The other day I heard someone say that our paradigm of career counselling is still “two people in a room face-to-face”. Whether they are correct or not about the paradigm I couldn’t venture to say. They were clear they felt that paradigm needed to shift. One shift that has been developing over the past several years is offering career counselling online.
I have been doing career counselling online for the past six years. Yes, essentially it is still “two people in a room…” though there are subtle and significant differences. More on that when I talk about the research in this area next blog post.
What issues have I dealt with online? My work has encompassed those seeking their first job or first steps in schooling, those seeking career changes as well as those entering retirement. All of the issues and clientele I would see in my face-to-face practice. I have used both asynchronous text and video.
Here’s two of my favourite online career counselling experiences in the past year.
I suggested that a client write a “Dear John” breakup letter to the career they were considering leaving. The response was both amusing and profoundly revealing. What they wanted to keep and what they wanted to leave behind
The second favourite experience was a combination of ideas from Norm Amundson and coach Jen Louden. Here’s what I said to my client. “One very important, but often overlooked viewpoint, during times of career self-assessment is that of significant others – those who play or have played a significant role in your life. They have seen your life and can often tell you things about yourself that you haven’t realized, things which could be helpful. You could choose to ask someone to write out their answers to questions for you, have a conversation or simply list some of the career advice/ideas you have been given by others in the past and the key insights they have given you.”
Then I provided a list of questions they could ask significant others (e.g. What would you say I am good at? What I don’t see about my strengths includes…)
When the client shared with me some of the responses they received I learned a whole lot more about my client than I could have any other way. It was a rich experience and opened up other avenues for career and personal exploration.
There is a plethora of research supporting the idea that the whole range of career services can be effectively offered in an online format and we will talk more about that next time.
Dawn Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA