Thanks to everyone at AGCAS who helped wrangle my 5,000 word assignment on this topic into a 1,000 word article for this month’s Phoenix magazine. The gist of it is that academic literature make a pretty strong case for the fields being interlinked (personal and career concerns being often intertwined) but that our services are largely still quite separate.

In chatting about this with colleagues, the point that a third of careers professionals had undertaken counselling training still really stands out for me. In our roles there’s such a breadth of skills represented, that to often it’s easy to overlook the expertise that’s within our own departments.

There’s been many occasions where I’ve felt that a client needed both services,  but (as many respondents to the survey I ran mentioned) was very aware of the boundaries of my own expertise. One client in particular asked for a recommendation of a ‘true career counsellor’ who could do both, recognising that much of what was frustrating her in her career management was the same as what frustrated her in other aspects of life. There’s lots more that, having recounted what’s going on in their life at length to me, express frustration at having to go through it all again with someone new in a different service.

However, the fact that careers is quite separate can often be a good thing: respondents talked about clients in careers who ‘wouldn’t be seen dead’ in counselling, although some of the issues were quite similar. Worries about making careers ‘about problems’ or ‘medicalising’ issues surfaced too.

None the less, it’s one I’m keen to read more on – I look forward to Siobhan Neary and Tristram Hunt’s new article on the topic due soon.