Tag Archives: career

Nonconformity in Choosing Counselling as a Career

Posted by: Jeff Landine and John Stewart on January 9, 2020 2:02 pm

Typically blogs about career counselling address issues that relate to the delivery of career counselling, for example, the impact of Artificial Intelligence on future jobs and the need to prepare clients for that eventuality.  For the next few entries, however, we are going to shift our attention to the diverse perceptions that exist on the counselling profession and consider motivations to engage in counselling as a career.

We have, combined, over 50 years’ experience working as counsellor educators at the university level and have both been involved, throughout our careers, with national, provincial and local associations whose mandates are to further the profession of counselling. In these roles we have seen countless students through the process of preparation for a career in counselling and have first-hand experience in the processes of legitimizing these students’ positions as professionals by working with certification and licensing boards and committees.

Despite the recent increase in credentialing and professionalization of the counselling role, one constant we have seen is the frequent consideration by these students of their counselling education as preparation for a professional role somewhere down the road. On more than one occasion, I have heard counsellors-in-training refer to their intentions to have this graduate degree in their “back pocket” for use later in life, either when they no longer want to continue with their present work or as a transition into retirement and as a pension supplement. This approach to counselling as a career is surprising, as we don’t see the same approach employed in other professions. Nobody we know gets their Red Seal as a plumber so that they can open a side business in retirement. We don’t know of any B.Ed. graduates who choose not to teach after graduating, deciding instead to wait until later in their career to join the ranks of school teachers. This phenomenon begs the questions, “Why does counselling, more so than other professions, lend itself to be a career of convenience/second thought?” While people might pursue a law degree, for example, without the intention of practicing as a lawyer, the dynamic we are questioning is whether interest in the subject (in this case counselling) will be used as a support in the work being done or not. John completed a vocational Master of Theological Studies degree out of interest (during the latter parts of his career as a professor), with no intention to be employed as a pastor. Unlike these examples, counselling students appear to be intentional in using the counselling preparation they receive for employment purposes later in their career or after having retired from another job.

The history of counselling as a formal profession starts with the emergence of vocational counselling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Shepard & Mani, 2014).  The advent of large cities, built around manufacturing and industrialization, created the need for vocational guidance; however, the influx of people to these urban centers resulted in increases in unemployment, poverty, poor working and living conditions and crime. Corresponding to the increase in social problems, support systems typically declined as people moved away from their families and home communities. The development of counselling as a profession in Canada over the ensuing century was largely driven by a vocational focus but the resulting profession has adapted itself to the connection between career and personal difficulties and the increasing need for mental health support. Counselling and psychotherapy now make use of psychological theory and concepts and counsellors today are much better prepared to work with psychopathology in their clients.

In the next few blog entries we will explore the nature of Counselling education, credentialing and employment in an effort to decipher the motivations and career planning that have, in many instances, relegated counselling to a “sideline” or back-up profession.

Shepard, B., & Mani, P. (2014). Career development practice in Canada. Toronto, ON: CERIC Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Inspiring Motivation For Career Growth/Change

Posted by: Jamie Dovedoff on August 23, 2016 11:22 am

ChangeisprocessIf you ask someone if they like their job, truthfully of untruthfully the majority of the time they are going to say they love or like their position. But just how often are we actually being truthful? Where my parents have stayed in the same career their entire work lives, I have changed careers and jobs frequently throughout my relatively short time in my work because I was bored and needed something new to inspire me. However, I know many people (professionally and personally) who have stayed so long in an occupation they despise, that they have lost touch with what they are motivated to spend 40 hours/week and 52 weeks/year doing. They go to work for the paycheck and hate every minute of it!

I participated in a workshop with Mr. Michael Kerr in June 2016 on creating inspiring workplaces/cultures and he addressed the topic of the “Six Powerful P’s of Motivation and Engagement”. Though his lecture was on workplaces, these concepts are also applicable to the individual and may be particularly important to our clients (or even ourselves) who are so dissatisfied with their career that this dissatisfaction has crept into their personal lives, perhaps even in the form of mental illness.

1) Passion: The destination. If they could have any position, what would it be? Finding passion may take some real digging and involves exploring core belief systems to determine what it is that your client is truly driven by, what do they ultimately want in a job?

2) Purpose:  If passion is the destination, purpose is the journey toward that destination. The purpose is building the pathway towards their passion. The tasks they complete and the challenges they maneuver to “follow the yellow brick road” to their purpose.

3) Progress: Achievement. This concept involves creating measurable short term goals so that they can acknowledge the actions they have taken toward reaching their passion. Acknowledging their achievements, creates motivation to continue on the purpose/journey toward the purpose/destination.

4) Pride: The engine. Pride is an intrinsic motivator which fuels the journey and keeps your client’s moving along their path towards their purpose.

5) Play: This adventure should be fun!!!Any change throws the equilibrium off balance which is not always fun and can be downright stressful. However, when your client is working towards their passion, they should be enjoying the path to get there. If they aren’t, perhaps they haven’t dug deep enough into their core beliefs to find their true driving force.

6) Personal: To cultivate daily motivation to make changes in their life, the journey should be theirs and theirs alone. Not a journey they “should” take but one they have chosen to take. If they “own” the journey, their motivation will continue despite being met with challenges/obstacles along the way.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Hot careers in welding & fintech

Posted by: Mark Franklin on February 25, 2016 9:15 am

metalHow does a so-so summer job lead to a 10-year cool career in fintech*? Learn how from Jameel Somji’s Career Buzz interview (Feb.3,2016). Jameel’s story illustrates the lucrative and in-demand world of *Financial Technology.

“I adore metal – and I want to go bigger with it!” said Meredith Kucey on Career Buzz. Hear how Meredith’s jewellery-making career expanded when she studied the art and science of welding. Meredith shares insights about the lucrative and in-demand world of welding careers.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA


Posted by: Trudi Wyatt on January 18, 2016 1:29 pm

Increasingly in my practice in Toronto’s Financial District, some of my “baby boomer” clients, roughly defined as individuals aged 51 to 69 years old (1), are noticing and wondering about the possible differences between them and “millennials,” roughly defined as individuals aged 18 to 34 years old (2). For example, do millennials and baby boomers have different perspectives on taking time off work for mental health, and/or on working overtime.

Coincidentally, I have also recently noticed 2 magazine articles related to these questions, so I have created this blog post to explore them a little further.

The first, Millennials at Work (2), suggests that in addition to money, millennials also assign high importance to workplace flexibility, being coached/mentored, and autonomy, as well as to collaboration with rather than competition between colleagues.

The second, Healthy Minds (3), cites an increased demand for mental health services at the University of Toronto (U of T), such as a tripling of mental health presenting as a disability at Accessibility Services, as well as a general increased rate of mental illness among university-aged individuals. Healthy Minds focuses on an October 2015 U of T report that included a list of recommendations to address mental health on campus, and that generally encouraged the whole university community to embrace support of students’ mental health needs. Among the recommendation themes were calls to:

  • Promote prevention/resilience by promoting sleep, nutrition, exercise, social life, and strengths.
  • Promote peer support.
  • Locate counsellors right in day-to-day environments, so as to improve accessibility and confidentiality.
  • Provide quick access to a psychiatrist if needed.
  • Tap into community resources outside of the university, though the article points out that “’We do offer health services, but we do not see ourselves as health-care providers… We are an educational institution… We can’t do it all ourselves.”

In conclusion, perhaps the answer is yes, that millennials are different–that they are for example more aware of their mental health and resilience needs than previous generations. If so, then hopefully this translates into a healthier and happier future!!


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers (accessed 10Jan2016)
  2. http://www.financereference.com/learn/baby-boomer  (accessible link)
  3. Millennials at Work (https://www.cultureamp.com/zine/010-millennials.html), in CareerWise 22Dec2015 (https://contactpoint.ca/careerwisesecure/2015/12/employability-vs-employment-millenials-at-work-employment-challenges-for-syrian-refugees/) cited in CERIC (Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling) email 22Dec2015.
  4. U of T Magazine, Winter 2016, pp.26-31, Healthy Minds: As U of T responds to a rise in mental health needs on campus, a powerful source of help emerges: students themselves. By Cynthia Macdonald.

Trudi Wyatt, MA, RP, CCC is a Registered Psychotherapist and Canadian Certified Counsellor in Private Practice in downtown Toronto. She has been practising for almost 7 years and currently works with individual adults on a variety of life challenges such as depression, anxiety, anger, trauma issues, and career choices.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Payment Options for Counsellors

Posted by: Shelley Skelton on August 26, 2015 3:30 pm


How do you plan to receive payment from your clients? Are you collecting payment yourself or will there be a receptionist doing that for you? Do you have third party payment? Will you be mobile or in one location? Will any of your counselling be online? All of these answers will help determine which option is best for you. I will share what I have learned about payment options and how I made my decisions. Two very useful online articles are listed at the bottom. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Mountains, Leaves, and the Breeze of Change

Posted by: Mark Franklin on May 27, 2015 1:16 pm

Career Buzz Podcast: Are you a mountain or a leaf?

Lodro“We often get lost in our head when we’re trying to change things in our lives and communities,” Lodro Rinzler told Career Buzz listeners (April 26, 2015). Author of The Buddha Walks into the Office, Lodro spoke about the importance of meditation to help you “come home to who you are, your true self and innate wisdom.”

“When the breeze of change or uncertainty or fear hits a mountain, it deflects off the mountain,” Lodro said, referring to the “weightiness” of our innate wisdom. On the other hand, those of us “not confident in our innate wisdom, we’re more like a leaf in the wind. We get carried wherever the winds of change take us.”

How the clues apply to you: Be who you want to be. Let Lodro guide you in this brief mandala exercise.

Listen and learn from the whole interview, also featuring Mike Fenton on where a degree in sports marketing and commerce can take you.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Five Ways to Listen and Learn When You Hear a Career Story

Posted by: Mark Franklin on May 8, 2015 8:10 am

Set of speech and thought bubbles, element for design, vector illustrationYou can gain so much by hearing other people’s career stories, but you have to listen carefully and in special ways. After interviewing over 300 guests on Career Buzz, and hearing thousands more stories in our CareerCycles practice, I’d like to share these five ways to listen and learn, next time you hear a career story — like on Career Buzz this Wednesday 11 to noon, or by listening to our amazing archive of career stories.

1. Listen for clues and inspired actions. It’s not one thing after another, it’s one thing because of another. Listen for clues that people followed which led them to take action. Clues can be external like a conversation with a friend, or internal, like a thought or feeling about the situation.

2. Notice changes in working identity. As we progress through our careers and lives, we change how we identify ourselves. Identity statements sound like I am a… or I was a… For example, I was an engineer; now I’m a career professional and entrepreneur. Changing working identity doesn’t happen easily, and if you understand how someone else changed their working identity, you’ll have clues about how you can change yours.

3. Understand their lessons learned. I like to ask Career Buzz guests what they learned about making career and life choices from their own lived experience. Listen to their answers because you can gain a lot from others’ hard won self-awareness. It can save you years. If you listen to archived Career Buzz stories, it’s the last question I ask.

4. Borrow relevant language, especially about strengths. After helping thousands of clients, I’ve noticed how hard it can be for people to name their unique strengths, skills and knowledge. That’s why I always ask Career Buzz guests what strengths they draw on to be successful. Their surprising answers can help you name your own strengths.

5. Tune into yourself to integrate what you learned. We live in a fast paced world super-saturated with stories. It’s too easy to hear one and quickly move on to the next. Stop! Listen! Ask yourself: What have I heard that’s relevant to my present situation and will help me in my career and life?

If you need help figuring out what your own story is telling you about next steps, try an exploratory consultation with one of our amazing team of career professionals.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Avoid Being the Career Frog Boiling in the Water

Posted by: Mark Franklin on February 19, 2015 4:25 pm

hilton“My inner voice was speaking loudly saying, ‘you don’t want to do this for the rest of your life,'” Kate Hilton told Career Buzz listeners (Jan. 7, 2015). She realized leaving her law career “would become more and more difficult. I didn’t want to be the frog boiling in the water.”

Kate’s working identity was becoming more ingrained, so she quit the firm, leaving a trail of “startled” co-workers, friends and family. What was she going to do next? “My strategy was, I don’t actually know what I want to do. I know what I don’t want to do. And I have this excellent package of skills that are transferable. I’m an excellent writer and public speaker,” and she’d even won a national trial competition.

So, Kate told “every single person I knew that I’m making a career change, and I don’t know what it’s going to be.” She asked them to set up meetings with “anyone you think I ought to meet.” Kate helped them to help her by naming a few areas of interest: “public relations, communications, project management, writing.” One of those meetings turned into an informal job interview which led directly to Kate’s next career, “where I worked for 13 years.”

How do the clues apply to you? Kate’s career evolved because she intentionally explored possibilities of interest through inspired ‘field research’ meetings. She did no online job searching. Take a page out of Kate’s playbook and use a more effective, proactive and empowering approach of ‘intentional exploration’ rather than relying exclusively on posted jobs. See how Kate’s career has evolved one more time, as a successful novelist.

Hear the whole interview also featuring Michael Kerman on blending his interest in travel with his career in human services resulting in his people-to-people trips to Cuba.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

How Side Projects Became Mike’s Next Career

Posted by: Mark Franklin on January 30, 2015 10:16 am

mike“On the road there’s a lot of off time,” former touring-musician, Mike Kirsh, told Career Buzz listeners (Dec. 31, 2014), and that’s when his side projects began to fill the gap. After shooting video during the day, Mike, the bass player, said, “I picked up the camera and just started editing on the bus. I’d create whatever I wanted like a fun little tour blog.”

When his band, The Midway State, folded, Mike said he worked productively with a career counsellor who helped him intentionally explore video editing as a career possibility. A ‘field research’ meeting with a contact led to a first contract with Lightbox Video where Mike is now happily employed on the SessionsX series. How do the clues apply to you? The seeds of your next career move are likely already planted — in your side projects. Mike said, “I didn’t think I could make a career out of my hobby,” but he did. Look at your side projects — whether it’s knitting or kite boarding or cycling or gaming — and ask yourself, ‘What are the clues in this activity that may lead me in new directions?’ Then, take inspired action and follow the clues!

Hear the whole interview also featuring Sean Fitzpatrick on the three kinds of employee engagement, and Wendy Woods on emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Need help moving in new directions in 2015 for you or someone you care about? Get started with an exploratory consultation! Tell Jennifer you read this edition of Watch for Clues and save 20 bucks on an exploratory consultation that you book in January.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Career Buzz Podcast: Craig Dowden on Fixing Disrespectful Workplaces

Posted by: Mark Franklin on January 15, 2015 10:08 am

The Career Buzz Podcast: Craig Dowden on fixing disrespectful workplaces

dowdenWhat happens in a respectful workplace? “People feel understood, they are comfortable expressing who they are, and they respect each other’s boundaries,” Craig Dowden, PhD, told Career Buzz listeners on Nov. 26, 2014. Craig was the MC of this year’s Your Workplace conference and as a leadership and organizational excellence expert, he presented on Respect in the Workplace — Easy to practice and costly to forget.

I asked Craig to describe what happens in a disrespectful workplace: “Checking email during a meeting is a strong sign of disrespect” because it makes people feel they’re not worth your time or attention. What else? “Talking over people, talking down to people, taking credit for other people’s work.”

What’s the impact? Craig shared that “research says 94% of disrespected people say they’ll get even with the offender, and 88% say they’ll get even with the organization.” Ouch!

What are the clues that apply to you? What does Craig say we should do about disrespect in the workplace? “Take action quickly. Use information from engagement surveys. Conduct exit interviews. Tips: Concerned about respect in your workplace? Craig suggested: “Have adult conversations” and be clear about what you can stand and what you cannot.” For more tips, listen to the interview (Craig is on from 49:25 to end).

Need help finding a respectful workplace for your career? Check our career management programs. Plus, listen to our Career Buzz inspiring archive anytime!

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA