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Our Journal’s third issue of volume twelve contains four very different contributions. The first contribution presents how a specific new approach to personal counselling and psychotherapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), might be used in a vocational or career guidance context. Adaptation of approaches that are developed in clinical psychology or psychotherapy can strengthen our own interventions and diversify them in order to adapt them to needs of our clients or counselees. The second contribution presents an analysis of the development of occupational aspirations in a very large sample of Korean adolescents. This study used a longitudinal design and applied contemporary statistical tools in order to analyse the trajectories of these aspirations. The third contribution conceptualized the relationship between narrative approaches and the systems theory framework (STF), and studied how story-crafting careers can facilitate client’s desired, sustainable, and achievable stories to emerge. The last empirical contribution presents a very well conducted and original qualitative study about an important topic: dilemmas career counsellors face. The most frequent dilemma concerns the legitimacy of confronting a client when the counsellor has noted a discrepancy between the client’s vocational choice and his or her abilities and an employer’s expectations of a specific professional in that field. This dilemma could be the result of the counsellor’s desire to take into account social constraints and the counselee’s needs, aspirations, or desires simultaneously, and has important ethical implications.
In the first contribution, “Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) as a career counselling strategy,” Nancey P. Hoare, Peter McIlveen, and Nadine Hamilton presented an analyses and a case example of how ACT can be applied in the field of career guidance. This approach can help career counsellors to take emotions into greater account, and to increase clients’ psychological flexibility and their abilities to regulate their emotions. It is notable that McIlveen and Patton (2010), in another contribution, presented the use of another tool for increasing clients’ or counselees’ reflexive self-awareness. Taking into account emotions in educational and vocational guidance is crucial because career indecision or career decision-making difficulties are known for being associated with high level of anxiety or distress. As mentionned by the authors, ACT is about psychological flexibility, and it would be interesting to study whether ACT has an impact on people’s career adaptability and self-regulation skills (e.g., Vanhalakka-Ruoho, 2010). Moreover, this contribution presents an interesting and well-written description of the relational frame theory (RFT) and an instructive case example.
In the second contribution, “Development of occupational aspirations in early Korean adolescents: A multiple-group latent curve model analysis,” In Heok Lee and Jay W. Rojewski used a 4-year longitudinal design and presented analyses of intra- and inter-individual differences of the development of occupational aspirations in a large sample of Korean adolescents. The construct of occupational aspiration is interesting because it reflects people’s spontaneous desire for aspiration with no consideration of barriers. These aspirations are necessary for confronting reality and for engaging in compromise. Thus, they play an important and maybe crucial role in career choice, and might have an impact on the motivation and commitment people express for their chosen occupation. This study was conducted in Korea, and this is important because studies conducted in Asia about this topic are very scarce. The analyses were done using contemporary sophisticated statistical tools and showed that, as expected, the level of prestige associated with occupational aspirations decreased with age. Suggesting that occupational aspirations, after some compromise, tend to become more realistic. It would be interesting to study whether the changes in aspirations might depend on their coherence, as this was the case with interest (e.g., Hirschi, 2010). Moreover and as expected, adolescents from lower SES families reported less prestigious occupational aspirations. The decrease in terms of prestige associated with the occupational aspirations starts earlier in Korea compared to the US; this could be due to cultural or contextual reasons, such as academic competition or particularly strong influence of parents that value education (Wong, Wong, & Peng, 2011). This study is certainly of great interest for all readers concerned with occupational aspirations, interests, and vocational choice development.
In the third article, “Story crafting: Strategies for facilitating narrative career counselling,” Mary McMahon and Mark Watson presented different strategies counsellors can use to conduct narrative career counselling. Although narrative career counselling is not new, a large number of practitioners would benefit from these specific suggestions to move from traditional standardized interventions to interventions based on the story-telling approach or any other narrative career counselling approach. Story telling activities can be stimulated using several qualitative career assessments to enter into a co-constructed and recursive process, thereby allowing the client or counselee to elaborate his or her own professional and personal projects (for another perspective concerning this discursive process, see Olry-Louis, Brémond, & Pouliot, 2012). According to STF, making sense of an experience and becoming aware of the system and the dynamic interactions between its components allows learning to occur. But above the learning that occurs, this awareness helps to redefine the counselee’s identity. The case example of Steven clearly illustrated the usefulness of the strategies such as story crafting, mapping, and scaffolding.
In the last contribution, “Psychologists’ dilemmas in career counselling practice,” Paulo Miguel Cardoso, Maria Céu Taveira, Constança Sacadura Biscaia, and Maria Graça Santos researched the various dilemmas faced by career counsellors in a very well-conducted qualitative study. As mentioned by Stead et al. (2012), an increase in the quality of qualitative studies should lead to an increase in qualitative representation in scientific journals. The present study is certainly an example of a high-quality qualitative contribution, and might serve as a model for others. Until now, the experience of dilemmas was only studied in psychotherapy or in clinical psychology. For this reason, the present study is very important, innovative, and gives us some new insights about the difficulty of our tasks. The five categories of dilemmas defined in this study (i.e., neutrality, assessment, dual loyalty, role boundaries, and confidentiality) certainly serve as reference for our field, and deserve further study regarding their impact on the effectiveness of the working alliance. In the introduction to this article, the authors carefully reviewed the question of dilemmas for counselling psychology, psychotherapy, and career counselling. This theoretical overview will certainly help readers to fully understand the important implications of this study.
This issue contains contributions from authors from four continents, using different methodological approaches: quantitative, qualitative, and case examples. Two contributions might be considered as more theoretically-based with a case example in each contribution; one contribution uses very sophisticated and contemporary statistical tools; and the last contribution uses a very well-designed and properly-conducted qualitative method. The diversity of the contributions in this issue provides a source of satisfaction for the editorial team, and we hope to be able to continue to offer you this diversity. In this issue we have two case examples, but I would like to encourage researchers and practitioners to also think about conducting and submitting case studies that might illustrate how some specific aspects of our work can be dealt with in our educational and vocational guidance interventions in further detail. Finally, we hope that you will find a number of new and interesting insights in this issue and that it will contribute to your own professional development. We wish you pleasant reading in the hopes that this issue will stimulate your own thoughts and lead to other contributions to our Journal.
- Stead, G. B., Perry, J. C., Munka, L. M., Bonnett, H. R., Shiban, A. P., & Care, E. (2012). Qualitative research in career development: Content analysis from 1990 to 2009. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 12, 105–122. doi: 10.1007/s10775-011-9196-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar