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A Tribute to Dr. Terry Orlick

On behalf of CSPA Dr. Terry Orlick. A tribute. It is with great sadness to know that Dr. Terry Orlick has left this earth. Terry was truly a remarkable person. He was a prolific author, a professor at University of Ottawa from 1973-2017, a superb practitioner in the field of sport psychology, well respected globally, and the champion of finding joy each day. Terry was a leader at University of Ottawa in creating the Intervention and Consultation program that is one of the most respected programs in Canada, and the world, for training young practitioners in the field of sport psychology. He also created the Mental Training Registry with the objective to bring together sport psychology practitioners in Canada to talk about our profession and share our expertise and our learning. That registry, in turn, became what we now know as the Canadian Sport Psychology Association (CSPA). Some of us were with him in the beginning and many now carry on ensuring CSPA thrives. On a much more personal note, I learned so much from Terry. While competing for Canada I had begun a master’s degree at University of Waterloo and, after meeting Terry, in the wake of the 1980 Olympic boycott, ended up completing that degree at University of Ottawa with Terry. I later went on to complete my PhD with Terry as my supervisor. I have had a number of significant mentors throughout my academic career, and Terry was most certainly the first one. I was able to watch him teach students at both the undergraduate and graduate level and truly understand how you can teach knowledge and, at the same time, care about students as human beings. I first met Terry when, it seemed to me at the time, my life was torn to bits by the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Terry helped me, in his inimitable and gentle way, to understand that while this was indeed devastating, I would be ok, that I would still have a life, that I could, with time, move on and thrive. And he did that by listening, by asking gentle questions, by caring. I then learned from Terry how to be an excellent practitioner in the field of sport psychology. As I moved on to work in the field of sport psychology with all levels of athletes and coaches, we would talk about how to listen from the heart, how to understand all the fears in life and in high level sport, all the challenges, and how to slowly but surely help each athlete become more self-aware, more reflective, more independent, more resilient in their own life, both inside and outside sport – which almost always resulted in wonderful performances in sport as well – and if it did not, they left sport with a smile and a sense of accomplishment. I learned from him what I believe is the best way to practice in our field – that while we are always working with athletes and coaches on their performance in sport, it is always with the strong understanding that the human being comes first – that we care for the individual to help them navigate life, as they navigate the perils of competitive sport. Those lessons from Terry stay with me to this day. He will be greatly missed. We send our love to his family, and most particularly, to Anouk, Jewelia, and Skye – his three beautiful daughters. Penny Werthner, CSPA

There will be a Celebration of Life held for Dr. Terry Orlick on August 27th. His family has extended an open invitation to any CSPA members who would like to attend and commemorate Terry. Please see the link below for details.


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