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Career Counseling IS Mental Health Counseling

Updated: Jul 2

OK, y'all. I am warning you that this is one of my favorite soap-boxes. For so long, there has been a widely accepted demarcation between career counseling and mental health counseling. Hell, I even separate them in the services section of my site.

A brief history review of the counseling profession reveals some of what drives this, since the vocational aspect of the profession gained so much prominence after World War II when our armed services and economy depended on our ability to effectively and efficiently place people in careers that aligned to their skills. However, as our society and economy have changed, so has our understanding of people, our motivations, the job market, our needs, and passions. Said simply, career counseling is no longer a simple match between job description and individual's skillset.

We want to feel valued in our jobs and know that what we do matters. We want to feel good at what we do, but many of us also want tons of learning opportunities. Some of us crave stability. Some of us love notoriety while others like quiet, self-sufficient work spaces. There is so much nuance related to the work we do, and since the world of work takes up a significant portion of our time, it has clear impact on our mental health (and vice-a-versa).

We know that anxiety and stress are on the rise as technology pushes our workforce to extreme levels of efficiency and progress measurement. Since COVID, we've watched rates of substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide increase at alarming rates. How much work causes these, reinforces these, or is impacted by these, remains to be determined - but we all know the connection is there.

So although we may start an engagement at Spark + Pivot as a mental health or career engagement, the fact is I will actively assess how these factors relate to your presenting problem(s). Practically speaking, that means if you want to understand the best industry for you to transition to, I will provide the necessary assessments for interest, aptitudes, and personality, and will also ask about your family, work relationships, childhood, medical history, spirituality, and more. And if we start work treating a mental health diagnosis, I will seek understanding about the role work plays as a resource or challenge in your healing pathway.

You are a fully integrated, and your mental health and career are just components of yourself. A great therapist will meet you where you are, facilitating your search for the areas of greatest pain and joy in your life so you can find the work and relationships that help you live wholeheartedly.

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