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Industrial and organizational psychology

When I’m working with clients, I often hear them say things like, “I just want to gain focus,” or “I need to get some direction in my life.” Such statements make sense, but as a counseling client, you need to work with your counselor to make your goals more specific.

Why? Without goals: 

  • It would be too easy for you and your counselor to simply talk and talk and talk without going anywhere. 
  • You won’t know when you’re done with the counseling process.

So if your counselor doesn’t bring it up (although most will), insist that the two of you develop a plan for your work together. What exactly will you be doing, and why? And how will you know when you’re finished?

It’s OK to Think, But Do as Well

Introspection — thinking about your interestsskills, abilities, values, personality traits and goals -– is part of any sound career counseling process. But at some point, you need to start taking action, even if you don’t have everything figured out.

Paralysis by analysis is real. Don’t let it happen to you.

Be Open to Challenge

Most career counselors will offer you support and an empathetic ear. But the very best will also challenge you.

My graduate school advisor called this technique “carefrontation,” confrontation done in a caring way. When your career counselor challenges you – for example, by telling you you’re saying one thing but doing another — he isn’t trying to be annoying. He’s simply trying to help you find your truth.

Be a Smart Consumer

It’s possible that you and the counselor you choose won’t click. That happens sometimes, and it’s nobody’s fault.

Your career counselor can’t help you “to boldly go where no man has gone before,” as Captain Kirk and the “Star Trek” crew did. But he can help you explore your options and make informed career decisions if you’re willing to be an equal and sincere participant.