Career Counseling: American Psychological Association Psychotherapy Series II: Specific Treatments for Specific Populations

By McMahon, Mary | Australian Journal of Career Development, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Career Counseling: American Psychological Association Psychotherapy Series II: Specific Treatments for Specific Populations


McMahon, Mary, Australian Journal of Career Development


CAREER COUNSELING: American Psychological Association Psychotherapy Series II: Specific treatments for specific populations Hosted by Jon Carlson with career counsellor Mark Savickas, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, ISBN 1-59147-379-9, US$99.95.

I want to begin this review by strongly emphasising that this DVD provided me with a wonderful professional development experience. The DVD provides a comprehensive insight into the work of Professor Mark Savickas and his career construction approach to career counselling.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The menu at the beginning of the DVD presents six options: play entire program; interview; client session; with therapist narration; discussion; and credits.

I first chose the play entire program' option. In this option, the client session conducted by Savickas is prefaced by the interview and followed by the discussion that are both facilitated by Jon Carlson who is himself an eminent counsellor. This option would take about 90 minutes to watch it straight through but I found myself repeatedly pausing to reflect and make notes. For my second viewing of the DVD, I chose the with therapist narration' option. In this option, Savickas provides a commentary on the counselling session as the session plays in the background. He reflects on his client session and provides an account of the structure and interventions of his career counselling process. To watch this option straight through would take 40 minutes. Both options provide rich learning experiences.

Rather than comment in-depth in this review on each section of the DVD, I will make some general comments on thoughts that occurred to me as I watched and reflected on it.

The interview begins with Savickas explaining to Carlson how he understands career counselling and this provides a useful introduction to the whole DVD. He explains that:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

   Career counselling is a psychological
   intervention intended to help people plan
   their work lives and secure meaningful employment,
   to choose occupations and work assignments that
   allow them to be the person they want to be. So it
   differs from psychotherapy in that there's a strong
   connection to society and bridging the gap between
   person and community.

This account is evident throughout the client session, which reminded me of the privilege of our work in being invited into the life of another person in the belief that we can be helpful to them. In the discussion that follows the client session, sections of the session are replayed with Carlson inviting Savickas to explain his thoughts, interventions and theoretical position. Savickas' depth of knowledge, the clarity of his explanations and his clearly evident love of career counselling make watching this DVD a truly enjoyable experience.

Theory and practice

Savickas' clear elaboration of the theory that underpins his practice is a reminder that career counselling is much more than a grab bag of techniques and strategies. It highlights the need to be able to firmly ground practice in theory and in so doing, to be able to provide a rationale for our work to clients and to others. Savickas describes his work as a narrative approach that draws on the early work of Super as a rationale and the counselling methods of Adler. He is able to articulate his theoretical ideas to the interviewer as well as to the client in a language that is appropriate to both.

Career counselling is a discipline in its own right A further point about the work of Savickas is that it highlights career counselling as a discipline in its own right that can be conducted independently of the use of psychometric assessment. This is not to say that assessment does not take place in the interview. Rather, assessment occurs in the form of a gentle, warm and enjoyable counselling process through which the client created a picture of who she is. …

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