What Could’ve Been Done Instead?

Soon fall classes will be starting up again, which leads me to consider how to help students be more creative (within the boundaries of ethical and legal standards) in their approaches to working with clients. After reading an article this morning on divergent thinking, I thought that perhaps I could stimulate their creative thinking as well as their appreciation of and engagement in career counseling by asking the “what could’ve been done instead” question.

  • Identifying career possibilities has often been a function of taking career assessments. What other ways might a career counselor use to help a person identify career options?
  • Decision making approaches and models (CASVE Cycle, Parsons’ emphasis on “true reasoning,” etc.). What are other approaches to decision making? What could have been offered instead?
  • Learning about self. Aside from career assessments and constructivist narrative approaches, how else could individuals learn about themselves?
  • Learning about options. What other options, aside from O*NET and the OOH and search engines, exist to help individuals learn about career options?
  • Developing interviewing skills. We have books, videos on interviewing, and in some cases, provide mock interview opportunities for clients. What else could be done?
  • Teaching career development skills. What other ways besides undergraduate career classes, posted videos, books, and static information on websites, might we teach others about career development skills?
  • Treatment planning. It doesn’t take long for career treatment plans to look the same, relying on the same approaches, assessments, steps, etc. – and there is a great deal of overlap of these tools when working with client after client who needs to make a career decision. Challenging oneself (or students) to think about what other tools or approaches might answer the question keeps the counselor fresh, and also encourages us to see clients as unique and thus deserving of tailored interventions.
  • Pedagogical approaches. (This one is more for me!). When teaching, I often rely on the tried and true – case studies, mini-lectures, quizzes, etc. What could I do instead  of (or in addition to) these approaches?


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