Definitions of Career Counseling

As the problems clients bring to career counselors have expanded and become more complex, the definitions of career counseling have changed. These definitions have increasingly shifted from viewing career problems as rational, objective, and unaffected by emotional crises outside the workplace to examining the interaction of work-related problems with those of personal identity, family concerns, mental health, and related issues. Krumboltz (1993), for example, has stated emphatically that "career and personal counseling are inextricably intertwined. Career problems have a strong emotional component" (p. 143).

Brown and Brooks (1991, p. 5) have defined career counseling as follows:

Career counseling is an interpersonal process designed to assist individuals with career development problems. Career development is that process of choosing, entering, adjusting to and advancing in an occupation. It is a life-long psychological process that interacts dynamically with other life roles. Career problems include but are not limited to career indecisions and undecidedness, work performance, stress and adjustment, in-congruence of the person and work environment, and inadequate or unsatisfactory integration of life roles (e.g., parent, friend, citizen).

In essence, career counseling is used with individuals and with groups, represents a continuum of approaches tailored to the career concerns and needs of individual clients, and is likely to be part of a program of interventions that include career assessments, self-directed activities, assistance with skill development, and related functions.

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