Counselling: A Holistic Perspective
by Ellen Hicks
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your dream! Live your passion! Be authentic!
How often we hear these phrases these days. What does it really
mean for me?
a professional counsellor who has a speciality in career counselling,
it means many things.
means that I serve as a guide to others who have lost their jobs;
who feel their jobs no longer meet their needs or whose jobs bring
little satisfaction. It means helping first time job seekers and
those who feel and confused, afraid, are grieving or who feel
their lives are purposeless due to job loss as a result of downsizing
is holistic career counselling different from traditional career
counselling that traditionally uses tests and checklists to help
people find a good fit between themselves and jobs? For one thing,
holistic career counsellors see the person as someone on a journey
and begin where the person is at the time they begin to work with
them. All life and work experience is validated since all teach
valuable life skills.
counselling process involves helping an individual see their options,
understand the social contexts that may influence their decisions,
helping them to seize the opportunities that bring them fulfillment
and appreciating that people will make the best decision for themselves.
It does not separate a job from emotions, or spirit or life struggles.
it embraces change as part of life and helps individuals embrace
all aspects of their lives as part of the decision–making
process. It does not try to put people in boxes so that all they
can see is the sides. It challenges, guides, and frees the person
to look at all possibilities. It is not restricted to simply matching
a person to a job based on their interests and education.
people identify their unique talents and gifts is part of the
journey. If we cannot see our uniqueness how can we find a job
in which we are actively engaged and to which we feel we bring
our own uniqueness and our own skills?
different techniques may be used to help someone discover what
they truly want. Self-assessment tools may be a place to start
helping people assess themselves in a concrete way. Discussion,
accomplishment identification, and narratives are just some of
the many techniques that can help people discover themselves and
then decide what they want to use in their next job. After all
most of us will hold at least 10- 15 different jobs in our lifetime.
the era that we are now in where jobs are no longer secure, when
job loss is common and contract work is prevalent, it is more
important than ever for us to understand who we are at this point
in our lives, what we have for work skills, and personal skills
that will make us not only attractive to an employer, but also
be life-giving to us.
a spiritual sense we are trying to find a job that will allow
us to be true to our own values while allowing us to live out
our life purpose. No easy feat for most of us.
is a journey that is often fraught with unexpected challenges.
Career counselling done from a holistic perspective assists people
to look at what they have and where they have come from. It also
involves assisting people to discover where there are potential
job opportunities (including self-employment, part-time and contract
work) and which companies might bring them the most satisfaction
in what they do.
who do what they love, love what they do. This makes all the difference!
you decide that you would like career counselling and wonder how
to recognize if a career counsellor does practice from a holistic
perspective, here are some suggestions. Give the counsellor a
call and ask what training they have and how they perceive their
role as a career counsellor. Some may say that they follow a particular
career counselling theory such as developmental or constructivist,
for example. If they start to tell what to do, you may want to
think again about seeing this counsellor.
may want to ask if the counsellor uses assessments and whether
there is a set process that is the same for every person. Listen
for words or phrases like: I begin with where you are; I believe
that each person can determine his/her own future; I will assist
you to discover your passion or dream. Such statements are often
indicators that the counsellor will counsel from a holistic perspective.
journey of self-discovery is one of challenge and change. Take
Hicks is a counsellor, teacher and career development specialist.
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