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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of career practitioners in using creativity with clients : what helps and hinders Mills, Lauri


This study explored the experience of career development practitioners in using creativity with their clients. Career counselling literature details a change in the landscape of work. Globalization and the unpredictable nature of the economy require a shift in the career counselling paradigm, as workers today are expected to look after their own career progression, be more flexible, and have more adaptive skills. Many authors argue that creativity is an integral part of the future of career counselling as the need to move from traditional theory to more innovative approaches and techniques becomes more apparent. The challenge for career counsellors is to find creative ways to help clients develop the tools they need to effectively navigate the modern working world. However, there is little research into how career counsellors use creativity with clients, especially with regard to what facilitates the use of creativity and what challenges its use. The results of this research study lend insight into what helps and hinders career practitioners’ use of creativity. Thirteen participants were interviewed using the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique. The study yielded 78 incidents that participants perceived as helpful to their use of creativity, 65 incidents that hindered their use of creativity, and 40 wish list items. These incidents and wish list items were grouped into 25 categories. The 10 main helping categories were: experience and knowledge, personal traits, colleagues, professional development, personal activities and methods, time, clients, work environment, collaboration with clients, and resources. The 6 main hindering categories were clients, work environment, personal factors, lack of time, professional development, and burnout. The 9 wish list categories were colleagues, supportive work environment, resources, professional development, physical work environment, time, financial security, clients, and autonomy. The findings show that a supportive work environment is significant for counsellors, as well as time and access to resources. Clients and colleagues also play an important role in the use of creativity, as do personal factors such as individual characteristics, activities and practices. Finally, the results of the study suggest professional development as a key component in counsellors’ ability to feel creative and use creativity with their clients.

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