Choosing an Advanced Career

Career Counseling: An Overview

As individuals, our careers are shaped by the choices and actions we take throughout our lives. These careers are not just limited to our professional pursuits, but also encompass the various roles we play in our personal lives. Managing our careers effectively requires a balance between all of these roles, as they work together to create the overall direction and purpose of our lives.

In a sense, career development is a process of self-discovery, as we continually seek to understand ourselves and make sense of our experiences. It is a journey of personal growth and fulfillment, as we strive to make the most of our time on earth by pursuing meaningful and fulfilling work. By taking an active role in shaping our careers, we can create a sense of purpose and direction in our lives, and find fulfillment and satisfaction in the work we do.

The theory and research base of career development and the practice of career counseling has evolved and changed as the 21st century has continued to unfold. Modern normative, science-based theories such as Holland’s theory of vocational personalities and work environments continue to be useful in guiding the practice of career counseling (R. W. Lent, 2013).

At the same time, there has been “a proliferation of career counseling approaches underpinned by postmodern and constructivist philosophies” (McMahon, Watson, Chetty, & Hoelson, 2012, p. 127).

The integration of modern and postmodern theories is leading to a renewed examination of career development and the practices used in career counseling. This fresh perspective is also prompting new approaches to gathering client information and forming hypotheses about their behavior and goals. These advances are helping career counselors select more effective interventions to assist clients in achieving their objectives and resolving any issues they may be facing.

This shift towards a more holistic and flexible approach to career counseling allows for a greater understanding of the complex and multi-faceted nature of career development. It recognizes that individuals are not defined solely by their career choices, but rather by the many roles and experiences that make up their lives. By taking this broader view, career counselors can more effectively support clients as they navigate their own unique path towards personal and professional growth.

To set the stage for the rest of the book, the first part of Chapter 1 examines the nature and structure of career counseling in light of the changes occurring in career development theory building. This discussion is presented to provide a perspective and an organizer for the career counseling interventions that are described in the chapters that follow.

Then, in the second part of Chapter 1, a holistic view of career development, called life career development, is described to provide a conceptual foundation and point of departure for career counseling with clients of all ages and circumstances.

Career Counseling

What is career counseling? Is it different from other forms of counseling? Is it the same? Is there overlap? These questions are being asked with increasing frequency today as attempts are being made to clarify this form of counseling (Amundson, Harris-Bowlsbey, & Niles, 2009; Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012; Savickas, 2011).

The main focus of the current debate surrounding career counseling centers around two main points. The first is the fundamental nature of career counseling - what are its inherent characteristics and qualities? Does it involve psychological processes? The second point of discussion is the structure of career counseling - is there a specific structure in place? If so, what is the organization, sequence, and connections between the different stages and sub-phases involved?

The Nature of Career Counseling

“Historically, career and vocational counseling have served as the cornerstones upon which the counseling profession was built” (Dorn, 1992, p. 176). Unfortunately, along the path of history, career counseling became stereotyped. In many people’s minds it became time limited, it was devoid of psychological processes, and it focused on outcomes and methods (Osipow, 1982). Swanson (1995), paraphrasing the work of Manuel Adkins, underscored this point:

Manuele-Adkins (1992) described elements of a stereotypic view of career counseling that discredit its psychological component and affect the quality and delivery of career counseling services. In this stereotypic view, career counseling is a rational process, with an emphasis on information-giving, testing, and computer-based systems; it is short-term, thus limiting the range of possible intervention strategies and obscuring psychological processes such as indecision; and it is different from personal counseling, thus lowering the perceived value of career counseling and increasing a false separation between work and nonwork. (p. 222)

Young and Domene (2012) added to this historical debate by stating there is still a disconnect between career counseling and counseling for other areas of life, such as family, emotional difficulties and relationship issues” (p. 16). It has been noted that practitioners in career counseling and counseling in general often have distinct professional identities, practices, and professional associations, which contributes to a separation between the two fields. This can lead to a lack of communication and access to each other's professional literature.

Furthermore, it is believed that this divide has caused the general public to develop misconceptions about the nature of career counseling.

There are several myths and misconceptions about career counseling that are important to address:

1.Career counselors can use standardized assessments to determine the best occupation for a person.

2. Work role decisions can be made independently of other life roles.

3. Career counseling does not address personal issues.

4. Career counselors do not need extensive counseling skills to be competent.

5. Career counseling does not consider the client's context and culture.

6. Career counseling is only necessary when making a career decision.

7. Career counseling ends once a career decision has been made.

It is important to recognize that these statements are not accurate and that career counseling involves a more comprehensive approach that takes into account the individual's unique needs, goals, and circumstances.

Contrary to popular belief, career counseling should be considered a form of counseling because it shares the same essential characteristics and qualities as other types of counseling. However, career counseling may differ in that the concerns and issues brought up by clients often center around work and career matters, and there is a greater use of quantitative and qualitative assessment procedures and information. Swanson (1995) suggested this characterization of career counseling when she defined it as “an ongoing, face-to-face interaction between counselor and client, with the primary focus on work- or career-related issues; the interaction is psychological in nature, with the relationship between counselor and client serving an important function”.

As practitioners of counseling know, the initial issues presented by clients are often just the tip of the iceberg. As counseling progresses, other problems may come to the surface. Career issues can frequently intersect with personal and emotional issues and family issues, and may also loop back to career issues again. Counseling involves a holistic approach that considers the individual's various concerns and works towards a resolution. (Andersen & Vandehey, 2012). Thoughts, emotions, and feelings are all involved.

Emotion has the potential to provide insights into the motivations behind vocational behavior. It may be beneficial to examine the role of emotion in career theory and practice more broadly, and specifically in relation to goal-directedness, purpose, meaning, narrative, and intentionality in career planning. Emotion can play a significant role in how individuals approach their careers and make decisions about their professional paths.

The need to address client concerns related to work and career issues, which require specific theoretical frameworks and interventions grounded in career development theory, research, and practice, is another important reason to continue using the term "career counseling." These frameworks and interventions are often not found in the literature related to other forms of counseling. Similarly, theoretical frameworks and interventions that come from a personal and emotional counseling perspective are not typically found in the literature on career counseling. It is important for practitioners to be aware of and utilize appropriate theories and interventions for the specific issues being addressed. According to Collin (2006),

Careers involve both objective and subjective elements, as they involve both the external realities of work and the individual's personal experience of it. Even when the focus is on objective elements, subjective elements are always present. Careers also involve other dualities such as the individual and the collective, and rhetoric and praxis. The inherent ambivalence of careers, with their "both/and" nature rather than "either/or," makes them a powerful and fascinating concept that can continue to provide meaning in the 21st century.

Our starting point should be our clients, not predetermined distinctions of counseling. Zunker (2002) made this same point when he stated, “We are not just career counselors, we counsel individuals” (p. 7). The emphasis on client problems to guide and work with clients was suggested by Blustein and Spengler (1995) in their domain-sensitive approach:

A domain-sensitive approach refers to a way of intervening with clients such that the full array of human experiences is encompassed. The goals of such an intervention are to improve adjustment and facilitate developmental progress in both the career and non career domains. The term domain pertains to the scope of the client’s psychological experiences, encompassing both career and non career settings. By following domain with the term sensitive, we are attempting to capture counselors’ inherent openness, empathy, and interest with respect to both the career and non career domains and their ability to shift between these content domains effectively. In effect, a domain-sensitive approach is characterized by the counselor’s concerted interest in and awareness of all possible ramifications of a client’s psychological experience and its behavioral expressions. In this approach, the counselor clearly values the client’s experiences in both the career and non career domains. The counselor bases a decision about where to intervene on informed judgments about where the problem originated and where it is most accessible for intervention. (p. 317)

In the domain-sensitive approach, the career problems clients have are not automatically converted to personal–emotional problems because career (work) issues require full attention in the career counseling process (Blustein, 2006). Nor are personal– emotional problems automatically converted to career problems.

“The underlying asset of a domain-sensitive approach is that interventions are not based on discrete or arbitrary distinctions between treatment modalities but are determined by the unique attributes of each client’s history and presenting problem” (Blustein & Spengler, 1995, p. 318). The terms career counseling and personal–emotional counseling should remain as ways to organize theory and research but not as ways to restrict our view of clients and limit our work with them. Many years ago, Super (1955) stated it this way: “One counsels people rather than problems” (p. 4).

The Structure of Career Counseling

Now that we have discussed the nature of career counseling, it is important to consider how to organize the work of clients and counselors in career counseling. One possibility is to structure the work into phases and subphases. If this is done, it is important to consider the arrangement and sequence of the phases and subphases, as well as how they are interconnected. Many authors have suggested ways to structure career counseling, including Parsons (1909), Amundson et al. (2009), Crites (1981), Kidd (2004), McDaniels & Gysbers (1992), and Savickas (2011).

For the purposes of this book, the authors suggest a structure for career counseling that includes two major phases (Client Goal or Problem Identification, Clarification, and Specification and Client Goal or Problem Resolution) and several subphases.

We see the working alliance evolving during career counseling—moving from forming the working alliance, to strengthening it, to fulfilling it, to finally closing it upon completion of career counseling. How important is a good relationship? Amundson (2006) stated it this way:

“All counseling interventions are dependent on the foundation of a good relationship”

It is important to note that all of the phases and subphases of career counseling may not necessarily occur within a single session. It is more likely that they will unfold over multiple sessions. In some cases, policies at agencies or institutions may limit the number of sessions available. In these cases, it is important for clients and counselors to understand the time constraints and make informed decisions about what can be achieved within the allotted time.

It is possible that there may be unfinished business when the counseling relationship ends in situations where the allotted time is insufficient to complete the full counseling process. Additionally, it is important to note that the suggested phases and subphases of career counseling may not always progress in a linear fashion in practice. It may be necessary to revisit earlier phases or subphases before moving forward again. For example, a client may reach the "taking action" subphase only to realize that additional interventions are needed, which necessitates returning to the "gathering client information" subphase. This back-and-forth flow is a normal part of the counseling process and allows the counselor to address the client's needs and concerns in a comprehensive and holistic manner. To picture this point, you can see that the phases and subphases of career counseling presented in linear outline form in Table 1-1 are placed in a circular format in Figure 1-1. Note how the working alliance evolves and interacts with the phases and subphases and how central it is to the structure of career counseling.

It is important to remember that not all clients who seek help want or need to go through the full career counseling process. Some may only need limited assistance, while others may need to be involved in the full process over time but may be resistant to this. Dealing with resistance may be a priority in the initial stages of forming the working alliance. However, it is important to be aware that resistance may reoccur throughout the counseling process as clients struggle with their problems. Dealing with recurring resistance is an important part of the psychological processes involved in career counseling. It is important for the counselor to work with the client to address and resolve any resistance that may arise. Recommend reading: Career Counseling: Holism, Diversity, and Strengths 4th Edition

Ethics for Career Counseling.

Recommend reading: Career Theory and Practice: Learning Through Case Studies: 9781544333663

Professional associations, such as the American Counseling Association (ACA), have codes of ethics that guide the behavior of their members. These codes often identify the core values that underpin the profession. For example, the ACA Code of Ethics lays out several principles that counselors must follow, such as promoting human development, honoring diversity, protecting the integrity of the counselor-client relationship, and practicing in a competent and ethical manner. These principles are based on the values of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, and veracity.

Career counselors, in particular, are expected to adhere to the ethical guidelines set forth by the ACA and the National Career Development Association (NCDA). These codes outline the responsibilities and obligations that career counselors must fulfill in order to provide effective assistance to their clients. It is important for career counselors to familiarize themselves with these guidelines and to consult them as needed. This chapter will focus on the NCDA ethics code. As the NCDA code states,

“A code of ethics helps to define professional behavior and serves to protect the public, the profession, and those who practice within the profession” (p.1).

It helps to guide the appropriate decisions and actions to take with a client. The Code helps to answer when to keep a client’s confidence, what to do when a client is also seeing another therapist, how to manage challenges when working online, or how to appropriately use and interpret a career assessment.

The National Career Development Association NCDA (2015) Code of Ethics

The NCDA (2015) has designed 9 Codes of Ethics, that are as follows:

  1. The Professional Relationship

The guidelines outlined in Section A provide career professionals with the necessary information to establish a successful and ethical working relationship with their clients. A.1 specifically focuses on the core elements of working directly with individuals receiving services. This includes the importance of prioritizing the client's well-being and ensuring that the services provided align with the practitioner's competencies. Career professionals must also maintain accurate records and adhere to all state and federal regulations related to record-keeping. Additionally, practitioners are encouraged to collaborate with clients when developing service plans and involve the client's support network with their consent.

A.2 delves into the concept of informed consent, which is the client's right to have enough information to make a decision about engaging in a professional relationship with a career practitioner. Practitioners must clearly communicate, both verbally and in writing, the rights and responsibilities of both the practitioner and client, and have an ongoing obligation to review informed consent throughout the services. The information provided in the informed consent includes details about the types and length of services, billing, and potential use of technology, as well as what might happen in the event of the practitioner being incapacitated. Additionally, clients' rights are outlined in A.2.b, including the right to confidentiality, the right to know the information in their records, the right to participate in service planning, and the right to refuse services. The importance of cultural sensitivity is emphasized throughout the code, and in A.2, this is specifically highlighted in the context of communicating informed consent. Special cases of informed consent, such as for minors and clients mandated for services, are also addressed. The code highlights the need for practitioners to balance clients' rights to make choices that affect their lives with the responsibilities of families to act on behalf of their children. When working with clients who have been mandated for services, practitioners must explain the services that will be provided and what information will be shared about the outcome of services. Clients have the right to refuse services in this case, but practitioners have an obligation to review the consequences of such refusal.

A.3 covers situations where career professionals may be approached by clients who are already working with other professionals. In these cases, practitioners must obtain written consent from the clients before sharing information with the other professionals.

A.4 emphasizes the importance of avoiding harm to clients, students, or research participants, and being aware of personal biases to prevent imposing one's values on clients. (A.4.a and A.4.b). Practitioners must ensure that their actions and advice align with the best interest of the client, and avoid any conflicts of interest that may compromise the professional relationship.

A.5 addresses the various roles and relationships that career professionals may have with clients, some of which are prohibited while others are discouraged. In general, career professionals should be aware of the potential for abuse of power when forming multiple roles with current or former clients. Career professionals are encouraged to avoid nonprofessional relationships with clients, their romantic partners, or family members (A.5.c). But, in the event such interaction might be beneficial (e.g., going to a wedding or graduation), professionals must carefully document the interaction and benefit, as well as evidence of client consent (A.5.d). If the professional’s role changes (e.g., from individual to family counseling), clients must be informed of the consequences of the role change (A.5.e). Career professionals are discouraged from providing services to their own previous romantic partners or family members. If they do so, they are encouraged to seek consultation from another professional (A.5.f). Overall, A.5 highlights the importance of maintaining professional boundaries and avoiding conflicts of interest in the relationship with clients and their family members.

A.6 encourages career professionals to advocate for their clients at all levels, from the individual to societal, with the consent of the client. They should work to identify and dismantle barriers that may be preventing clients from reaching their goals.

A.7 addresses the issue of providing services to multiple clients and outlines steps to ensure that clients are not harmed, including clarifying the relationships and the need to withdraw from one or more of the services if the roles conflict.

A.8 specifically deals with the provision of group services, and highlights the importance of screening clients to ensure that their needs are compatible with the level of service provided in the group (A.8.a) and the need to protect clients from harm (A.8.b). It's important for the career professionals to carefully evaluate the appropriateness of the group services for each client and take measures to ensure their well-being.

A.9 covers issues related to fees and business practices for career professionals. These include not referring clients to their own private practice (unless the organization has policies that allow it) and ensuring that fees are reasonable for the location and the client's financial status (A.9.a and A.9.b). It's important for the professionals to avoid any potential conflicts of interest that may compromise the professional relationship.

If professionals have policies to take legal action to collect fees, this must be included in their informed consent documents and they must offer clients the opportunity to make payment (A.9.c). Career professionals are encouraged to refrain from bartering with clients, or exchanging their services for a service provided by the client. Bartering may only be used if it is not exploitive or harmful, if the client requests it, and it is common in the community (A.9.d).

A.9.e addresses the issue of accepting gifts, encouraging professionals to take the cultural context of the gesture into account. Professionals should consider the cultural significance of the gift, the purpose of the gift, and the impact of accepting or refusing the gift on the professional relationship.

The final section of Section A, A.10, addresses the termination of professional services. Career professionals are prohibited from abandoning clients (A.10.a), but if they believe they can no longer be of assistance to clients, they should not continue the relationship (A.10.b). Instead, they should suggest alternatives or referrals for the client. They are encouraged to terminate the relationship when the client is finished with career plans or is no longer benefiting from the relationship.

If a transfer is made, the career professional should make all attempts to maintain open communication between professionals (A.10.c and A.10.d). This ensures continuity of care and prevents any potential harm to the client. The career professional should also document the reason for termination and the steps taken to ensure continuity of care. It is important for the career professional to manage the termination of professional services in an ethical, respectful and sensitive way, and with the well-being of the client in mind.

  1. Confidentiality, Privileged Communication, and Privacy

Section B of the NCDA Ethics Code focuses on the importance of earning and maintaining trust, upholding professional boundaries, and maintaining confidentiality. B.1 emphasizes the importance of respecting clients' rights, including an understanding of cultural meanings of confidentiality, clients' rights to privacy, and confidentiality (B.1.a through B.1.c) and the need to explain any limits to confidentiality (B.1.d).

B.2 outlines exceptions to confidentiality, or when state and professional standards dictate a need to disclose what a client has said. Specifically, career professionals will disclose confidential information if they need to protect the client or others from harm (such as a threat to harm someone, or disclosure of child or elder abuse). They also are justified in disclosing information about a communicable and life-threatening disease if the third party is identifiable and at high risk of contracting the disease (B.2.a and B.2.b). When career counselors are ordered by a court to release confidential information, they must inform the client of the request, obtain written consent to disclose information, and try to prohibit the disclosure, or limit as much as possible the amount of information disclosed to minimize harm to the client (B.2.c).

The importance of maintaining confidentiality is extended to subordinates, treatment teams, settings and third-party payers, noting in the latter that clients must authorize disclosure to third-party payers (B.3.a through B.3.d). The professionals are obligated to protect the client's privacy and confidentiality in all aspects of their work and to follow the laws and regulations that govern the sharing of confidential information.

Guideline B.4 focuses on the confidentiality and privacy in group settings. Career professionals must explain the limits of confidentiality for groups, as well as for multiple family members (B.4.a and B.4.b). It's important for the practitioners to clearly communicate the expectations for confidentiality in group settings, as well as for multiple family members, to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

In the case of working with multiple members of a family, it is important to consider who is the “client”, and to ensure that the confidentiality and privacy of each individual is maintained.

B.5.b highlights the importance of maintaining confidentiality for minor clients or those who cannot give consent, noting the responsibility to minor clients but also to parents and guardians who are responsible for those minors. If confidential information is to be released about someone who cannot give voluntary consent (e.g., a minor), consent must be sought from a responsible third party, such as a parent (B.5.c). It's important for the practitioners to follow the laws and regulations that govern the sharing of confidential information for those who cannot give their consent.

Guideline B.6 addresses matters related to client records, including ensuring that documentation is current and records are kept secure (B.6.a). Permission must be obtained from clients prior to recording or observing them (B.6.b and B.6.c). Clients have the right to access their records and career professionals are encouraged to provide reasonable access to records, including providing assistance in understanding them (B.6.d and B.6.e). Written permission is required to transfer records to a third party (B.6.f).

Records must be stored for an appropriate length of time in accordance with state and federal laws, but must then be purged (B.6.g). Career professionals are encouraged to take precautions to safeguard a client’s confidentiality if they terminate their own practice, appointing a records custodian (B.6.h). This is to ensure that the client's records are secure and can be accessed by authorized parties even after the professional's practice is terminated. It's important for the professionals to keep accurate records that are secure and easily accessible, and to follow the laws and regulations that govern the storage, retention, and sharing of client records.

Guideline B.7 applies to career professionals in the research realm. Researchers must be accurate with their proposals and obtain institutional approval for research, adhere to federal, state, and institutional guidelines regarding research, maintain participant confidentiality and privacy, as well as any limits to confidentiality (B.7.a through B.7.c). Researchers must be honest and transparent about their research methods and protect the confidentiality and privacy of the participants.

Researchers are prohibited from disclosing information that could lead to participant identification, and if they use quotes that may identify clients or research participants, those individuals must review the material and agree to the presentation (B.7.d and B.7.e). This ensures that the participants are aware of how their information will be used, and that their anonymity is protected.

When acting in a consultant capacity, career professionals must discuss confidentiality among the participants in the consultation, as well as the limits of confidentiality, make every effort to protect the privacy of individuals, and do not disclose confidential information that might lead to identification of a client without prior consent (B.8.a through B.8.c). This applies to any consulting work that the professional may engage in, and ensures that the confidentiality and privacy of the clients are protected.

  1. Professional Responsibility

Section C of the NCDA Ethics Code focuses on the career professional’s responsibilities, including their responsibility to be competent, to be honest and accurate in advertising, and to be non-discriminatory in their work.

Career professionals must know and comply with the standards and guidelines of the profession (C.1), and are prohibited from practicing outside the boundaries of their competence (C.2.a). Multicultural competence is expected as part of this guideline, and professionals must strive to understand and respect the cultural backgrounds of their clients.

When they seek new areas of specialty, career professionals must seek appropriate education and/or supervision, and accept as work appointments only positions for which they are qualified (C.2.b and C.2.c). Along with working within the bounds of competence, career professionals must monitor their effectiveness, seeking supervision where necessary and consulting their ethical obligations as appropriate, and seek continuing education to maintain their competence (C.2.d through C.2.f). They must also be alert to their own impairment and take steps to seek assistance for their own physical and mental health when their impairment might harm clients (C.2.g).

Competent career professionals must make arrangements in the event that they have to terminate their practice. Similar to B.6.h, this includes making a plan for transfer of clients, if necessary, and identifying a records custodian, if they are no longer able to practice due to incapacitation or death. This ensures that clients will be taken care of even if the professional is unable to continue providing services.

Guideline C.3 addresses accuracy and honesty in advertising and soliciting clients. Career professionals must be truthful and accurate in their advertising, and only use testimonials from clients that have provided their consent (C.3.a through C.3.c). They must not use misleading or false statements to promote their services or products.

Career professionals must not recruit for a private practice through their place of employment and only promote products accurately, providing enough information to allow consumers to make an informed choice (C.3.d and C.3.e). They must not use their professional activities (consultation, teaching, supervision) to promote products in a deceptive manner (C.3.f). This ensures that clients can trust the professionals and that they are providing accurate and honest information about their services.

Guideline C.4 encourages professionals to claim only professional qualifications they have completed and to correct others’ impressions of them (C.4.a). This means that they must not claim to have qualifications or licenses they do not possess, and must correct any false or misleading information that others may be spreading about them.

Professionals should claim only their current licenses and the degrees they have earned, state their highest degree earned, and do not use the title “Dr.” if they have not earned a doctorate (C.4.b and C.4.d). They must accurately indicate the accreditation status of their educational program at the time they graduated and accurately represent their professional memberships (C.4.e and C.4.f). This ensures that clients can trust the professional qualifications of the career professionals, and that they are not misled about the professionals' qualifications.

Guideline C.5 prohibits career professionals from any discrimination on the basis of cultural identity, or discrimination against clients, employees, students or research participants. This means that they must provide services to all clients regardless of their cultural background, and must not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected status.

Guideline C.6 stipulates that career professionals do not sexually harass others, are accurate and honest in reports to third parties, are professional in all media presentations, including being consistent with the NCDA Code of Ethics, do not exploit others, base their treatment on current scientific foundations, and make an effort to provide services to the public pro bono (C.6.a through C.6.f). This includes being respectful and professional in all interactions, providing evidence-based services, and giving back to the community by providing services to those in need.

Guideline C.7 stipulates that career professionals make it clear when their statements are from their own personal perspective, as opposed to speaking for the profession. This means that they must distinguish between their own personal opinions and the professional standards of the field.

Guideline C.8 encourages career professionals to create policy statements and guidelines to use in their practice. This means that they are encouraged to create their own policies and procedures to govern their practice, to ensure that they are providing the best services possible, in accordance with the NCDA Code of Ethics.

  1. Relationships With Other Professionals

Section D addresses two types of relationships with other professionals: D.1 focuses on interdisciplinary work with others, and D.2 on coaching and consultation.

When serving as coaches, career professionals must have the appropriate competencies for the role, understand the context and potential consequences of their interventions, and work to empower the client to take a self-directed approach. Informed consent should be obtained, including an explanation of the problem, goals for change, and potential consequences of interventions (D.2.a-D.2.d). Overall, the NCDA Ethics Code emphasizes the importance of maintaining trust, upholding professional boundaries, and putting the welfare of clients first in all interactions and decisions.

The NCDA Ethics Code provides guidelines for the professional conduct of career professionals in areas such as working with clients, maintaining confidentiality and privacy, being competent and honest in advertising and soliciting clients, and working with other professionals in interdisciplinary and coaching/consultation settings. The code emphasizes the importance of putting the welfare of the client first, being culturally sensitive, and being responsible and ethical in all aspects of professional practice.

  1. Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation

E.1 of the NCDA Ethics Code states that career professionals use assessment instruments that are appropriate to the client and the purpose for which they are being used, and that they are familiar with the instruments they use (E.1.a). They obtain informed consent from clients before administering assessments, and provide clients with information about the instrument and its results (E.1.b and E.1.c). They use appropriate interpretation and use of test results, and they do not misuse or misrepresent test results (E.1.d and E.1.e). Career professionals must also ensure that they do not discriminate against clients in their assessment practices (E.1.f) and that they do not use assessment results for purposes other than what was intended without the client's knowledge and consent (E.1.g).

Section E of the NCDA Ethics Code focuses on the appropriate use of assessment in career counseling. It emphasizes the importance of using reliable and valid assessment tools, being competent in their use, and considering the client's welfare throughout the assessment process. It also stresses the importance of obtaining informed consent from clients before administering assessments, and only releasing results to qualified individuals who have the client's consent. Overall, the goal of these guidelines is to ensure that assessment practices are conducted in an ethical and responsible manner to prevent client harm.

Career professionals should be aware of the limitations of assessment tools and ensure that they are not misused or misinterpreted (E.6.c). They must also be aware of any cultural or linguistic limitations of the assessment tools they use and make sure they are being used in a culturally appropriate way (E.6.d). They must also be aware of any legal or regulatory requirements related to assessment and ensure that they are in compliance (E.6.e). Overall, the guidelines in Section E of the NCDA Ethics Code emphasize the importance of using assessment tools appropriately and in the best interest of clients, and being aware of the limitations and potential for misuse of such tools.

The NCDA Ethics Code provides guidelines for career professionals on various ethical issues they may encounter in their work, including client welfare, confidentiality, advertising and soliciting clients, nondiscrimination, and appropriate assessment. It emphasizes the importance of competence, cultural sensitivity, and client welfare in the assessment process, and encourages professionals to be aware of the potential impact of their actions and to seek supervision and continuing education to maintain their competence. It also emphasizes the importance of maintaining confidentiality and respecting the rights and privacy of clients, and encourages professionals to be honest and accurate in their advertising and representation of their qualifications. Additionally, it provides guidelines for working with other professionals, both in interdisciplinary settings and in coaching and consultation roles, and for appropriate use of assessment tools and techniques

The NCDA Code of Ethics provides a comprehensive guide for career professionals to ensure that they provide ethical, competent, and effective services to their clients. The code covers various aspects of professional conduct, including maintaining client welfare, confidentiality, and appropriate use of assessment tools. It also addresses interdisciplinary work, coaching and consultation, and forensic evaluations in legal proceedings. The guidelines are intended to protect clients and ensure that career professionals conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner at all times.

  1. Providing Career Services Online, Technology, and Social Media

Career professionals must take the extra steps to verify the client’s identity (F.3). Guideline F.4 discusses issues related specifically to providing services online, including the benefits and limitations of using online services, and the need to maintain (and discuss with a client) professional boundaries, as often online services are provided and received in personal homes (F.4.a and F.4.b). The onus for ensuring the client’s ability to use technology rests with the career professional, as does ensuring that clients have reasonable access to technology (F.4.c and F.4.d). Additionally, they must be aware of and comply with any relevant laws and regulations related to online services, including telehealth laws and HIPAA regulations (F.5). Career professionals must also be aware of the potential risks associated with using social media and other forms of online communication with clients and take appropriate steps to protect client confidentiality and privacy (F.6).

The guidelines in F.7 address the specific ethical considerations related to the use of social media by professionals. These include maintaining accuracy and up-to-date information on professional social media profiles, keeping personal and professional accounts separate, and being truthful about qualifications and training. The importance of maintaining client confidentiality and privacy is emphasized in guidelines F.7.d and F.7.e. Social media use must be included in informed consent and professionals must be aware of the potential for permanent information on social media and take necessary precautions to protect client privacy. Professionals are also reminded to be aware of copyright laws when using original sources on social media and to educate clients about the role of social media in career development.

  1. Supervision, Training, and Teaching

Section G of the guidelines focuses on establishing and maintaining professional relationships between career professionals and their students and supervisees. As supervisors, it is crucial that they prioritize the well-being of their clients, keep track of their cases, and have regular meetings with them. They must also ensure that their students appropriately inform clients that they are undergoing training and abide by ethical guidelines for informed consent (G.1.a through G.1.c). It is also crucial that supervisors are competent in providing supervision (G.2), maintain appropriate professional boundaries with their students and supervisees (G.3 and G.5.f), and provide students with proper evaluation (G.5.d, G.5.e, and G.5.g). The guidelines also outline the responsibilities of supervisors (G.4) and students (G.5), which includes students’ responsibility to understand the code of ethics, self-monitor for impairment, and disclose their trainee status to clients (G.5.a through G.5.c).

As educators, career professionals must demonstrate proficiency both as teachers and practitioners (G.6.a and G.6.b) and make it clear when techniques are not yet proven (G.6.e). They are encouraged to incorporate ethics into their teaching (G.6.c). They also ensure that students are qualified for placements and that the sites are prepared to accommodate them (G.6.f). This includes making sure that on-site supervisors are qualified to provide supervision. Educators provide appropriate information to students throughout their training, and disclose their expectations for self-disclosure in all public documents. Students have the right to choose their educational program with a clear understanding of the expected level of self-disclosure (G.7). Educators must develop their programs with consideration for faculty and student diversity and must ensure that multicultural competence is a part of the curriculum (G.8).

  1. Research and Publication

Guideline H addresses the ethical conduct of research for career professionals (H.1). Career professionals must protect the rights of research participants, avoid personal relationships with research participants and refrain from conducting research with individuals they have a personal relationship with (H.2 and H.3). They must report all findings truthfully and take measures to maintain the confidentiality of research participants (H.4). When publishing their research, they must adhere to guidelines related to authorship credit and publication practices (H.5).

  1. Resolving Ethical Issues

The final set of guidelines deals with the procedures and principles for resolving ethical issues. This includes addressing potential conflicts between the Ethics Code and the law (I.1). When ethical violations occur, career professionals are urged to try to resolve the issues informally before reporting the violation (I.2). If formal complaints are necessary, they should be made after professional consultation and making unwarranted complaints is not allowed. Career professionals are also expected to cooperate with state and association ethics committees (I.3).

Cultural contexts and Career Counseling.?

Mark, as a White career counselor, recognizes the importance of understanding the cultural values of his clients. In this case, he knows that he needs to be sensitive to the cultural context of his African American lesbian client from a conservative Muslim family. He plans to ask her which cultural factors are most relevant to her (race, sexual orientation, faith, age) and where she is experiencing conflict. He also wants to gain a deeper understanding of her career history and how discrimination may have influenced her choices and perceptions of opportunities. By taking these steps, Mark is demonstrating cultural sensitivity and a commitment to providing culturally responsive counseling to his client.

Mark's second client is a White man in his 50s who is considering a new position in another company before retirement. Mark made an error by not asking his client about his cultural context because just because they are the same race and gender, it does not mean that their experiences and perspectives are identical. Mark also made an assumption that work plays a similar role in his client's life as it does in his own, which led to missing key information about the client's background and upbringing. The client was raised in poverty in rural Nebraska, had to drop out of high school to support his family, and was able to work his way up the corporate ladder without the typical education his position requires. It is very important to him to be the primary provider for his family. His decision about a new position is strongly influenced by the need for job security and fear of judgment about his lack of education. By understanding these factors, Mark would have been able to provide more effective counseling.

These two cases demonstrate the importance of considering clients' cultural context when providing counseling. Clients' cultural backgrounds shape their experiences, perceptions, and responses to their environment. It is essential for career counselors to understand the potential influences of context on their own perceptions and worldviews as well as on their clients' perceptions and worldviews. The NCDA Career Counseling Competencies require that career counselors be aware of their own cultural beliefs and assumptions and incorporate that awareness into their interactions with clients and other career professionals. By doing so, career counselors can provide more effective and culturally responsive counseling to their clients.

In this section, we explore the significance of considering various contextual factors in relation to work-related choices and how this knowledge can be applied in career counseling. The term "context" refers to the psychological perspectives and worldviews shaped by an individual's background, such as culture, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, religion, and/or disability. These contexts can impact an individual's career choices in various ways. For instance, cultural values or familial expectations may influence the type of work an individual chooses to pursue or deems acceptable. On the other hand, certain barriers, such as racism, sexism, or heterosexism, may limit an individual's options. As career counselors, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the potential role of context in clients' lives, as it forms the basis for culturally responsive career counseling.

Culturally Responsive Career Counseling

Culturally responsive career counseling is beneficial for all clients, as it acknowledges and incorporates the unique cultural experiences and backgrounds that shape an individual's perspective. It's important to note that culture does not determine an individual's characteristics or experiences; there is a great deal of diversity within cultural groups. To effectively incorporate cultural variables into counseling, counselors must possess multicultural competencies and be prepared to provide culturally appropriate counseling. However, it's important to note that this chapter does not encompass all possible contextual factors that clients may bring to counseling. For more information on multicultural counseling considerations, readers can refer to Sue and Sue (2015), and for more in-depth discussion of contextual factors related to career counseling, readers can refer to Brown and Lent (2013) and Blustein (2013).

A fundamental principle of culturally responsive career counseling is the understanding that clients come from diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences and therefore should not be treated as a homogeneous group. Effective career counselors must recognize that clients may identify with one or more cultures and approach each client accordingly. For example, a client may identify as an Asian American man, but also have a white spouse, work in a company with an African American leader, and live in a multi-ethnic middle-class neighborhood. This client may feel a sense of belonging to multiple cultures, some of which may be more prominent to him than others. It's crucial for the counselor to be aware of these multiple cultural identities and how they interact. The client's career goals will reflect his cultural contexts, highlighting which are most important to him.

Culturally responsive counseling necessitates that the counselor possess knowledge and skills specific to certain cultural groups. For example, a counselor working with Hmong clients in the Midwest should have an understanding of the history of Hmong immigration to the United States, the development of their written language, and their cultural norms and values. Similarly, a career counselor working with a transgender client should have knowledge of the unique challenges and workplace concerns associated with transitioning from one sex to another. A counselor working with a woman pursuing a career in a non-traditional occupation for women, such as electrical engineering, should have an understanding of the issues that may affect women in such fields. However, it is also important for counselors to have a broader perspective and be aware of overarching variables that may affect many clients.

Fouad and Kantamneni’s Three Dimensional Model

To effectively understand the complexities and intersections of various aspects of identity and how they influence career and work decisions, a three-dimensional model has been adopted by many career counselors, such as the model proposed by Fouad and Kantamneni (2008) which is illustrated in the following figure. The first dimension includes individual characteristics that play a role in work choices, such as interests, values, and abilities. These characteristics are the traditional areas that career counselors have emphasized, such as what a client is capable of, what a client is interested in, and what choices align with the client's values. Assessing these constructs is crucial, and the assessment of interests, abilities, and values forms the core of many career counseling sessions.

However, the relationship between an individual's interests, abilities, and values, and the choices they consider are shaped by the second and third dimensions of the model. The group-level variables in the second dimension include factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, social class, family variables, religion, sexual orientation, and relationships. Thus, individuals' work choices are influenced not only by their own interests, abilities, and values, but also by the messages they receive about appropriate and possible work based on those group-level dimensions. For example, some individuals may not consider an occupation where the majority of the workforce is the opposite sex. Others may choose work that they perceive to be inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community, while others may choose a career where they feel a spiritual connection.

The third dimension of the model is the broader society in which individuals live. Some individuals may identify with the majority culture in the United States and their cultural values, such as achievement, recognition or helping others, may influence their work choices and decisions. For others, the values in their culture of origin may differ from the majority culture, and these differences can also influence work decisions, including factors such as acculturation, discrimination, and cultural barriers. This third dimension also encompasses the societal effects, including the education system, the labor market, and the economy.

Fig. Fouad and Kantamneni’s Three-Dimensional Model - Source: Fouad and Kantamneni (2008)

Kantamneni and Fouad (2019) have criticized the three-dimensional model, stating that the cube model does not allow for enough examination of factors within a dimension, such as the intersection between gender and social class, or social class and race. They also argued that more factors need to be considered, such as including age as a group-level factor, and adding public policies to the societal dimension. Career counselors should take these critiques into account, particularly when considering the intersections among variables. Research has been conducted on the role of context in work choices and decisions for over three decades, primarily focusing on group-level variables such as gender and race, and societal variables like acculturation and discrimination. Recently, research has been focused on social class, sexual orientation, and religion/spirituality. While discussing selected group-level and societal level variables separately in this chapter, it's important to note that in real life, many aspects of context influence work decisions. An effective counselor will help a client explore the influences on their choices, such as a Native American woman in her 30s who may be influenced by her gender, her age, and her Native American values, which may differ from the majority culture values, and may not know which factors are most important.

The model illustrated in the figure above is a cube, highlighting the interaction among the various dimensions. However, it's important to keep in mind that although interactions among dimensions are assumed, some may be more prominent at certain times than others. The chapter ends with a discussion on the practical implications of the salience of intersecting aspects of identity.

Group-Level Variables

When discussing group-level variables, it's important to acknowledge the tension between treating all group members the same and overemphasizing differences. Hare-Mustin and Marecek (1988) provide a useful distinction between these two perspectives when studying the social construction of gender: one perspective emphasizes the differences between men and women, while the other minimizes those differences. They characterize the former perspective as prone to alpha bias, or the tendency to exaggerate differences, whereas the latter perspective is prone to beta bias, or the tendency to ignore differences. This distinction can be extended to many of the group-level variables discussed in this section.

Alpha bias is the more commonly held view in U.S. society and is the foundation of many psychological theories about gender. These theories propose fundamental differences between genders as constellations of opposing traits or characteristics (such as feminine vs. masculine, instrumental vs. expressive). Beta bias, on the other hand, has received less attention but also exists in many theories of psychological development, particularly in the assumption that psychological development is the same across all races and sexual orientations. Beta bias is present in theories and practices that try to treat men and women, and individuals of all races and sexual orientations, equally, yet may inadvertently perpetuate inequality.

One of the consequences of alpha bias is that observed differences between sexes or races (or other groups) may be misinterpreted as inherent qualities, when they may be a result of differences in the social hierarchy. For example, observed differences in vocational interests between sexes, such as women's interest in social activities, may not be due to an inherent relational nature of women, but rather because social-type careers are often lower prestige occupations that are more accessible to women.

The consequences of beta bias are more subtle in nature and, at first glance, may seem insignificant. However, ignoring the specific needs of women or men, or the impact of racism on the psychological development of racial/ethnic minorities, may also underestimate the differential allocation of resources and power, ultimately disadvantage women, men, or minority group members. Hare-Mustin and Marecek (1988) point out that "in a society in which one group holds most of the power, seemingly neutral actions usually benefit members of that group" (p. 460). In the realm of career and educational attainment, Betz (1989, 2005) discusses the "null environment" in which individuals are neither encouraged nor discouraged but simply ignored. The null environment, according to the originator of the concept (Freeman, 1979), has a greater effect on women because of the cumulative effect of negative messages about their pursuit of career goals. Heppner (2013) suggests that counselors be aware of women's implicit foreclosure of occupations because of gender biases and develop ways to gently challenge those biases. Similarly, it can be argued that similar concerns need to be explored with men who foreclose on traditionally female occupations.


It's widely acknowledged that gender plays an important role throughout an individual's life. Baby clothes and blankets are color-coded (pink for girls, blue for boys), toys are gender-specific (trucks for boys, dolls for girls), and from an early age, boys and girls are expected to demonstrate (or are rewarded for demonstrating) different interests. It's not surprising that these different expectations of behavior for boys and girls would result in different career choices. Until the 1970s, gender socialization practices traditionally expected girls to be helpers and boys to be prepared to be providers for their families.

These different expectations led to separate career paths and decisions, with women either choosing not to work or choosing to stop in and out of the work environment as they took primary responsibility for their families. The effect on men was to significantly restrict their options and their ability to be involved with their families. Although the past five decades have witnessed significant changes in workforce participation by women and greater options for men, traditional socialization patterns and messages continue to exert subtle influences on the work decisions of both men and women.

Many experts have posited that conventional career development theories primarily pertain to White, middle-class males and thus, it is crucial to focus on how career theory and practice can be improved to better serve women. However, it is also essential to recognize that men are also impacted by gender socialization and the gendered context in which they make career decisions. Societal expectations of the traditional male role and the types of occupations deemed appropriate for men can limit men's career options. Nonetheless, the significant societal changes that have occurred for women have also brought about changes for men, including their perception of the role of work in their lives, societal expectations, and the structure of families and personal relationships. It is important to remember that gender socialization is a process that affects both males and females throughout their lives, starting from birth and continuing through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.


Race and ethnicity, much like gender, have a significant impact on career and work-related choices. We have previously observed significant occupational segregation by race and ethnicity, as well as gender, with individuals from certain racial and ethnic groups disproportionately represented in lower socioeconomic status levels and White men disproportionately represented in higher socioeconomic status levels. The strong correlation between socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and occupational level has led to a persistent cycle of poverty and poor education for minority men and women. Discrimination also plays a role in perpetuating this cycle, although overt sexism and racism are now illegal in the United States, covert sexism and racism still exist and often limit the options available to individuals and restrict their access to opportunities. This has a particularly disproportionate effect on racial and ethnic groups, as well as single women and can lead to negative effects on mental health.

Relational and Familial Influences

Traditionally, it has been believed that work choices are made individually. However, recent research and career counseling practices have acknowledged the role that relationships, particularly family, play in career decisions. Studies have shown that positive family relationships can encourage individuals to explore different career paths, while negative relationships can inhibit behaviors that lead to career exploration. The influence of family on career decisions varies by culture and gender and it is crucial for career counselors to consider these factors when working with clients by inquiring about the messages they may have received from their family about work and careers.

Social Class

A significant critique of the field of career development is that it has disproportionately focused on the concerns of middle and upper class individuals, neglecting those of working-class or poor individuals. Social class plays a crucial role in shaping access to resources and influencing career aspirations, development, and ultimate career attainment. Lower income individuals are less likely to have access to enriching learning environments, receive career guidance and information from their parents, and have strong career expectations, resulting in lower career attainment. This highlights the need for career development theories and practices to consider and address the unique challenges and barriers faced by individuals of different social classes in order to promote greater equity and opportunity in career development.

Difference from Mainstream Culture

The United States is a culturally diverse society, with individuals from various backgrounds bringing their own values and perspectives from their culture of origin. These individuals may face conflicting experiences and messages related to the world of work in the larger mainstream American culture. Recent qualitative studies have shown that racial and ethnic minority individuals often have to navigate between two cultures (Gomez et al., 2001, Juntunen et al., 2001). Participants in these studies, who had all achieved successful careers, reported developing a bicultural identity that enabled them to incorporate values from both cultures in making work-related decisions. This highlights the importance of considering the unique experiences and perspectives of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds in career development theories and practices.

Navigating between two cultures is influenced by two factors. The first of these is acculturation, which refers to the process by which individuals change, accommodate, or adopt the cultural patterns of the "host" society (Kohatsu, 2005). Acculturation can take different forms: Some individuals fully adopt the culture of the United States, others are able to maintain their culture of origin while also adapting to certain aspects of American culture, and still others struggle to acculturate to the United States. It is clear that the process of acculturation can have a significant impact on an individual's perception of and access to work opportunities in the United States.

Despite the barriers that individuals may face, many are still able to achieve success. As mentioned earlier, qualitative studies have shown that participants have identified sources of resilience in the face of barriers, such as support from their families, a strong sense of identity, and a passion for their work. Bicultural individuals have also been found to be satisfied and have a strong sense of well-being, which highlights the strengths and resilience that come with navigating two cultures (Quintana, Chew, & Schell, 2012). Thus, career counselors are encouraged to explore and help clients identify sources of cultural strengths in their clients, which can aid in their career development and success.

Influences from Mainstream Culture

Individuals in the United States operate within a society that transmits central assumptions about work in general. For example, U.S. assumptions include “Everyone should work; Mothers should not work; All work is good; Some work is better than others; Working with one’s hands is good; Working with one’s mind is better than working with one’s hands; Education ought to result in better work; Education ought to result in better pay.” These societal assumptions shape expectations about work and influence perceptions of when to work, how much to work, and which work to do.

The larger societal beliefs also shape policies around individual achievement, educational opportunities for all, and limited unemployment and family leave benefits. Educational policies and funding for schooling also shape eventual career and work opportunities. For example, concerns about the science and math abilities of U.S. students relative to many other countries have led to additional funding for science, technology, engineering, and math education. The recession of 2008 and increasing globalization also have an impact on how individuals make work-related choices and decisions.

Culturally Appropriate Career Counseling Model

We previously emphasized the importance of incorporating clients' context into career counseling. One way to achieve this is through the use of the Culturally Appropriate Career Counseling Model (CACCM), which explicitly assesses the impact of cultural variables in each step of career counseling. This model, an extension of models proposed by Ward and Bingham (1993; Bingham & Ward, 1994), helps career counselors to integrate cultural considerations throughout the counseling process. The CACCM is a useful tool for career counselors to ensure that their clients' cultural backgrounds are taken into account and that the counseling provided is culturally appropriate and responsive.

Fig. Culturally Appropriate Career Counseling Model - Source: Fouad & Bingham (1995).

Career construction Theory and Life Designing Paradigm.

In recent years, there have been significant changes in the world of work and as a result, new theoretical approaches are emerging in the field of vocational psychology to better understand career and work behavior (Fouad, 2007; Juntunen & Even, 2012; Pope, 2015). Career development theories have moved away from a sole focus on the individual and now recognize the importance of contextual factors. This new perspective is best described as a "person-in-complex-social-and-economic-systems" focus (Blustein et al., in press; Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016; Swanson, 2013). These newer approaches have several key features such as: valuing both work and relationship equally, viewing work in a broader context of relational aspects, expanding the consideration of the experience of work beyond that of career, and building on postmodern perspectives of work.

These newer and emerging theories have been described as paradigm-shifting (Richardson, 2012), as they represent a significant departure from previous views and open up new perspectives on understanding behavior and events that were previously not considered valid. These perspectives mark a significant departure from foundational theories, yet there are also clear continuities with earlier theories. For example, Frank Parsons (1909/1989), who is credited with establishing the field of vocational guidance, published his seminal work in response to social change at the beginning of the 20th century, and the contemporary perspectives may also be characterized by their responsiveness to social change (Juntunen & Even, 2012).

Applying Career Construction/Life Designing

Career construction theory focuses on the subjective elements of Leslie’s career history and present situation, through the process of self-construction, as well as her level of career adaptability.

Conceptualizing Leslie’s Career History

As a child and adolescent, Leslie began to form an image of herself as a teacher and helper, internalizing the message from her parents about the importance of achievement, but not developing a clear understanding of how that achievement would be manifested through occupational roles. In terms of the four dimensions of career adaptability, as an adolescent and young adult, Leslie appeared to have an appropriate level of concern about her career, including the importance of making plans for the future.

However, it is mentioned that she did not develop a strong sense of how that achievement would be expressed in the world through occupational roles. It could be beneficial for her to further explore and clarify her career aspirations and goals, and to consider how they align with her values, skills, and interests.

Regarding the second dimension of control, Leslie at times seemed to give control to others, such as her family and boyfriend, which may have led to her indecision about career choices. Messages from her family may have increased her indecision, since they encouraged the lessened centrality of the occupational role in her life. Leslie’s decisions about career were frequently made with clear reference to her current relationships and informed by the expectations conveyed by her parents about the relative roles of work and family. Her initial decision to become a high school teacher was an effort to combine work and family.

Despite not fully mastering control, she did demonstrate curiosity about her career alternatives, as she developed interests and skills in mathematics. Finally, she demonstrated fluctuating levels of confidence, the fourth dimension, resulting in times when she felt uncertain about how to move forward and unsure of her abilities. It could be beneficial for her to seek support, such as career counseling, to help her develop a more comprehensive understanding of her career aspirations, values, and goals, and to build her confidence in her abilities.

Conceptualizing Leslie’s Present Situation

In terms of career construction theory, Leslie is currently re-evaluating her occupational story by re-assessing her previous choices and considering whether to continue or change direction. Revisiting the four dimensions of career adaptability, Leslie's decision to pursue career counseling demonstrates her concern about planning for the future and taking control of her future. Combining work and family is a priority for her, given her expressed desire to have a child. Her relationship with Joe is also central to her current career issues, in terms of his reactions to her career concerns. Leslie also seems to have a fair amount of curiosity and confidence about her options. It will be important for her to explore and identify her values, interests, and skills, and how they align with her career aspirations and goals. A career counselor can help her to make a well-informed decision that is fulfilling and satisfying.

Directions and Implications for Career Counseling

Goals of Counseling

The paradigm of life designing is not meant to replace earlier paradigms in terms of the goals and purpose of career counseling. Instead, counselors should use different paradigmatic approaches as directed by a client's needs (Savickas, 2015). In life designing, counselors "must help clients find a way to deal with what they feel they must" (Savickas, 2011, p. 49). The counselor begins with the question "How can I be useful to you as you construct your career?" (p. 49), and uses the answer to this question to structure the initial intervention. This approach emphasizes the importance of client-centered counseling, where the counselor helps the client to identify their goals, values and aspirations, and then provides guidance and support to help the client achieve their desired outcome. Life designing approach is dynamic and flexible, and it allows counselors to adapt their strategies and techniques to the specific needs and circumstances of each individual client.


The life-designing paradigm for career counseling is described by Savickas (2015) as consisting of three phases: (a) constructing career through small stories, (b) reconstructing these "micro narratives into a macro narrative or life portrait" (p. 138), and (c) co-constructing a client's intentions that lead to the next action. He compares these three phases to a three-act drama, in which the first act introduces the character, the second act presents the core conflict and ends with an understanding that leads to a moment of truth, and the third act reveals changes prompted by the new understanding (Savickas, 2018). In the first phase, the counselor helps the client to identify their values, skills and interests and how they align with their aspirations and goals. In the second phase, the counselor helps the client to connect the dots between their experiences and values, and how they shape their life story. Finally, in the third phase, the counselor helps the client to identify the next steps to take and the actions needed to achieve their goals. Overall, life-designing paradigm emphasizes the importance of understanding the client's personal story, values and goals, and how they shape their career decisions.


Clients may seek career counseling when their current career narrative is disrupted or no longer provides meaning. The initial question ("How can I be useful as you construct your career?") leads to the five-question Career Construction Interview, in which the counselor encourages the client to tell small stories (micro narratives) about how he or she has "made a self, shaped an identity, and constructed a career" (Savickas, 2015, p. 138). These stories are important for identifying themes in a client's career story. Savickas (2018) recommends preparing the client for this interview by explaining that the questions help to tell the client's career story.

The Career Construction Interview is designed to help the client to explore and reflect on their past experiences and how they have shaped their identity, values, and goals. It also helps the client to gain a deeper understanding of their current career story and the changes they may need to make to achieve their career aspirations and goals. The stories shared in the interview can be used to identify themes and patterns in the client's career history, which can be used to inform and guide the career counseling process.

  1. Translate Values into Hard and Soft Skills.

To secure a job in cybersecurity, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the field and possess the necessary skills. A strong foundation in computer science and technology is essential, as well as knowledge of programming languages such as Python and C++. Understanding of network security, cryptography and penetration testing are also highly valued. Additionally, certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) can demonstrate expertise and credibility to potential employers.

Moreover, a solid understanding of compliance and regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and SOC 2, is critical. Familiarity with security frameworks like NIST, ISO 27001 and COBIT can also set you apart from the competition. Finally, having practical experience in the field through internships, networking and participating in cybersecurity competitions can give you an edge in the job market.

In summary, to excel in cybersecurity, you need to have a strong foundation in computer science and technology, possess the necessary technical skills, be familiar with industry standards and have practical experience. With the right skills and experience, you will be well equipped to take advantage of the rising demand for cybersecurity experts and secure a well-paying job in the field.

Every employer strives to hire cybersecurity professionals with a handful of soft and hard skills, including:

Soft Skills

Strong Research and Writing Skills

Possessing strong research and writing skills are critical for cybersecurity professionals as they are essential for policy creation and enforcement, incident response and risk management, and effective communication with stakeholders. These skills, combined with technical expertise and practical experience, are vital for success in the field of cybersecurity.


One of the most important skills that a cyber security effective communication is a vital skill for cyber security experts. It enables them to clearly explain complex technical concepts, build relationships and trust, and effectively respond to security incidents.


Working in cybersecurity predominantly requires having a passion for learning is a must-have trait for cybersecurity professionals. It enables them to stay current with the latest threats and technologies, and to develop new skills and knowledge that will help them to be more effective in their roles.


Networking and communication skills are critical tools for cybersecurity professionals. They allow them to connect with others in the industry, build relationships, and collaborate to improve the organization's performance. Additionally, strong communication skills are essential for effectively expressing complex concepts and ideas, and for building trust with others in the organization.

Hard Skills

Technical Know-how

This entails understanding the fine print, how and why various components work together. This includes:

  • Understanding the management and architecture of operating systems, networking and visualization software.

  • Designing and evaluating network architecture.

  • Proficiency in scripting languages and multiple programming.

  • Understanding how components work

  • Knowledge of implementation of cloud computing

  • Ability to write custom scripts providing a wide range of security alerts

  • Antivirus and antimalware knowledge

Problem Solving

As an information security expert, Familiarity with common security protocols and technologies such as firewalls, VPNs, and encryption Experience with security incident response and incident management Ability to analyze and interpret security-related data, including network and system logs Knowledge of threat intelligence and threat hunting methodologies. Having strong analytical skills and the ability to think strategically will allow you to evaluate potential threats and implement effective solutions to protect your organization from cyber attacks.

Identify a Career that Fits your Values.

(Deeper Dive: How to Assess Your Career Values - thebalancemoney )

Some common career values include:

  • Autonomy and independence

  • Challenge and growth opportunities

  • Competitive salary and benefits

  • Flexibility and work-life balance

  • Helping others and making a positive impact

  • Opportunities for leadership and management

  • Prestige and status

  • Security and stability

  • Working with a team and collaboration

  • It's important to note that values can change over time, so it's essential to regularly reassess your values and ensure that your current or desired job aligns with them.

  • Career counseling can also help you identify and evaluate your values and how they fit into your career choices.

What Do You Want From a Job?

It's important to note that career values can change over time and may differ depending on different life stages and circumstances. It's also important to consider that not all jobs will align perfectly with all of your career values. However, having a clear understanding of your values can help you make more informed decisions and increase job satisfaction in the long run.

Career Satisfaction

It is important to note that career values can change over time as well. An individual may place a high value on flexibility and autonomy early in their career, but as they progress and take on more responsibilities, they may place a higher value on stability and security. It is important to regularly reassess and reflect on one's career values to ensure that they align with current goals and priorities. Additionally, understanding and being aware of one's career values can also help in negotiation and decision making in the workplace.

Identifying Your Values

This can help you to prioritize your values and make it easier to evaluate different job and career options based on how well they align with your values. It's important to note that your values may change over time and it's always a good idea to revisit your values periodically to make sure they are still in line with your current goals and priorities. It's also important to keep in mind that you may have to compromise on some values in order to achieve others. It's important to find a balance and make sure that the most important values are being met in your career choice.

you may choose to rank the terms using:

  • Must have

  • Nice to have

  • OK not to have

  • Must not have

Career Counseling in Postmodern Times: Emergence and Narrative and Conception

“I define postmodern as incredulity toward meta-narratives.”

—J. F. Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge

For several decades, social, economic, and political forces have aligned to make work more unstable in Western societies, including in the United States. Shaped by a global economy and propelled by information technology, the new social arrangement has been characterized by uncertain and precarious employment opportunities (Kalleberg, 2009). This restructuring has diminished the standardized job, changed the relationship between worker and employer, and posed a threat to personal meaningfulness. As society moves from high modernity to postmodern times, existing career theories do not adequately account for today's unpredictable and rapidly changing occupational structure (Savickas, 2011a). Established paths and narratives that once guided many people's career progression have eroded. New demands require individuals to repeatedly revise their identities, accept more responsibility for managing their own lives, and invest in their families and communities for stability. Client questions such as “How do I fit in?” or “How do I advance my career?” have transformed into concerns such as “Who am I?” or “Where can I find purpose?” Postmodern career counseling emphasizes the importance of meaningful work and of holding oneself together while developing a career (Savickas, 2011b). Counselors now ask themselves an implicit question: How do we counsel clients when security and stability in the workplace are no longer guaranteed?

In this chapter postmodern career counseling approach acknowledges the societal and organizational narratives that shape people's understanding of work, and how it has changed in the postmodern era. It also recognizes that the traditional psychological contract between worker and employer has been disrupted and how this affects people's identities. This approach proposes a new metanarrative for postmodern society, and takes into account the cultural diversity of individuals. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the context and culture in which a person is making career decisions, and using narrative career counseling to help individuals construct their own career story.

Postmodern Career Assessments: Advantages & Considerations

( Recommend reading: Postmodern Career Counseling: A Handbook of Culture, Context, and Cases )

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—Maya Angelou

Postmodern career counseling is an approach that emphasizes the importance of understanding the individual's personal narrative and context in the process of career development. It acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to career counseling and that individuals have unique experiences and perspectives that shape their career choices.

Qualitative career assessments are an important tool for postmodern career counselors. They allow for a deeper understanding of the individual's personal narrative, values, and experiences. Some examples of qualitative career assessments include:

  • Unstructured interviews: These are open-ended conversations between the counselor and the individual that allow for a more in-depth exploration of the individual's experiences, values, and goals.

  • Journaling: This is a tool that encourages the individual to reflect on their experiences and thoughts related to their career.

  • Projective techniques: These are tools that allow the individual to express their thoughts and feelings in a creative way, such as through drawing, storytelling, or role-playing.

While qualitative career assessments can provide valuable insights, they also come with some challenges. Some of these include:

  • Bias: The counselor's own biases and perspectives can influence how they interpret and understand the individual's narrative.

  • Time-consuming: Qualitative assessments can be more time-consuming than quantitative assessments.

  • Limited generalizability: The insights gained from qualitative assessments may not be generalizable to the larger population.

Overall, postmodern career counseling and qualitative career assessments offer a unique perspective on career development that emphasizes the importance of understanding the individual's personal narrative and context. While these approaches come with some challenges, they can provide valuable insights that can help individuals make informed career decisions.

Advantages of Qualitative Career Assessments

Additionally, qualitative career assessments place an emphasis on the counseling relationship and the process of meaning-making, rather than viewing career assessment as a service delivery. This approach encourages active engagement and collaboration between the counselor and client, and allows for flexibility and adaptability when working with clients from diverse backgrounds. It also considers the socio-political and economic context in which the client is operating, making it more oriented towards social justice and accessible to a wider range of clients. Overall, qualitative career assessments offer a holistic and inclusive approach to career counseling that is well-suited for the diverse and ever-changing nature of today's work environment.

McMahon and Patton (2006) pointed to the earlier work of Goldman (1990, 1992) in describing additional advantages of qualitative assessment:

  • Encourages the client to be engaged and actively involved in collecting information and discerning meaning Is more holistic and systemic Contextualizes learning about oneself within a developmental framework

  • Encourages a collaborative relationship between counselor and client

  • Is suitable for groups focused on learning and growth Is flexible and adaptable when used with clients from diverse backgrounds

  • Qualitative career assessments provide a more in-depth and holistic understanding of the individual, and they allow clients to be more actively engaged in the assessment process. They also encourage a collaborative relationship between the counselor and client, and they are suitable for working with diverse populations. Additionally, qualitative assessments are flexible and adaptable, making them well-suited for a wide range of clients and situations.

According to Savickas (1992), qualitative career assessment places a significant emphasis on the counseling relationship rather than viewing it as simply a service provided. Busacca (2007) highlights the importance of engagement and collaboration between the counselor and client in the career construction approach, which necessitates different roles for both parties. This approach stresses the counseling process, where meaning is gradually discovered rather than presented at the end of the assessment. As with other forms of qualitative counseling, the client's role becomes more active and the counselor's role shifts from that of an expert to that of an inquisitive and open-minded inquirer.

The adaptability and flexibility of qualitative career assessments allow for the examination of socio-political and economic factors. Maree (2013) pointed out that with the ever-changing global economy, there is a growing use of constructivist methods in career assessments to meet the specific needs of 21st-century career counseling clients. While career information and occupational outlook data are beginning to take globalization into account, traditional quantitative career assessments such as interest inventories do not account for these factors in their results.

Access to career resources and services is an important aspect of social justice (Sampson, Dozier, & Colvin, 2011; Sampson, McClain, Musch, & Reardon, 2011), and this applies to access to career assessments as well (Sampson, 2009). Qualitative career assessments have a more socially just orientation in several ways. Firstly, many qualitative career assessments are freely available, which eliminates the cost barrier that commercially offered quantitative career assessments present for clients. Secondly, as alternative models for staffing and delivery of career services are being explored (Sampson, 2009), some qualitative career assessments offer self-guided activities that can be completed before or after career counseling sessions. Additionally, the integration of counseling for social justice and advocacy competencies can be included in career counseling processes (Butler, 2012; Pope & Pangelinan, 2010) as well as the promotion of prosocial values (Dik, Duffy, & Steger, 2012) and the inclusion of advocacy competencies in career development programs (Gysbers, Lapan, & Cato, 2013).

Do What Contributes to the world.

(Deeper Dive: 80,000 Hours: Find a fulfilling career that does good.: Todd, Benjamin J: 9781537324005)

Instead of subscribing to the popular phrase "follow your passion," our approach to a fulfilling career centers around becoming proficient in a skill that positively impacts others. We put emphasis on "getting good" because when you excel in something that others find valuable, you will have a plethora of career opportunities. This increases your chances of finding a job that offers engaging work, supportive colleagues, minimal downsides, and compatibility with the rest of your life. Even if you possess all other factors, work can still feel purposeless without the added component of helping others.

By prioritizing making a meaningful contribution to the world, you will develop a genuine passion for your work, leading to increased satisfaction, ambition, and motivation. Our career advice has already assisted over 1,000 individuals in making significant changes to their career path. Many have transitioned into fields that did not initially spark their interest but they believed were crucial for the world. By honing their skills, finding the right team and role, they have found immense fulfillment. Here are two additional reasons to focus on becoming proficient in a skill that benefits others.

You’ll be more Successful

When you prioritize assisting others, you attract individuals who want to see you succeed. This may seem self-evident, but research supports this principle. In his book "Give and Take," Professor Adam Grant states that individuals with a "giving mentality" often attain the most success. This is due to the fact that they receive more assistance and are more motivated by a sense of purpose. However, it's important to note that those who give too much may also become unsuccessful if they become too focused on others, leading to burnout. Therefore, it's crucial to have the other elements of job satisfaction, such as engaging work, good colleagues, lack of major negatives, and fit with the rest of life.

It’s the right thing to do

The idea that helping others is the key to being fulfilled is hardly a new one. It’s a theme from most major moral and spiritual traditions:

A man’s true wealth is the good he does in this world.Muhammad

Love your neighbor as you love yourself.Jesus Christ

Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again and you will be filled with joy. – Buddha

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Furthermore, as will be detailed in the next section, as a college graduate in a developed country today, you have a significant opportunity to make a difference through your career. The true motivation for focusing on helping others should be the impact it can have on the world, rather than just the personal satisfaction it brings.

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