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Tag Archives for " Tiger Woods "

Mar 16

Tiger’s Return to Golf: A Step Toward Denial or A Step Toward Recovery?

By Dr. Jack Singer | Elite Athletes

Tiger Woods Announces Return to Golf After Sex ScandalThe media is abuzz with the return of Tiger Woods to the golf circuit. He issued a statement today indicating that he will begin his 2010 season at the Masters.

Here’s the full text of his statement:

“The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.

The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it’s been a while since I last played.

I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy and I am continuing my treatment. Although I’m returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life.

When I finally got into a position to think about competitive golf again, it became apparent to me that the Masters would be the earliest I could play. I called both Joe Lewis and Arnold Palmer and expressed my regrets for not attending the Tavistock Cup and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I again want to thank them both for their support and their understanding. Those are fantastic tournaments and I look forward to competing in them again.

I would also like to thank the Augusta National members and staff for their support. I have deep appreciation for everything that they do to create a wonderful event for the benefit of the game.”

The PGA welcomes this as their ratings have slipped since he has been absent. In fact Tiger’s announcement is great news for ESPN and CBS. Nielsen and CBS are predicting record ratings. Beyond that, most people want to see if he can pull together and start winning tournaments again.

Tiger’s personal issues (media reports claim sexual addiction) have unfortunately become fuel for the tabloids and even to some degree for respected media outlets. He has much repair work to do regarding the pristine and wholesome image which has become severely, and perhaps irreparably tarnished over the last several months.

The issue that everyone wants to address is whether Tiger can compartmentalize his personal issues with his family and focus on playing winning golf.

As a sports psychologist, that is not the key issue for me.  My hope is that Tiger understands that his recovery and ultimate sobriety from his addiction will take years of focused attention and commitment. Playing golf and convincing his wife to move back in to the family home does not make for recovery.  Instead, he needs ongoing treatment, especially since his golf travels will put him in precisely the same situations that triggered his addiction(s) in the past.

So, if Tiger is going back into the game because he believes he is “cured,” then this will serve as a major example of emotional denial. On the other hand, if he is re-entering golf in order to focus on the healthy aspects of his career, raise his confidence and use his occupation as an adjunct to (rather than instead of ) his ongoing treatment, then I believe he is truly on the road to recovery.

Ultimately, I wish him and his family the best and will continue to observe his progress with great interest.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Feb 23

Reflections on a Humbled Tiger Woods

By Dr. Jack Singer | Public Melt Downs

On February 19, 2010 the most famous golfer in the world Tiger Woods approached the podium and made a public statement, saying he was “deeply sorry” to his family, friends and his wife, finally answering the question that we had all be wondering about: Would he admit he has a serious problem that needs to be addressed, or would he continue to hide behind the cloak of privacy, claiming that his personal life is none of our business?

Although I believe his speech was scripted by media savvy consultants, I did find Tiger’s taking full responsibility for failing his wife, family, sponsors, colleagues and especially youngsters (who have put him on the pedestal of supreme role model) sincere and from the heart.

Moreover, the admission that he needs more therapy for his sex addiction was a relief to me, since so many people diagnosed with any addiction often look for a quick fix and deny their need for more help.  Addicts need years of therapy in order to gain insight and learn to shut down the Dopamine producing effects of their addiction.

Behavioral addictions, such as sexual or gambling addictions, can be just as powerful as an addiction to heroin, in terms of stimulating the pleasure center of the brain.  Most sex addicts live in denial of their addiction, and treating an addiction is dependent on the person accepting and admitting that he or she has a problem. In many cases, it takes a significant event—such as the incredible media circus that Tiger found himself in the center of to force the addict to admit to his or her problem.

Overcoming chemical addictions is facilitated by complete abstinence, but it is unrealistic to expect a sex addict never to engage in sex, particularly if he/she is still married.  Therefore, the stimulation of “normal” relations with his wife can stimulate the drive that Tiger is trying to overcome which is of course a natural conflict.

My professional sense is that Tiger and his wife will need 3-5 years of continual therapy in order to not only eradicate Tiger’s addiction, but to repair the damage to their relationship and the family relation and begin to build anew.  This can be accomplished, although there will certainly be ups and downs.  With Tiger’s profession and the travel that goes with it, trust will be a major issue for his wife to deal with and rebuild.  In addition, there are reports that there was a great deal of unprotected sex taking place, meaning that, in addition to the emotion impact of infidelity, there may be other consequences, such as sexually transmitted diseases, and in Tiger’s case, law suits!

None of this should be construed to be pessimism on my part.  Throughout my career as a psychologist, I have seen hundreds of couples rebound from these situations and build their marriages stronger than ever.  It can be done and I sincerely hope that the Woods family can be preserved.

However, if I had an opportunity to counsel Tiger Woods, I would tell him to be very cautious about continuing to surround himself by “yes men” and sycophants who will absolutely look the other way when he exhibits warning signs of falling back into that very destructive behavior. I would advise him to surround himself with people who genuinely have his and his family’s best interest at heart and who will not fail him by looking away.  That goes not only for his friends and colleagues, but for his therapy team, as well!

I wish Tiger and Elin Woods well and hope that they will make it through this very difficult time in their lives with their family still together and stronger than ever. In my next article, I will address the sport psychology issues involved in Tiger getting back into the swing of his golfing career.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

**You have permission to reprint in your publication or to your website/blog any articles by Dr. Jack Singer found on this Website as long as Dr. Jack Singer’s name and contact information is included. Jack Singer, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Pyschologist, Sport Psychologist, Marriage, Family & Relationship Therapist, Professional Motivational Speaker. http://drjacksinger.com, toll free 800-497-9880.

Jan 04

My Concerns for Tiger Woods Emotional Health

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology

As the media sharks feed off of the remnants of Tiger Woods and more juicy tidbits are leaked, we are all caught up with being a fly on the walls of his various bedrooms.

Of much greater concern to me is his hiding and disclosure that he will be giving up golf indefinitely.  As a Clinical and Sport Psychologist, my belief is that Tiger Woods is in the throes of a major emotional breakdown, which involves mourning what is essentially the death of his life as he knew it all of these years.  His marriage may be irreparably damaged, his children may be headed for Sweden, his sponsors are jumping overboard daily and he has humiliated himself and his family.

I pray that he is in the hands of a competent psychologist…not just in the hands of the PR folks, bodyguards and “yes men” who try to insulate him.  My concern is that he may feel so overwhelmed and so battered that thoughts of death may be preferable to facing the complete meltdown of his life, both public and personal. Certainly many people have taken their lives for lesser reasons.

It’s time to stop feeding off of Tiger’s circumstances, leave him be and hope that he can get the competent help he needs to come to grips with his demons and the triggers that led him into the dangerous waters in which he has been swimming.  Only then can he heal and put his life back together again.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

**You have permission to reprint in your publication or to your website/blog any articles by Dr. Jack Singer found on this Website as long as Dr. Jack Singer’s name and contact information is included. Jack Singer, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Pyschologist, Sport Psychologist, Marriage, Family & Relationship Therapist, Professional Motivational Speaker. http://drjacksinger.com, toll free 800-497-9880.