Marras WS, Davis KG, Heaney CA, Maronitis BS, Allread WG. The influence of psychosocial Stress, gender, and personality on mechanical loading of the lumbar spine. Spine. 2000;25:3045–3054.
It was a coincidence when I had just finished reading this journal article when I received an email from an A.T. student doing a master's thesis on healing psychology. I found it interesting the questions seemed to focus on verbal counseling. That's one way of approaching the problem.
Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know I believe in empowering the athlete. Tradition tells us to "focus on the weak points, the weak links". Vern Gambetta taught me years ago that this may not be a good strategy for short, or long term success. Rather, teach the athlete to exploit their strengths.
Set the athlete up for success. If you have evaluated the athlete and determined a certain motion or plane is painful, then don't go there. Work around the injury. Find a plane, direction, speed, range etc. that's not painful and let that be your starting point. Think of my previous post with the hamstring strain athlete. Although he had a grade 2 BF strain, he moved very well in the frontal & transverse planes. I put my thinking cap on and came up with as many exercises & drills I could think of that integrated the hamstring in these planes. Forget about endless ice, stim, stretching. Let their own nervous system quiet the pain & muscle spasm. If there are team drills the athlete can safely participate in, let them do it.
In my 26+ years of athletic training, I have never healed anyone. That is a skill I will never have.