Ben Merkling, Psy.D, is a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in sport and performance psychology. Ben aims to help athletes enhance motivation, increase present-moment awareness, and manage the many mental health concerns common in athletic populations, such as self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and body dysmorphia.
Ben came into the field comparatively late in his academic career, having accumulated professional mental healthcare experience in college counseling centers and the Courage Kenny Rehab institute, and completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in Counseling Psychology, before finding a home in his work with the student-athletes at Saint Mary’s University, and later, St. Thomas and the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse. A varsity basketball player in high school and competitive golfer from a young age, Ben’s approach to mental health and mental skills training—from mindfulness to leadership to values-based goal setting—is a natural fit in performance environments, where his aims are to use the skills that enhance performance to improve overall wellness and sport/life enjoyment.
He still enjoys playing golf, shooting hoops, and introducing his son to the joys of sport and competition.
Ben’s work with student-athletes has continued in his time with Premier, having worked with athletic departments at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota, and consulted directly with both coaches and athletes at St. Thomas through their complicated and historic transition from a Division III to a Division I designation. His work extends into the professional ranks, where he serves as a consultant to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and is heavily involved in draft profiling projects for both NBA and NFL clients.
Ben also serves as the Executive Clinical Director and Clinical Training Director for Premier, which has him overseeing day-to-day clinical operations of Premier staff, and directing the mental health and mental performance training for pre-licensed consultants and post-doctoral residents pursuing state licensure.