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The Career Thinking Session: overcoming challenges and working through limiting assumptions with clients Dr Barbara Bassot Svendborg 7-8 th May 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "The Career Thinking Session: overcoming challenges and working through limiting assumptions with clients Dr Barbara Bassot Svendborg 7-8 th May 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Career Thinking Session: overcoming challenges and working through limiting assumptions with clients Dr Barbara Bassot Svendborg 7-8 th May 2014

2 Overview Background to the study The model for the Career Thinking Session (CTS) Theoretical aspects The pilot project in brief Further research The findings Implications for practice

3 Background Originally part of the NICE project (University Network for Innovation in Guidance and Counselling in Europe) Focus on innovative new approaches Gave an opportunity to do some research into something new

4 Why a reflective approach? We are all called to be reflective practitioners My own particular specialism A key theme in reflective practice is being open to challenging our own assumptions about our practice Guidance and counselling is all about helping people to think about their future

5 Creating a space for reflection in career guidance practice – why? Good investment of time – avoids ‘quick fix’ solutions On-going development of practice in a changing world Prevents stagnation Making practice creative Awareness of attitudes and values in decision making Deeper examination of issues – to avoid assumptions Systematic enquiry to improve and deepen understanding of practice Reid & Bassot (2011) Reflection: A Constructive Space for Career Development in McMahon, M. & Watson, M. Career Counseling and Constructivism, New York: Nova Science

6 Residing in silence and wonder: career counselling from the perspective of ‘being ’. A purposefully reflective approach avoids rushing to solutions that close down the opportunity for more meaningful engagement. Hansen & Amundson argue for ‘felt presence’. As an example of a deeply reflexive approach to career counselling that is truly centred on the ‘client’, they write about ‘stillness, openness and undoing’. Hansen, F.T. & Amundson, N. (2009) Residing in silence and wonder: career counselling from the perspective ‘being’. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 9, 1, In the study: I wanted to experiment with an approach that moved away from short term work for short term solutions. I aimed to explore the potential for an approach which stayed with purposeful reflection, slowing the process down in order to construct a ‘safe transitional’ space (Winnicott, 1971) for meaningful career thinking.

7 The Career Thinking Session (CTS) Model Origins in the work of Nancy Kline (1999) Pioneered the theory and process of the Thinking Environment Organisational development and coaching Aims: to increase the quality of thinking through listening, and to challenge limiting assumptions (barriers to progression)

8 6 Steps in the process (Kline, 1999) Step 1 ‘What do you want to think about?’ Step 2 ‘What do you want to achieve from the rest of the session?’ Step 3 ‘What are you assuming is stopping you from achieving your goal? Step 4 ‘If you knew that... What ideas would you have towards your goal?’ Finding the positive opposites Step 5 Writing down the Incisive Question then posing it a number of times (the positive opposites to the bedrock assumption) Step 6 What have we appreciated in one another? Appreciation keeps people thinking

9 ‘Hunting assumptions’ Kline (1999) Facts Possible facts Bedrock ‘Deconstruction and reconstruction’ (Savickas, 2011) which can lead to ‘perspective transformation’ (Mezirow, 1978; 1981) Brookfield (1995) Paradigmatic Prescriptive Causal

10 Pilot study ‘Is applying Kline’s thinking session model to career counselling useful?’ A qualitative approach One retrospective (notes taken) Three Career Thinking Sessions All with adults The three sessions were recorded, transcribed and analysed

11 Insights and questions from the pilot project Some similarities with well known 3 stage models (e.g. Egan) But clear differences – no action planning and clear focus on limiting assumptions Kline uses the word goal, but this didn’t seem useful – the model needs further development I needed to ‘stay with the model’ to see if it would work – and I felt it did! Would it work with younger clients?

12 My own limiting assumptions That the model would not work well with young people That there would be lots of awkward silences That they would find the reflective space too difficult and uncomfortable That they might just say “I don’t know” That my research would fall “flat on its face” That this really is a model to use with adults only

13 ‘Holly’ Step 1 Disillusioned with her course at college – no longer interested in health and social care Interested in events management Wants to think about a wide range of options e.g. going back to school to take academic subjects, going to university, doing an apprenticeship.

14 Step 2

15 Step 3 - Two roads

16 Factors The road to nursing The course is boring Not enough challenge Lack of motivation Lack of a sense of achievement Will I get the grades I need to go to university? The road to elsewhere (music, events management) Doing something I enjoy More interesting More motivating Fun Exciting

17 The road to elsewhere – limiting assumptions Facts I haven’t done anything creative before, I’ve always done Science Being a year behind, then taking a gap year and being two years behind Money – nursing courses are paid for, other courses you have to pay for yourself Possible Facts There will always be people who are better than me My parents are worried that I won’t get a job. Bedrock I’m not talented enough

18 Taking a diversion – emerging patterns Looking back What made her choose her current course and a future career in nursing? What else could she have done? She didn’t choose to be a doctor “because I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I was good enough. Teachers tried to persuade me to apply for Oxbridge, but I thought I couldn't do it.”

19 Step 4 - Positive opposites “If I knew I could be a doctor, how would that make me feel? - Long silence If I knew that I was talented enough, how would that change things for me?

20 Step 5 - The Incisive Question How can I use my talents? I’ll finish my course I’ll do what I want to do I won’t give up on my ideas I’ll be confident In the short term I’ll look at changing course In the medium term I’ll take a gap year In the longer term I’ll apply for a route (university, jobs, higher apprenticeship) into something I enjoy more and that will challenge me (e.g. events management)

21 Appreciation “You kept asking me the same questions, so I really had to think about things. Each time you asked me the same question I had to think deeper and deeper as time went on. You made me think a lot – I really needed that.”

22 Implications for practice Navigating barriers to innovation: time Beware of your own limiting assumptions when trying something new CTS does not focus on goals and action planning like other staged models, but on the client’s limiting assumptions Challenging limiting assumptions is not easy: for practitioners and clients, requires a high level of trust Resist the imperative to identify problems and find solutions: reflection can’t be rushed The most difficult part (I think) is helping the client to articulate the IQ

23 Thank you!


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