Training and Supervising Holistic Practitioners: The Career Lens Approach.

By Jon Rosenfield and Camille Helkowski

Clients’ career-related needs are rarely met solely through the sharing of information or resources by a counselor. They often need a great deal of support and guidance with processing career information regarding discernment and transition. Career counselors and counselors-in-training need to be prepared to address a host of issues, one’s that may interfere with accessing or utilizing career resources and information.

Need for Training
Anxiety, grief, developmental issues, cultural identity issues, and even trauma can be factors to consider in helping clients explore their own sense of identity and negotiate changes in their career trajectories. For example, college students may be struggling with intergenerational and/or cultural expectations as they seeks to discover a pathway that is right for them; or they may find that their academic aptitudes do not match the initial career choice (e.g.: pre-med). Another example is an experienced professional, who, later in life, may be forced to change direction for any number of reasons, with varying degrees of foresight. Clients may sense that “something doesn’t feel right” in their current trajectory, but don’t have the tools to identify the source of that feeling, or design a new more appropriate path. This is where well-trained career counselors play a valuable role.

Call for a New Training Approach
In these and many other circumstances, helping a client requires more than directing them to a website or advising them to network. While advice, information, and resources are part of our work, so is helping clients to identify and process their own misconceptions, blind-spots, and motivational barriers. Generally speaking, while it may be easier to “give answers” (and, in fact, this is often what our clients hope we will do), what is much more useful for clients is that we facilitate a process, (e.g., – movement toward greater self-awareness, increasing communication about oneself while making connections, building resilience, measuring risks and taking action, and moving strategically toward job matches). Not only must we facilitate these processes, we must also help clients assess and engage their own motivation to adapt to their own unique career development challenges.

Transformational results are better than transactional ones in career counseling.  In order to produce these desired results, we propose The Career Lens Approach as a training and supervision program for counselors and counseling graduate students interested in doing career development work.

Training for Transformation
Training in the profession of counseling foregrounds skill sets such as rapport-building, assessment, motivational interviewing, and collaborative goal-setting. The Career Lens Approach adds specific grounding in the convergence of developmental, relational, and career theory, and provides support for the work of counselors and counseling graduate students by offering on-going training and supervision that links career counseling practice to a holistic conception of our clients’ lives.
This approach includes:

    • Initial training of new counselors and counselors-in-training – Training begins with two full weeks of exposure to theory and practice models, developmental and identity models, discussion, role play, career genograms and other self-assessment instruments are experienced by, and interpreted for, new staff.
    • Training materials – Graduate students and new counselors are asked to read several books and a number of articles that typically inform the practice of the full time counselors in the specific environment. Throughout the year, readings are culled from professional journals and as well as market trend articles from a range of sources. Source material from our center includes:
      • You majored in what? Mapping your path from chaos to career (Brooks 2010)
      • Connect college to career (Hettich & Helkowski 2005)
      • Understanding careers (Inkson 2007)
      • Hand-me-down dreams (Jacobsen 1999)
      • Let your life speak (Palmer 2000)
      • Unflattening (Sousanis 2015)
    • Recording and feedback - Graduate students record all client sessions, review and evaluate their work, and submit both the recordings and evaluations to their supervisor, who also listens and evaluates the recordings. These sessions are then discussed in individual supervision. On-staff counselors submit their session notes and identify the clients they wish to discuss in supervision based on their questions, concerns, and/or treatment goals.
    • Individual supervision – Each graduate student meets with their clinical supervisor for an hour/week to discuss the content and process of their client sessions. Full-time staff counselors also meet weekly with a supervisor for discussion and feedback on their interactions with clients.
    • Group supervision – All (staff) counselors and counselors-in-training meet for two hours bi-weekly. Events of the past two weeks, information/concerns about anticipated occurrences, readings or videos are discussed. At each group supervision meeting, two of the participants will provide formal case presentations for group discussion and feedback.
    • On-going consultation - Supervisors are available on a drop-in basis for staff. Full time professional staff (in our case, all licensed counselors) are accessible to graduate students when questions and/or issues arise. Two benefits of The Career Lens Approach are the opportunities for counselors to acquire supervised hours toward licensure and the professional development experience afforded licensed counselors who can supervise other professionals and counselors-in-training. In flat organizations, this perk promotes continuity of service.

Why Choose the Career Lens Approach?
Effective career development is more than the provision of career-related data. When executed well, it is a specialization that demands the skills of a counselor, as well as additional knowledge and training in career development theory, assessments, identity and development models, and cultural sensitivity as it relates to the challenges of career.

The Career Lens Approach brings these factors together in the training of career development professionals in an intentional, coherent program. In addition to providing comprehensive training for practitioners, utilizing graduate students can provide valuable additional service capacity for your site, while helping trainees build skills that are relevant in many counseling contexts.


Jon RosenfieldJon Rosenfield, MA LCPC, is a career advisor with Loyola University Chicago’s Career Development Center. Previously, Jon worked as both a career counselor with Jewish Vocational Service and as an adjunct instructor at Adler University. In addition to his teaching and career counseling experience, Jon has years of small-business management experience in fields ranging from custom manufacturing to design and advertising. Jon earned his undergraduate degree from Drake University in Cultural Studies, and holds an MA in counseling psychology from Adler University. Jon's email is jrosenfield@luc.edu

Camille HelkowskiCamille Helkowski (Cam), MEd LCPC, is the Associate Director of Loyola University's Career Development Center and an instructor in both the School of Education and the Institute for Pastoral Studies – a role in which she supervises a cohort of clinical interns each year. Cam is also a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who provides counseling services to individuals and couples and maintains a private practice in Lincolnwood, IL. With over 30 years’ experience in the field, she is comfortable working with a broad spectrum of client issues. In addition, Cam has presented at national conferences and to general audiences speaking on a range of topics, including grief and loss, special counseling needs of "twentysomethings", calling, healing from sexual abuse, and many other issues. She is also the co-author of two books: Connect College to Career: A Student's Guide to Work and Life Transitions (with Paul Hettich) and The College Student Counseling Treatment Planner (with Chris Stout and Arthur Jongsma). Cam's email is chelkowski@luc.edu

Printer-Friendly Version


Linda Zimmerman   on Saturday 04/02/2016 at 02:33 PM

I enjoyed learning about the Career Lens approach especially recording client sessions for supervisor feedback and regular formal presentation of client cases. I provide a broad range of Career Services to refugees and asylum-seekers for the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights at Boston Medical Center in Boston, MA. During weekly clinical meetings Social Work interns present their cases. After reading your article I'm going to seek to present my cases more consistently for feedback from clinical staff. Thanks!

Ellen Weaver Paquette   on Saturday 04/02/2016 at 04:18 PM

So helpful! I am really looking forward to learning more about this distinctive approach.

Tiffany Lee   on Wednesday 04/13/2016 at 07:13 PM

Will the NCDA conference session be available via audio or video recording for those that won't be attending the conference this year?

Melanie Reinersman   on Thursday 04/14/2016 at 09:41 AM

The conference sessions will not be audio/video taped this year. The conference app should offer session handouts. Watch for the announcement on the conference website, www.ncdaconference.org, for the posting of the app at the end of May. You also may email the authors to request more information.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.