HOW CAREER COUNSELING CAN HELP

In a career counseling session, the counselor will help a person explore skills and strengths, consider education levels and give advice about continuing education, and determine interests and personality type. Counselors may also administer an IQ test or an aptitude test. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has also been shown to be useful at helping individuals determine possible careers based on personality traits.

Some potential topics of discussion in career counseling:

  • Particular skills or talents. In which careers might they be useful?
  • The educational commitment required of various careers.
  • The potential earnings of various careers.
  • The daily working environment. Some people enjoy working in an office, while others might be more successful in a fast-paced or outdoor environment.
  • The opportunities for change or advancement in a particular career. Some careers are more flexible than others. Lawyers and doctors, for example, may shift their focus or area of specialty but will generally remain lawyers and doctors. Other careers or education paths might more allow mobility between positions in a given field.
  • The necessary skills/education for a desired career.

Some counselors may also be able to offer advice on how to improve one’s position at a job that is, for the most part, enjoyable. For example, possible ways to earn a promotion or the best methods to negotiate a salary adjustment could be discussed.

CASE EXAMPLE

  • Therapy to cope with stress from returning to school while working full-time: Mandy, 30, is unhappy in her career as a paralegal but not sure how to make a change. She would like a less stressful job where she can be of more help to people, but most of the jobs she thinks she would enjoy require more education, and she cannot afford to stop working. Working 45 hours a week while going to school sounds stressful and frightens her, and she makes an appointment with a therapist, who helps to normalize her feelings and discuss Mandy’s fears about going to school while working full-time. After a session of exploring her goals and current stress level, it becomes quite clear to Mandy that she cannot stay in her current job for much longer. She realizes that, despite the possible difficulties, she needs to continue her education in order to change careers. The therapist helps her identify resources, including financial aid resources as well as ways to manage stress, so that Mandy can explore ways to successfully continue working while attending school at night. The therapist also points out to Mandy her own strengths, made apparent by her work as a paralegal: the ability to multitask, work long hours, do extensive research, and complete projects and difficult tasks on her own. This knowledge gives Mandy hope and the confidence that she will be able to finish school while working.

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