Question
Asked 27th Mar, 2014

Personal Counseling and Career Counseling: How similar are they in theory and practice?

Do you believe that personal counseling theory and techniques should be incorporated in career counseling sessions? If yes, why? In addition, in your experience and knowledge should career counseling and personal counseling as a process and a scientific field be mixed or complement one each other due to the multiple intertwined roles people have in their life?

Most recent answer

31st Mar, 2014
Andronikos Kaliris
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Dear Professor,
thank you for the response and the feedback you gave me on the article I did with Professor Kriwas as well as the articles provided. Your article about dialogical self is really helpful to understand how the construct of self can work in a narrative career counseling approach. I also understand self as a fluid and constantly developing construct, as a "polyphonic self" as Peavy would describe it. I am going to study both articles focusing mainly on the first one because I am very interested in Chaos Theory and its applications, considering that hope narratives and the confrontation of failure capture a relatively new and interesting idea in career counseling literature.
Many thanks.
Best regards,
Andronikos

Popular Answers (1)

30th Mar, 2014
Peter McIlveen
University of Southern Queensland 
Andronikos, this is a very good question and one that has been discussed in the career development literature for a few decades. I recommend you review some of the papers in the journal, Career Development Quarterly.
My short answer is: Yes.
Here is my long answer:
My perspective is that there is no such thing as "personal counselling". The term is an unfortunate and imprecise expression that has led to nothing more than confusion in how counselling is theorised. There is counselling and then there are specialised areas of focus underneath that broad professional activity. There are specialised areas of focus for which counselling is useful, and one of these specialised areas is career development. There are many other specialised areas of focus for which counselling is useful (e.g., trauma, relationship, etc), So, I suggest that the question to be answered is: What is "personal counselling"? Is personal counselling different from trauma counselling, relationship counselling, grief counselling? By using the term "personal counselling" you create an artificial, discursive delineation. "Personal" is such a broad word--all counselling is necessarily personal. It is just as imprecise as the word "stress". Is it practically meaningful to say "stress counselling"? Not really.
Just like all forms of of counselling, the working relationship and alliance is fundamental. The special "ingredient" in counselling is the working relationship/alliance between client and counsellor. Therefore, any specialist form of counselling must first attend to the relationship between client and counsellor. Practitioners may choose to specialise in one area of practice, such as career counselling, but ultimately, his or her area of specialisation must be based upon the relational arts of counselling and the relationship. The theories and techniques that create the specialisations of counselling take second place.
If you were to observe me doing career counselling, you would immediately recognise techniques seen in other specialised areas of counselling, but the counselling would be directed toward the presenting problem brought to counselling by the client. Just because the focus of counselling is upon a person's career, does not mean that the counselling used no longer looks like counselling used for a host of other human problems and issues. For example, you might see myself and the client talking about the client's relationship with his/her spouse and how the dynamics of that relationship is germane to the client's career, and vice versa. Alternatively, you might see the client and I working through the a cognitive-behavioural approach to teaching the client how to challenge and change thoughts that generate negative thinking and fear. You might here interpretations that resemble psychodynamic concepts. After all, the current approach to career counselling by Mark Savickas and his notion of Life Themes can be traced back to Alfred Adler. You might want to read one of my papers on the "repetition compulsion" that is published in the most recent issue of the Australian Journal of Career Development, which has devoted to the Chaos Theory of Career.
The broader issue pertains to the training of counsellors. No counsellor should use a technique that he/she is not competently able to put into action within the counselling relationship. I am a Counselling Psychologist, but I would not provide counselling for a problem or use a technique that is beyond my scope of competence. So, I also that think one must take into account just how qualified a counsellor is when posing the question on providing counselling for other specialised areas of focus.
Thanks for raising this really good question, Andronikos.
Peter
3 Recommendations

All Answers (8)

27th Mar, 2014
Shalini, Agarwal
Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University
I do believe that personal counselling techniques may be incorporated in the carrier counselling as the initial counselling skills are the same and carrier choice goes with the personal interest
1 Recommendation
28th Mar, 2014
Andronikos Kaliris
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Yes. I agree with your opinion Shalini. However, is it a matter of techniques or a matter of the problems and issues career counseling should address in our times? In other words would you consider that a career counselor should try to support clients achieve a better and more satisfactory life overall just as theories like Krumboltz's (2009) or Savickas et al.'s (2009) suggest? In your view is this a work a career counselor can do or a cooperation with a personal counselor is necessarily needed?
30th Mar, 2014
Peter McIlveen
University of Southern Queensland 
Andronikos, this is a very good question and one that has been discussed in the career development literature for a few decades. I recommend you review some of the papers in the journal, Career Development Quarterly.
My short answer is: Yes.
Here is my long answer:
My perspective is that there is no such thing as "personal counselling". The term is an unfortunate and imprecise expression that has led to nothing more than confusion in how counselling is theorised. There is counselling and then there are specialised areas of focus underneath that broad professional activity. There are specialised areas of focus for which counselling is useful, and one of these specialised areas is career development. There are many other specialised areas of focus for which counselling is useful (e.g., trauma, relationship, etc), So, I suggest that the question to be answered is: What is "personal counselling"? Is personal counselling different from trauma counselling, relationship counselling, grief counselling? By using the term "personal counselling" you create an artificial, discursive delineation. "Personal" is such a broad word--all counselling is necessarily personal. It is just as imprecise as the word "stress". Is it practically meaningful to say "stress counselling"? Not really.
Just like all forms of of counselling, the working relationship and alliance is fundamental. The special "ingredient" in counselling is the working relationship/alliance between client and counsellor. Therefore, any specialist form of counselling must first attend to the relationship between client and counsellor. Practitioners may choose to specialise in one area of practice, such as career counselling, but ultimately, his or her area of specialisation must be based upon the relational arts of counselling and the relationship. The theories and techniques that create the specialisations of counselling take second place.
If you were to observe me doing career counselling, you would immediately recognise techniques seen in other specialised areas of counselling, but the counselling would be directed toward the presenting problem brought to counselling by the client. Just because the focus of counselling is upon a person's career, does not mean that the counselling used no longer looks like counselling used for a host of other human problems and issues. For example, you might see myself and the client talking about the client's relationship with his/her spouse and how the dynamics of that relationship is germane to the client's career, and vice versa. Alternatively, you might see the client and I working through the a cognitive-behavioural approach to teaching the client how to challenge and change thoughts that generate negative thinking and fear. You might here interpretations that resemble psychodynamic concepts. After all, the current approach to career counselling by Mark Savickas and his notion of Life Themes can be traced back to Alfred Adler. You might want to read one of my papers on the "repetition compulsion" that is published in the most recent issue of the Australian Journal of Career Development, which has devoted to the Chaos Theory of Career.
The broader issue pertains to the training of counsellors. No counsellor should use a technique that he/she is not competently able to put into action within the counselling relationship. I am a Counselling Psychologist, but I would not provide counselling for a problem or use a technique that is beyond my scope of competence. So, I also that think one must take into account just how qualified a counsellor is when posing the question on providing counselling for other specialised areas of focus.
Thanks for raising this really good question, Andronikos.
Peter
3 Recommendations
30th Mar, 2014
Andronikos Kaliris
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Professor McIlveen thank you so much for your contribution to the above question. It helped me gain invaluable insight on this topic from a well-known expert in our field like you. In my opinion a definite answer cannot be given on issues such as the connection of counselling skills with career counselling practice. No counsellor should use skills pertained to other counselling sub-specialties if he/she doesn't possess them. This could be detrimental for the counselling relationship and its effects. However, I insist as you mentioned in the answer above that career development is a life issue and basic counselling skills and relationship between counsellor and client is fundamental in order to help effectively a client. A few colleagues and I in Greece (Professors, PhD holders, PhD candidates and other specialists) tend to believe that career counselling and career guidance is a lifelong process germane to individuals' life as a whole. We see career management as equal to life management, in which family, happenstance, social uncertainty and change contribute to except for interests, values, and competencies. In my view, life development and satisfaction means striving to achieve a satisfactory and fruitful career development in which new planned or unplanned experiences lead the way of being.
Additionally, I totally agree with you that there are numerous counselling approaches a counselor can use from which a client - counselee could benefit from according to their needs and career issues brought in counseling. Some months ago the Center for Research and Assessment in Career Counseling of the University of Athens, Greece organized in cooperation with Greek National Organization for Certification and Vocational Guidance a specialized seminar which showed how career counseling could benefit from a mixture of traditional and post modern approaches (Narrative Career Counseling; I am glad I had the chance to teach that course; Happenstance Learning Theory, Solution focused Approach in Career Counseling, Life Design). All participants (career counselors from all around Greece were delighted to see that each approach had valuable perspectives to offer to career counseling practice and research). Societal, personal, local and global influences always seem to play a major role in career choices, incentives and career development as you mention in several articles of yours. Unfortunately, most counselors, at least in Greece, avoid to incorporate them in counselling sessions because they assume these are issues should not be addressed in career counseling.
In a recent article (Kaliris & Kriwas, internet edition in English) published first in Greek in a national scientific journal of Counseling titled Review of Counselling and Guidance (Kaliris & Kriwas, 2013), we call for the need for a synergy between traditional and postmodern career development approaches for the benefit of the clients. We also review some of the most important postmodern career development theories including Chaos Theory of Careers and Narrative Career Counseling. You could download it by entering my profile in research gate and going to publications section. I would be pleased if you took a look and afterwards you gave me your opinion about the value of this article in the attempt to advance the existing knowledge on the tools and the theoretical views available in our field as well as how that work could be improved. Also, please provide me if possible with your recent article related to "repetitive compulsion" based on CTC because unfortunately I could not manage to have access to the Australian Journal of Career Development.
Thank you so much in advance.
Best Regards,
Andronikos Kaliris
30th Mar, 2014
Peter McIlveen
University of Southern Queensland 
Andronikos, I have added the pre-print version of the manuscript to my list of publications. It is entitled: "Hope-Narratives as a Chaos Theory of Career Intervention for Failure".
1 Recommendation
30th Mar, 2014
Peter McIlveen
University of Southern Queensland 
Andronikos, I enjoyed reading your article and believe it captures the main themes of the career counselling that has emerged in the "postmodern" stage of the field's evolution. The "social constructionist" paradigm has emerged quite strongly as a consequence of the postmodern turn.
In your paper I noted an interesting section on "identity". This is a fascinating construct in career counselling. I understand identity from the perspective of the theory of dialogical self
1 Recommendation
30th Mar, 2014
Peter McIlveen
University of Southern Queensland 
Further to my response, in relation to identity and dialogical self, you may be interested in the paper attached.

Similar questions and discussions

Related Publications

Article
Full-text available
This article addresses the use of computer-assisted career guidance systems (CACGS) in career interventions. Major CACGS developed in the past decades were based on the trait-factor or person-environment fit approaches in their conceptualization and design. The strengths and limitations of these CACGS in addressing the career development needs of i...
Article
Full-text available
Current state and national mandates focusing on academic achievement have drawn critical counseling resources away from career development. As the world of work radically changes and economic situations remain uncertain, the call for a return to school counseling roots based in career guidance has never been louder. The authors explore reoccurring...
Got a technical question?
Get high-quality answers from experts.