Examining the place of a psychosocial approach in the use of narrative career counselling with young people.

Reid, H. (2014) Examining the place of a psychosocial approach in the use of narrative career counselling with young people. In: 28th International Congresss of Applied Psychology, 8th -13th July 2014, Paris.

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Official URL: http://www.icap2014.com/


The career guidance that is offered to young people in the UK derives from 20th century theory and practice (Bimrose, 2008) and rarely draws on more interpretative or constructivist approaches that might be better classified as ‘career counselling’. This may in part be why practitioners in the UK do not refer to themselves as career counsellors, alongside a worry about crossing boundaries into what is perceived as therapy. The Savickas narrative career counselling model (2011) was adopted and adapted in a research project with practitioners in England working with young people. What evolved was a deeply interpersonal process, not information giving, advice or job preparation, and took place in what the researchers described elsewhere as a transitional space for self-negotiation (Reid & West, 2011, a/b), drawing on the work of Winnicott (1971). Put another way, this is not about career planning, which might suggest a stable employment market, but about working alongside the young person to identify meaningful career projects, within a wider structural context that does not lose sight of potential agency. However, in the implementation and the analysis, the researchers were also sensitive to the charge that such a perspective can risk creating the allusion of overly individualistic solutions to the crises of contemporary capitalism: many problems, especially in marginalised communities, are more structural – such as the distribution of opportunities – which require collective forms of action to ameliorate. Markets alone, contrary to the pervasive tenets of neo-liberalism, cannot provide the answers (Hutton, 2012). What is required, it is suggested, are methods that take account of social, economic, cultural and historical contexts: in short an approach that is psychosocial.

Creativity in meeting the requirements of young people - whose guidance needs transcend information and advice in a ‘Western’ world of economic uncertainty - are unlikely to be met via reductionist career counselling models. Career counselling models that draw on constructivist, narrative but also reflexive approaches may prove more meaningful in situations where clients do not respond well to Western ‘scientific’ / matching or developmental models. This will be explored in the presentation, drawing on case study material from the research.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0980 Types of education > LC1037 Career education
Divisions: Faculty of Education > Centre for Career and Personal Development
Depositing User: James Stevenson
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2015 16:56
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2015 17:17
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13023

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00