Narrative Career Counselling

Savickas (eg 1997), Cochran (eg 1997) & Peavy (eg 2000) 

For more information on the background of Savickas’ theory, please also look on this link on this website.

For this section I would like to thank Dr Hazel Reid from Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent, who offered excellent training on the Narrative Approach, quite a few years ago in London. The following is based on my notes mainly, and some research. I have tried the Narrative approach, and it’s excellent (the person I was practising with during the training in London even had a minor breakthrough there and then!). But… I would struggle to use it during my high pressure, very time bound, often one off, often very focused and utilitarian, career appointments in the schools I work. I feel that it’s also not a theory you can use in conjunction with other theories, models or techniques. I would love to practise this more and will when I have more opportunity.

Speaking for myself, because of my particular situation I would struggle to come up with some of the answers the technique is looking for. One in particular has me stumped. Even though it’s possible to work through or around this, I don’t feel it can every by my ‘go to’ theory because of this. It made me realise that some clients may struggle and may feel ‘put on the spot’ by some of the questions. I would also be careful who to use this with, as it can feel intrusive for the client if not handled well.

A word of warning

This theory and Savickas’ techniques take practice and some courage to start using with clients. After not using it for a number of years, I feel I would need to prepare and practise on a less unsuspecting colleague or friend to get the most out of this and to build up the courage to use it with a client. It’s easy to get the feeling this may not go anywhere with some clients and I would feel it important to prepare for this and to also prepare the client. Hence the statement or question “would you be happy to try something?”

If you have a client base you can see or talk to more than once (there is a follow up interview) without getting under time pressure, then I would strongly recommend explore this theory further, doing some research and thinking and practise it. It’s well worth having in your toolbox.

Overview of the Model

Let’s have a look at an overview of the theory in practice:

Marcr - Career theory: Narrative Career Counselling - Savickas (eg 1997), Cochran (eg 1997) & Peavy (eg 2000) - Overview

Narrative Career Guidance – step by step

In detail, the steps are broken up as follows:

After the intervention, using the narrative technique, it’s important to allow the client to let their learning sink in and to allow them to follow up on their learning and the actions they need to take.

In addition to the reflection, it’s equally important to follow this up with a short interview, which can be over the phone or through an online tool, or face to face if possible.

References and further reading: