28. Gareth on the Couch

Gareth Southgate England football manager, & one of the most successful English managers. He has brought up a young team uniquely gelling them together to create a talented football team.

In Euro 1996 in the semi finals Gareth also missed a penalty at 21yrs old in the shoot outs against Germany. Before social media he received a lot of abuse, and says it still hurts.

A sporting mistake beamed out across the world to millions of fans qualifies as a significant trauma. We all make mistakes especially when young which stay with us throughout our lives. But on a world stage under the glare of millions the pain and shame must be magnified.

The issue with trauma is not the trauma itself but how it is managed and what resources are available to cope with it. How developed are the coping strategies of a 21yr old male sportsman brought up in 1970s UK?

The trauma can never be resolved. But optimistically it can be made friends with, and not carry the trauma energy ready to unconciously associate or pass onto another similar situation.

For example: conciously to relieve the energy you might never want to take another penalty again. Or play for England or play football at all. Not possible to give up the beautiful game?

But unconsciously our traumas hold energy. It burns light and bright out side our seeing or noticing. The passage of time has little impact. We don’t know it. Or feel it – unless encouraged to re-experience the pain of it on the couch.

So when a similar emotional situation appears it is difficult to see how independent the making of the decision is, and what influence the unconscious trauma energy has had on the decision.

So what of Gareth’s decision to put forward young inexperienced players to take penalties in a very stressful situation? Well meaning – he chose the best penalty takers in practice? Or something of the trauma rebalancing – to show how difficult it is for anyone (not just him) to take a penalty in those circumstances? Or something else?
Who knows? Not even Gareth?

Copyright Adrian Scott
North London Counsellor Blog 2021
All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique

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