Integrative Career Counseling: Working Contextually and Experientially

05/17/2020

An integrative approach is holistic, experiential and contextual

In my practice, integrative career counseling is a hybrid of personal (existential) and career counseling. It is an approach to career counseling that takes into consideration the whole person - experientially and contextually.

Every client presents with a unique story:

  • a career transition may be experienced as exhilarating change or as an unwanted and highly stressful intrusion on a client's life. And sometimes it can be both.
  • a period of unemployment coupled with personal and financial stress can be emotionally challenging.
  • a job loss may be felt as a loss of identity.
  • at other stages of our lives and careers we find ourselves facing deeper existential questions of purpose, meaning and what it is to live a fulfilled life. 
  • neurodiverse clients are often faced with the challenges of finding their rightful a place in the work world.
  • young adults can be overwhelmed and/or anxious about their career choices and uncertain about how to develop career paths.

The focus of an integrative approach is to understand (and not diagnose) the unique experiences, the unique story, of the client. This widened understanding and perspective enables the career counselor or coach to work with a client’s rich life story. For the client, this approach encourages deepened self-awareness and perspective, the discovery of personal resilience, and most importantly the ability to see possibilities for themselves.

 

Understanding the whole person - widening the perspective

Working with the multi-layered and specific contexts that are the reality of every client's life, provides a more substantive, authentic and personalized foundation from which a career counselor or coach can offer help and support.

While the pace, process and outcomes for a client are always individual, an integrative approach:

  • considers an individual’s varied experiences and the influence and impact those experiences have had, and continue to have, on how an individual navigates, shapes and contributes to their life and work.
  • looks at concurrent and overlapping issues that may impede or influence the direction and progress of a client’s desired outcome for career development or career change.
  • respects and highlights an individual’s unique way of being, personal expertise and capacities.
  • takes into account a client’s values.

Working with a client’s unique experiences, specific contexts and personal resources provides the ingredients for creating a customized, personally meaningful and relevant map with which clients can move forward.

 

For more information on how an integrative and experiential approach to career counseling can help you, please contact Britt-Mari at brittmari@brittmarisykes.ca