Career Counseling or Therapy?

“So often the work of therapy, certainly not to be narrowed to career counseling, is to examine the forces that brought about the original choices, and to identify the affect-laden complexes that constrict a bold step and a change of life course.”  –Jim Hollis, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life.

Sometimes the depression one begins to feel at midlife will bring us into therapy if we haven’t tried that before.  For some, this initial request to search and share with another trained, empathic listener will provide deep insight and personal clarification about some of those initial choices.  Identifying and freeing those affect-laden complexes is the work of good therapy and no one can deny its effects who has had a positive experience that results in increased self awareness.

But to think that career counseling is a narrowing is to miss the point, in my opinion, of the necessity for finding meaningful work at mid life.  If not now, when?  And if not you, then who?  Who has the right, even the obligation perhaps, to find and perform meaningful work with love and passion? Career counseling of some sort is just the practice to bring insight and clarity to what one’s purpose is.  By reviewing skills as gifts and talents, and values as an expression of your unique perspective, you will find that your interests will provide the awareness of what needs doing in your world. That passion and that awareness will help you find the work you are meant to do.  A bold and courageous change of life course can be the result.

Finding a new direction can occur in a number of ways all of which are resources from the Career Counseling tool kit.  One can not easily pursue these if feeling depressed and or benefiting from therapy, but they are ways to proceed initially.

1 –  Examine under-utilized skill sets and knowledges acquired over the years that offer some interesting possibilities;

2 – Explore the social and political issues you find disturbing and begin to research how significant change might be initiated within each;

3 –  Be pro-active when you serendipitously come across an article, or an individual who might pave the way and follow-up. Whatever means you use, the important challenge is to recognize the process has begun.

I invite you to explore my website www.lifeworktransitions and discover other career counseling tools that might be helpful to you.

Deborah Knox has over 30 years experience providing insight and clarity to individuals seeking meaningful lifework. She is the author of Put Your Spirit to Work: Making a Living Being Yourself.

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