Academic journal article The Professional Counselor

Work Values, Occupational Engagement, and Professional Quality of Life in Counselors-in-Training: Assessments in a Constructivist-Based Career Counseling Course

Academic journal article The Professional Counselor

Work Values, Occupational Engagement, and Professional Quality of Life in Counselors-in-Training: Assessments in a Constructivist-Based Career Counseling Course

Article excerpt

Work is a necessary and pervasive aspect of human life, and in many perspectives, "life-career development is a universal process that cuts across gender, ethnic, religious, spiritual, geographic, and other demographic categories throughout developed nations" (Engels, Minor, Sampson, & Splete, 1995, p. 134). An individual's career path can bring joy and purpose, as well as negative components such as stress, challenges with decision making, financial concerns, identity crises, and burnout (Engels et al., 1995). Further, the type of career one pursues may come with specific job-related risks (Lawson & Myers, 2011), and there is a link between career concerns and overall wellness and happiness (Duffy & Sedlacek, 2010; Yakushko & Sokolova, 2010). Assessing variables related to selection of a career plays an important role in the development of self-knowledge and knowledge of the world (Herr, 1989; Hinkelman & Luzzo, 2007; Krumboltz, 1993; Pipkins, Rooney, & Jaunarajs, 2014; Rath & Harter, 2010). As such, a career focus should be part of the counseling profession, in which we work holistically with individuals of varying backgrounds, who inevitably experience career as an integral, necessary, and esteemed aspect of life (Flores & Heppner, 2002; Lara, Kline, & Paulson, 2011; Lent, 2001).

Further evidence of the interrelated nature of career and personal counseling can be found within helping professional ethical guidelines. A number of associations and codes of ethics highlight the importance of career and career counseling. For example, the preamble of the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics (2014) reads: The ACA "is an educational, scientific, and professional organization whose members work in a variety of settings and serve in multiple capacities. Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals" (p. 1). Additionally within the context of the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) is the mention of the importance of career assessment (E.1.a.) and career advising (F.8.b). The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) 2016 Standards (2015) also include career-based specifications for counseling students. Finally, the American Psychological Association (APA) includes the Society of Vocational Psychology, which is specifically designed to encompass the career components of the profession and includes goals supporting the study and practice of vocational and career-based psychology (Society for Vocational Psychology, 2017). Thus, career development and career counseling are intertwined throughout the helping professions, and it is imperative for counselors-in-training (CITs) to integrate a career lens into their practice, regardless of population and setting. However, the majority of master's counseling programs generally have a single career training course for students, and few accredited programs have faculty on staff with a career counseling specialty (Hoppin & Goodman, 2014).

Limited training of counseling graduate students on issues related to work leaves many new professionals unprepared to handle the career counseling concerns of their clients. A number of studies point to incompetence or perceived incompetence of CITs around the specific topic of career counseling (Bjornsen, Blount, & Moore, 2018; Lara et al., 2011). In a recent qualitative study about CITs' attitudes toward experiences with their career counseling course, it was found that students did not feel adequately prepared to deal with client issues related to work and career based on their minimal training within their master's program (Lara et al., 2011). The literature also indicates a subjugation of career within the profession, as if it is an entirely separate entity from mental health counseling instead of an integral component of a holistic approach to mental health care (Hartung, 2005; Tinsley, 2001; Watts, 2005). …

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