“New models for old!”
Since the ‘refocusing’ agenda for career guidance in England from the late 1990s...
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12 May 2010
Since the ‘refocusing’ agenda for career guidance in England from the late 1990s onwards, there have been many examples of attempts to introduce ‘new’ models into the work of career guidance. Not just England of course, as across the UK inclusion has shifted the emphasis of careers work. So we have read about multicultural approaches, solution focussed work, motivational interviewing, neurolinguistic programming (the name alone would put most of us off!), systems approaches, narrative and so on... And yet what evidence is there that these approaches are used in practice? An ongoing longitudinal study by Jenny Bimrose and colleagues at IER, Warwick, indicates that the trait/factor, ‘scientific’, matching approach to guidance dominates practice ‘irrespective of the context for guidance’.
Is this right? Do you agree?
So, if it is the case that when observed in practice trait/factor dominates – is this because it is ‘tried and tested’ or because it is difficult to find the time to learn about new models? That of course is an either/or question, so...
What do you think? What happens in practice?
In a recent study involving eight career guidance practitioners who were using the narrative career counselling model of Savickas, four withdrew from the study at the point of providing recordings and reflections on using the approach with clients. The main reasons given for withdrawing centred on time pressures and work overload. But comments from those who did go on to use the approach, suggest that learning a new approach can make you feel insecure, ‘like a student again’ – meaning more time has to be given to thinking about what you are doing in a 1-1 interview, rather than being comfortable in your usual approach.
What’s your response to that?
Of course, reading about ‘new’ approaches can be entertaining but theoretical writing leaves most of us saying, ‘Fascinating, now tell me how to do it!’ Beyond that, we need to practise in order to understand.
What opportunities do you have to do this? What would work for you?
And, I know that time is always the issue but if our ‘clients’ remain at the centre of our practice – shouldn’t this time be invested? Trait/factor can work, but does it work for all clients? How much more effective could we be if we could embrace new ways of working?
Do you agree? Or have I got this wrong?
Hazel Reid, 04.05.10
The Savickas Narrative Career Counselling Model
(our adaptation, Centre for Career & Personal Development: Reid, 2009)
Beginnings – negotiating a contract.
Middles - exploring the story.
The task is to create a space where the person can ‘play’ with ideas: to move beyond their expectations of what ‘an interview’ should be.
This can be both surprising and challenging for the individual, and the practitioner will need to be persistent and not ‘give up’ too quickly. As always, genuineness and honesty are important; e.g. ‘The reason I asked that question is …’ or ‘What I’d like to try here is… it may help us to think about... how would you feel about trying that?’. It is at this second ‘stage’ that Savickas’ six favourite questions are used:
The exploration continues by visiting stories from childhood. Savickas suggests the stories selected reflect the current dilemma that brings a person to career counselling at this ‘turning point’ – it reflects their pre-occupations in both senses of the word (Savickas, 2005, 2006); past in present and present in the past. These are the telling stories, meaningful (rather than factual) at the present time. The stories rehearse the problem and can lead to insight and potential solutions. Questions focus on:
Endings - Having identified the goals, there is agreement on what action is required:
This is the whole model – but you do not have to do all of this! Sometimes the questions alone can open up a new way of thinking for both you and your client. The stories are particularly useful when greater depth is required or when your ‘usual’ model is not helping the client to ‘see’ further. A follow up contact (may not be ‘face-to-face’) can evaluate the goals and action and what needs to happen next.
14:50 on 12 May 2010