Career counseling is often overly associated with “test-and-tell” (Preble, 2015) psychometrics such as interest inventories and personality assessments. Many leading scholars and practitioners have advocated for the addition of alternative approaches and methods, especially in this postmodern, post-recession world of work. Pyle and Hayden have afforded counselors and those in related helping professions insights for the use of groups in career development through group career counseling (GCC).
Group Career Counseling: Practices and Principles provides ample information to practitioners in a straightforward, inviting, logically sequenced and useful fashion. Pyle and Hayden organized the text in a manner that allows material to flow. First, the authors provided readers with background information that includes the aims of GCC. Then specific examples of practice, the discussion of probable settings and strategies and different applications follow. The incorporation of a spectrum of GCC foci, ranging from cognitive to affective, allows counselors to identify the appropriate type of group counseling topic for each assemblage. Finally, Pyle and Hayden demonstrated how group career counseling applies to multiple orientations and theoretical foundations through a discussion of a multitude of counseling theories—which include the full traditional gamut from Freudian Psychoanalytic to Glasser’s Reality Therapy—and career development theories—RIASEC to SCCT—with applications for each, respectively.
Pyle and Hayden aimed to promote group career counseling with goals of developing understanding, facilitating use, and catering to the needs of professional counselors. The authors differentiated group counseling from group guidance, and produced a rationale and clear definition for the former. The text espoused the benefits of GCC through a focus on basic principles. Pyle and Hayden equipped readers with a highly-detailed, scripted example comprised of multiple group sessions, and thought-out activities which could be adjusted and marketed for use in various settings. In addition, the format allows for ease of reproduction, so an individual may copy a section of the text for use in practice. Finally, references act as a database for individuals wanting more information on group counseling.
Strengths abound. Pyle and Hayden not only added to the literature regarding career development, group counseling and counseling methods, but furnished counselors with just the right amount of useful information to increase knowledge and support practice. Well organized and thought-out, with careful attention to support both practitioner and counselees, Group Career Counseling allows for the adoption, expansion and ease of facilitation. To add, the work serves as an easy-to-use reference for both scholar and practitioner, both a manual to review while preparing for a session and a resource guiding individuals toward further source materials.
Some may argue that limitations exist. For example, Pyle and Hayden did not address feminist and multicultural counseling theories. However, discussions regarding intake considerations, group settings and strategies for implementation suggest awareness of said approaches. Moreover, others may maintain that the authors fell short by not including data demonstrating the statistical significance of this approach. That said practitioners could quite easily employ their own metrics to determine the impact of GCC on their respective populations.
In the final analysis, I strongly recommend Group Career Counseling for both licensed professional counselors, school counselors at multiple levels, and various other helping professionals who focus on career development interests. Concise, efficient, informative and useful, Group Career Counseling: Practices and Principles could foster the implementation of group counseling, diversify current practices, and allow for greater employability within multiple populations.
Pyle, K. R., & Hayden, S. C. W. (2015). Group career counseling: Practices and principles (2nd edition). Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association.
Reviewed by: Brian C. Preble, Old Dominion University
The Professional Counselor