Vol. 14, n. 1, febbraio 2021 — pp. 128-131


Marie, J. G. (2020).

Innovating Counseling for Self- and Career Construction: Connecting Conscious Knowledge with Subconscious Insight. Springer Nature Switzerland AG,

pp. 315, eBook 85,59 €; Hardcover 103,99 €

The book by Jacobus Gideon (Kobus) Maree (PhD, Professor of Educational Psychology at the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria South Africa) deals with such an important and valuable topic: on the one hand, innovating counseling for self- and career construction as a promising opportunity for supporting resources in the challenging 21st century, and, on the other hand, offering new intervention strategies connecting conscious knowledge with subconscious insight.

The present volume offers a comprehensive view on this theme, highlighting the value of integration, contextualization and also of qualitative and quantitative approaches. This book is also rich in both valuable theoretical and applicative suggestions for counselors to strengthen and improve their knowledge base in order to navigate better the current challenging scenario in every part of the world.

The volume includes six parts and 13 chapters. The six parts are as follows: Part I «Orientation»; Part II «Theoretical and Conceptual Framework»; Part III «Practical Implementation: How the Maree Career Matrix (MCM)
and the Career Interest Profile (CIP) can be used to facilitate career counseling»; Part IV «From Theory to Practice: Case Studies»; Part V «Examining the Link between Career Construction Theory and Practice»; Part VI «Closure».

The first part, «Orientation», comprises a unique chapter that delineates the orientation and the rationale of this book. The author starts with the key points in the evolution of career counseling over the last few decades, emphasizing the value of introducing innovation in this domain. He underlines the worth of a qualitative-quantitative approach to career counseling, especially in the current period with the world of work being unstable, insecure and challenging. The principal contents and aims of this book are explained by focusing on the main theme «helping people to connect what they know about themselves consciously with what they are aware of subconsciously».

The second part, «Theoretical and Conceptual Framework», includes six chapters. In chapter 2, an innovative approach to career counseling is discussed, reporting extremely pertinent examples of key life transitions. The theoretical framework of the personality theories that constitute the basis for career counseling theory and practice is presented. Humanistic and related perspectives on human performance, development, choice-making, and execution are described, highlighting the contributions to self- and career construction and life design counseling. Finally the notion of «Active mastering of passive suffering» under different perspectives is discussed.

Chapter 3 presents career construction counseling, self-construction counseling, and a perspective that merges these two fundamental perspectives. Furthermore, different life designing counseling models are described. The first part of this chapter represents the basis for an integrative career-counseling framework, discussing the differences between vocational guidance, career education, and career counseling. The focus is on narrating and drawing on one’s own stories to elicit advice from within oneself.

In chapter 4, the author presents an overview of the different waves in the economy, in industry, in psychology
in general, and in career counseling, and then the associations between successive waves in career counseling, psychology, the global economy, and subsequent industrial revolutions. The author also charts the influence of contemporaneous «business models» on career-counseling helping models and the relevance of specific personality traits.

Chapter 5 presents the exciting integrative career-counseling model that the author of this book suggested. The proposal is innovating career counseling through contextualization. The concepts of contextualization, decontextualization, and recontextualization are defined to achieve co-contextualization, abandoning preconceived ideas. The author underlines that contextualization is fundamental when theory, assessment or intervention are modified to fit with specific aims, and he reports very fruitful examples. A multilevel contextualization is proposed, especially for the implementation of different career-counseling paradigms in specific contexts, such as those in South Africa. In chapter 6, the extent and effect of some of the changes in the world of work over the last few years are discussed with a particular focus on related modifications in the career-counseling discourse. The author underlines changes in language in various fields, for example, the language of business and economics. A modification in the language of career counseling accompanies the changes in innovating existing paradigms of career counseling.

Chapter 7 is focused on the self- and career construction counseling needs of disadvantaged people. The author underlines the importance of eliciting subjective and objective career counseling information from disadvantaged people, presenting a valuable case study of life-design related intervention in a seriously disadvantaged context. The author also advocates the importance of promoting social justice and decent work for all.

The third part «Practical Implementation: How the MCM
and the CIP can be used to facilitate career counseling» comprises three chapters.

In chapter 8, the Career Interest Profile is thoroughly presented. The theoretical and conceptual framework of the CIP is detailed, particularly describing the rationale for using an integrative qualitative-quantitative approach in career counseling. A brief description of the four parts of the CIP is also presented. In addition, potentialities for the administration of the CIP Online are introduced. Finally, the author provides general guidelines for interpreting life stories elicited by the CIP.

Chapter 9 is centred on the Maree Career Matrix (MCM). The chapter starts with the discussion of the use of test scores in conjunction with individuals’ «stories» in career counseling. The theoretical and conceptual framework of the MCM is presented. Then the rationale for the development of the Maree Career Matrix (MCM) is outlined. The author also describes how to interpret the Career Matrix and the importance of identifying the highest interest and confidence scores, irrespective of profile classification. Finally, the psychometric properties of the Maree Career Matrix are presented.

The focus of chapter 10 is integrating stories and scores to promote innovative career counseling in individual and group contexts. The chapter starts with a theoretical overview on enhancing reflection, reflexivity, narratability and autobiographicity. Then the value of integrating qualitative and quantitative group career-counseling outcomes in individual and group contexts is presented. Various guidelines and suggestions for facilitating «best practice» in group career counseling are proposed. Finally, a hard copy of «Reports» is introduced, based on constructing, analysing, and integrating the CIP and MCM.

The fourth part, «From Theory to Practice: Case Studies», comprises one chapter. In chapter 11, the author presents eight case studies that demonstrate the use of integrative qualitative-quantitative career-counseling intervention
to promote innovation in career counseling across the life span.

The fifth part, «Examining the Link between Career Construction Theory and Practice», includes another chapter. In chapter 12, starting from the inspiring career-life story of Dolly Parton, the author demonstrates how theory building in career construction counseling is based on practice.

Finally, the last part, «Closure», includes the closing chapter, which provides a perspective on how to promote understanding and interpretation of the book. The author highlights the value of enhancing the implementation of the integrative approach and offers an examination of the key aspects of the counselor’s role in the career counseling process. This comprehensive work offers valuable inputs regarding both theoretical and practical aspects in relation to career counseling, offering an innovative perspective on counseling for self- and career construction, including the consideration of contextualization, and also underlining the need for an innovative integrated model considering the value of both a qualitative and quantitative approach.

The volume constitutes a fundamental contribution for those who work in the career counseling field: researchers, professionals, students and all those interested in understanding profoundly the wonders of this intervention, thanks to the in-depth perspective of a researcher and professional of extraordinary culture, operational awareness and vision, who is capable of innovating his field of intervention for the benefit of all of us. This book is unique and valuable in its kind, necessary for rekindling the enthusiasm and passion of a crucial area of research and intervention such as career counseling, and exuding from every word of the text is the great experience of an author whose generous life is dedicated to helping and making people’s resources flourish.

Annamaria Di Fabio1

1 University of Florence, Italy.