To set the stage for what counselors need to know, this chapter introduces the reader to an overview of theories that lay a foundation for working with adult clients. It provides a discussion of theoretical perspectives that relate to both individual development and contextual factors. To capture this intersection of influence, the chapter highlights Erikson’s (1950, 1963) psychosocial stage model, along with contextual and life span perspectives of adult development. It introduces the transition perspective, delving into the transition process itself. Adults face times that are increasingly challenging. A central theme in our current social context is change, reflecting the dynamic impact of forces across demographic, social, cultural, technological, political, and historical domains. A theory is a set of abstract principles that can be used to predict facts and to organize them within a particular body of knowledge.
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Groups have been around since the beginning of humankind and across all cultures. People have historically gathered into groups to create, achieve, and resolve matters that would be otherwise impossible. Besides the potential to accomplish tasks, groups are sources of meaning and belonging, meeting needs for personal contact and interaction. This chapter focuses on group counseling as a useful modality for facilitating transition work with clients. Groups are complex, requiring counselors to combine individual counseling and group-leadership skills. It begins with some general information about the unique value of groups and discusses factors that are relevant to group work, including therapeutic factors, cultural diversity, and multicultural competencies. It also illustrates the different types of groups designed for adults who are experiencing various types of transitions. The chapter turns to an examination of the value of groups in helping people assess their assets and liabilities in each of 4 S areas.
Counseling adults in transition is an exciting and challenging job that gives us an opportunity to function at many different levels. Advocacy, consulting, and program development are three ways that one can assist the clients with their transitions–through changing the situation, enhancing their sense of self, developing more supports, and increasing the strategies available to them. Some counselors now work in the corporate world, and others are community organizers; some counselors design programs in colleges and universities, whereas others develop workshops for senior centers; some walk the halls of legislatures as lobbyists, whereas still others talk about mental health on talk shows, on their own or others’ blogs, on twitter, or other internet sites and social media. This chapter talks about a variety of ways counselors can do these things, including consulting, developing programs, and advocacy.
This chapter examines what counselors hear about individual transitions. It shows how individuals experience their transitions in a unique manner, depending on their particular situation, the aspects of self that come into play, the support they have available, and the strategies they are currently using. The chapter discusses the triggers to internal transitions, some of which may come from internal awarenesses and some of which may be stimulated by external events. It turns the attention to the timing of these transitions. The chapter talks about the duration of the transition, and, addresses the source of control—or perceived control. It focuses on the self issues related to internal transitions, looks at issues of identity, autonomy, meaning-making, and self-efficacy. The chapter describes what counselors may hear as clients describe their “people” supports. The goal of the strategies helps to identify what one may hear from clients about strategies they currently use.
Counselors hear stories about what might have been, about what should have been, and about what did not happen. Yet much research and counseling advice has been focused only on marker events such as marriage, childbirth, changing jobs, divorce, or being fired. Most of these events are observable; many have rituals and celebrations attached to them. Counselors have enormous power to help clients exchange heartbreaks for heartmends. Counselors need to help clients deal with nonevents. Thus, this chapter focuses on specific suggestions and strategies for counselors to use with their clients. It suggests a three-step program for counselors to use as they help clients work through their nonevents. The three steps are counselors need to use are: understand the concept of nonevents as a way to listen with a third ear; develop specific strategies for clients to use as they cope with nonevents; and teach lessons for life literacy.
This chapter uses the case study and relevant literature to understand using the transition model with work transitions. In looking at issues relating to self, one sees that it is important to consider salience, balance, resilience, self-efficacy, and meaning making. The dimensions of salience, balance, resilience, self-efficacy, meaning making, and sense of purpose are all critical aspects of a client’s work transitions. Listening for and asking about these dimensions will help counselors gain a more complete picture of a particular client’s experience and aspirations. The chapter looks at characteristics of the situation, support and strategies. It presents a multiplicity of issues related to the kinds of experiences, thoughts, and feelings that have an impact on adults engaged in work transitions. The chapter discusses what counselors might hear from the perspective of the 4 S transition model and proposition that all transitions involve moving in, through, out, and back in again.