, A. M. (2012). Toward cultural praxis and cultural sensitivity: Strategies for self-reflexive sport psychology practice. Quest, 64 (1), 34-46.
  • Streno, M. G., Poczwardowski, A., Welton-Mitchell, C., & Moody, E. (2020). International student-athlete transition into collegiate sport in the United States. Health Psychology Report, 8(1), 38-46.
  • Tervalon, M., & Murray-Garcıa, J. (1998). Cultural humility versus cultural competence: A critical distinction in defining physician training outcomes in multicultural education. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 9(2), 117-125.
  • Yousuf, S. (2022). Musings of a transnational intersectional U.K. practitioner psychologist, Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology (Special Issue), 16(4), 340-348.
  • Yousuf, S. M. (under review). A wandering nomad. In L. A. Fisher (Ed)., Social justice through sport and exercise psychology: Expert approaches and intergenerational voices. Routledge.

CE Credit
This program has been approved for 1.25 CEUs in the area of Diversity to partially meet the continuing education recertification requirement for Certified Mental Performance Consultants® (CMPC). 

Program Format
You can attend an AASP webinar from your home or office. All you need is an internet connection. You can see the presentation slides on your computer or mobile device, and listen to the audio through your device, or call in with a phone. Registrants will be provided with login information the day prior to the session. The webinar will also be archived for those who wish to watch it at a later date.

About the Speakers

Dawn-Marie Armstrong, BSc., MSc., DSportExPsy, CPsychol, AFHEA, HCPC is a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist from the Caribbean Island of Barbados. She is a former National Development Scholar (2017) and the first from that region to complete a Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology, making her the only Trainee to achieve UK Chartership and Registration from a BPS Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (QSEP) Doctoral route. She is an alumna of the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus) where she completed her BSc. Psychology with Honours (2010), Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK, where she obtained her MSc. Sport and Exercise Psychology (2012) and Liverpool John Moores University where she completed her Professional Doctorate (2022). She is the founder of her ethnically driven brand of practice - Afro Sport Psych™ and possesses over a decade of experience in various high performance sport domains. In November 2023, she joined Loughborough University as a Dean’s Associate Fellow in Applied Sport Psychology, and as such, her post-doctoral research will be centred on race and racism in sport with a focus on cultural competence in applied practice. Dawn is passionate about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the professional level, and she is particularly interested in enhancing support provision to optimise the mental health and wellbeing of racially-minoritised athletes within performance environments. In this regard, she hopes to make a vital contribution towards policy development within UK sport in this respect.

Thierry R. F. Middleton, PhD, FHEA (he, him, his) is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. Thierry identifies as a transnational professional whose educational and professional background spans time in Nigeria, Italy, France, Finland, Germany, the UK and Canada. Thierry is a licensed teacher and coach in Canada and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. He is also a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), American Psychological Association (APA) and the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP). Thierry serves on the editorial boards of Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology and the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology and is the former Junior Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Advancing Sport Psychology in Research. Thierry’s scholarly work is primarily participatory in nature with the aim of working with, and developing space for, individuals who belong to diverse marginalized groups to bring socially just change to sport, exercise and physical activity contexts. His work with asylum seekers and refugees (i.e., forced migrants) and immigrant athletes has been the recipient of multiple funding and recognition awards from AASP, the APA, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), Sport Canada, the IOC Olympic Research Centre and the University of Portsmouth. Thierry is also a past winner of AASP’s Student Diversity Award and the Canadian Governor General Gold Medal.            

Robert E. Owens, EdD, LCMHC, CMPC, CSCS, CPSS, TSAC-F (he, him, his) is a leadership and resilience coach and a licensed clinical mental health therapist. His professional philosophy and professional practices are strongly informed by anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-oppressive, and trauma-informed praxis. He is currently the Research and Practice Division Head for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and holds the association’s Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) credential. He also holds several certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) including the Certified Performance and Sport Scientist (CPSS) credential and the Tactical Strength and Conditioning - Facilitator. In 2023, he was invited to deliver the Steven R. Heyman Memorial Lecture for the Society for Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology (Division 47) of the American Psychological Association (APA). He has contributed book chapters to Examining and Mitigating Sexual Misconduct in Sport (Fisher & Prewitt-White, 2022), Developing a Sport Psychology Consultancy Practice: A Toolkit for Students and Trainees (Shanmuganathan-Felton & Smith, 2023) and Police Conflict Management, Volume II: Training and Education (Staller et al., 2024). His journal contributions include the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology; Sport, Education, and Society; the Sociology of Sport Journal; Sport History Review;  the Journal of Sport History; Journal of Contemporary Athletics; and The Sport Journal. 

Shameema M. Yousuf, MSc, MEd, CMPC, MBACP (she, her, hers), is a UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Practitioner Psychologist and British Association of Counseling and Psychotherapy (BACP) therapist. She is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant® of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and member of the American Psychological Association, the European Federation of Sport Psychology, and the International Society of Sport Psychology. Her scholarly work and practice are at the intersection of performance, mental health, and culture as a transnational in sport, healthcare and the corporate world, with a global presence in her private practice Empower2Perform for over a decade. Her global activities include guest lecturing at several UK and US universities, applied practice, authorship, and leadership in several domains, while committing to community engagement. Alongside several conference presentations on culture and transnationalism, Shameema has published book chapters in applied sport psychology, refereed journal articles and is the editor of a book project on Women of African Descent predominantly in the realm of performance, health and culture. She serves as the current Head of Publications and Information on the Executive Board of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and has held several Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice (DEIBJ) committee leadership roles in sport psychology associations across the UK and US. Educated in Zambia, Zimbabwe, UK, and USA, and given her previous expertise in the global corporate financial industry, she draws on her multiple transnational professional identities and intertwined cultural experiences to support strong processes, effect policy change, and impact belonging in the spaces that she operates. In 2020, Shameema was honored on the Muslim Women in Sport Powerlist.


Cost: Free

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