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  • Dr. Jason von Stietz collaborates to provide sports psychiatry and sport psychology workshops for high school athletes

    Drs. Jason von Stietz and Neevon Esmaili with the Campbell Hall High School football and boys’ cross country teams.


    High school athletes often experience a significant amount of mental and emotional stress. On a daily basis, they navigate busy academic schedules, social life, physical demands of sport, and the mental and emotional challenges of life as a high school athlete. Dr. Jason von Stietz recently collaborated with Drs. Steven Wachs and Neevon Esmaili to provide sports psychiatry and sport psychology workshops at a preparatory high school in Los Angeles.

    Who is Dr. Steven Wachs?

    Dr. Wachs, a former collegiate basketball coach, is a psychology instructor at Campbell Hall High School. He also runs LA Court Report, a podcast and blog about high school basketball. Dr. Wachs invited Drs. Esmaili and von Stietz to speak to Campbell Hall High School athletes on their fall and winter sports media days. Media days are all day events that involve the athletes filming promotional videos that are posted online celebrating their victories and achievements. At the time this article was posted, Drs. Esmaili and von Stietz have worked with Campbell Hall girls’ tennis, cheer, football, boys’ cross country, boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, girls’ soccer, and boys’ soccer. They currently have a plan to return to Campbell Hall to work with athletes again on the spring sports teams’ media day.

    Who is Dr. Neevon Esmaili?

    Dr. Neevon Esmaili is a sports psychiatrist based in Los Angeles. He is an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California and he guest lectures widely on sports psychiatry. Dr. Esmaili provided a mental health training to the athletes involving discussion about anxiety, concussions, eating disorders, bullying, and relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S), among other often under-discussed issues in sport.

    How does Dr. Jason von Stietz work with high school sports teams?

    CBT SoCal’s Dr. von Stietz previously spoke about careers in sport psychology during one of Dr. Wachs classes. During the recent sport psychology workshops at Campbell Hall, Dr. von Stietz led the athletes through exercises that taught teamwork, communication, and mental skills. During the fall media day, he led the tennis, cheer, cross country, and football players through improvisational comedy games.  Improv comedy requires that participants focus on the present moment and collaborate with others in spite of any discomfort and distractions.

    During the winter media day, Dr. von Stietz led the basketball and soccer players through an initiative game, which required them to work together as a team to solve a problem. This allowed them the opportunity to bond, gain comfort in their roles as teammates, and allow team leaders to emerge.

    If you are an athlete, coach, or parent of an athlete, and you would like to learn if sport psychology can help you, contact us for a free phone consultation.