The Career Counseling Casebook

Book Review By Stephanie Tursic Burns

The Career Counseling Casebook, 2nd Edition (2013) published by the National Career Development Association, was written to help career counselors, counseling students, and counselor educators bridge the gap between theory and practice. Edited by Spencer G. Niles, Jane Goodman, and Mark Pope, the book strives to assist in building skills to address the National Career Development Association's Career Counseling Competencies. The book clearly demonstrates that career counseling is not always a systematic procedure of testing and telling and fully embraces how to assist clients with career development concerns taking into consideration society's shift to globalization, diversification, use of technology, and fluctuating economic conditions.


The book’s different cases, over 40 included, are organized by lifespan development stage from the first case with a nine year old boy to the last case with a retired couple. It offers two complex cases per stage and includes a broad range of client diversity. This allows readers to make a quick search for the cases relevant to their practice and decide whether the case can help their use of career development interventions with clients. I found it to be useful that the book is spiral bound, making it easy to read the cases and work with them.


Every case engages the reader to increase their knowledge and application of the following:

  • career development theory,

  • individual/group counseling skills,

  • assessment,

  • career information and resources,

  • labor market trends,

  • multicultural knowledge and skills,

  • ethical issues, and

  • technology.

The book sparks discussion and reflection on how readers can improve their career development skills to assist the client's career growth. The book offers a rich array of perspectives from which to learn about career counseling from established career counselors through the use of 97 case respondents.


The cases involve individuals, couples, and families as well as co-occurring mental health disorders in addition to career development concerns. The cases encourage forming connections between theory and practice, developing appropriate strategies for the large range of career development issues that clients bring to counseling, creating best-practices based approaches to working with career issues with clients, building skills in case conceptualization, and developing critical thinking skills. Additionally, the authors give the reader examples of ways that the cases can be used with counseling students and counselors to engage them in developing the skills and knowledge necessary to competently work with career development concerns.


Each case is analyzed by at least two case respondents who cite to establish best-practice, empirically-based suggestions. The case respondents were not required to conform to a specific theory and as such career counselors, counseling students, and counselor educators can understand how each career counseling expert would fluidly handle each case. Further, case respondents were not tied to a specific writing format for responses, which offers the reader freshness in how each case is analyzed. Just as with the cases themselves, the selected case respondents represent many stages of the lifespan, diversity, and a full range of work settings. However, there are case responses that are quite robust and specific in their career counseling interventions while others offered a much more generalized overview when working with a case.


Throughout the book, the case responders discuss ethical considerations and concerns. For graduate students learning the foundations of career development, the book provides an especially helpful resource to learn how to begin to integrate career development processes in counseling thoroughly, theoretically, and ethically. The career counselor will find the book an up-to-date resource on current career development trends as it is based in best practices and empirical evidence. Finally, counselor educators will love the case studies and the suggestions for integrating the case studies into their career counseling class to bring their class to life.


Additional books could supplement this resource. First, A Counselor's Guide to Career Assessment Instruments, 6th Edition would help the reader to more fully understand the assessments recommended by the case responders and to consider other assessments not mentioned. Second, Inspiring Career Practitioners to Connect Theory and Practice could be a helpful adjunct as the DVD contains video footage of leading career development theorists such as John Holland, Donald Super, John Krumboltz, Nancy Schlossberg, and Sunny Hansen talking about putting their theories into practice. Third, The Internet: A Tool for Career Planning, 3rd Edition provides career counselors with resources to help persons engage in effective career planning on-line. Fourth, Experiential Activities for Teaching Career Counseling Classes and for Facilitating Career Groups, 3rd Edition provides career counselors, students, and counselor educators with activities to assist individuals and groups with their career development. All of these resources build and join with The Career Counseling Casebook 2nd Edition.


The Career Counseling Casebook 2nd Edition will make a great addition to a career counselor’s and counselor educator's bookshelf. The variety of cases presented can serve a wide array of audiences and includes methods suitable for many different teaching and learning styles to promote career development interventions within many counseling practice settings. Students will benefit from the vast array of career development intervention ideas presented in the book.



This book is available in the NCDA Career Resource Store.


Stephanie BurnsStephanie T. Burns, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at Western Michigan University in Counselor Education; a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC); and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Stephanie is co-chair of the Chi Sigma Iota Professional Advocacy Committee and Faculty Advisor of the Mu Beta Chapter. Her e-mail address is stephanie.burns@wmich.edu.


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Brian Pillsbury   on Monday 06/02/2014 at 08:43 AM

Thanks for reviewing this, Dr. Burns. Do you know how much of this edition is different from the first edition?

Melanie Reinersman   on Monday 06/02/2014 at 04:20 PM

This book offers 41 new cases. If you will be at our conference in Long Beach, you are welcome to view it in the Resource Store (located in the Exhibit Hall).

Melanie Reinersman,
Publications Development Director

Brian Pillsbury   on Monday 06/02/2014 at 04:37 PM

Yay! New cases! I own the previous edition. I'll likely buy this one, too.

Sandy Hocker   on Saturday 06/28/2014 at 11:20 PM

This book sounds very intriguing as it highlights case studies of a diverse cross-section of our population. As a current CDF in training, I will be making this purchase as an dimension of better understanding of career counseling and client diversity.

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.