Book Review—The Career Counseling Casebook

The Career Counseling Casebook, edited by Spencer G. Niles, Jane Goodman and Mark Pope, is a second-edition compendium of vignettes that encompass virtually all aspects of career counseling. The editors address all areas of life–career development within a wide range of contexts, and present these areas to represent lifespan career development issues for work with clients of all ages. Case contexts include elementary, secondary and higher education; vocational and rehabilitative counseling; and agency, nonprofit and private practice environments.

Responses to each case are provided by leaders throughout the counseling profession, who present varying perspectives on the issues presented in the cases. The responses are not textbook-style theoretical examples. Instead they incorporate integrative approaches that are more realistic and relevant to counselors’ everyday work with clients. Respondents sometimes agree with each other and at other times differ significantly in their approaches to counseling, providing ideal opportunities for discussion with counseling students in either the classroom or as part of internships and supervision.

The new edition of The Career Counseling Casebook addresses contemporary, timely concerns about career from a diverse group of clients. The case descriptions provide adequate background information for each client so that the reader can gain understanding of his or her values and perspective, but the case descriptions also clearly delineate boundaries between career and other types of counseling. The case studies are broadly based and encompass all aspects of diversity, including age, which makes this book an excellent resource for teaching students who are studying all areas of specialization within the counseling profession. The inclusion of a wide range of gender identifications and sexual preferences is particularly valuable in working with counseling students. In addition, the Casebook is a prized resource for career counselors working with the growing number of clients in mid-career and encore careers. Respondents incorporate relevant and timely utilization of assessments into many of the cases. The respondents also provide a multitude of resources that students and practitioners may use to learn more.

A weakness of the Casebook is the lack of consistency in its response format, which makes it somewhat difficult to compare responses across cases. For example, comparing the application of theoretical framework among the cases can be challenging. Also, in one case, a respondent appears to resort to generalizations regarding a client and draws seemingly presumptuous conclusions. A final limitation—maintaining the timeliness and relevance of the cases—is unavoidable, but can be addressed with consistent revisions to The Career Counseling Casebook.

One significant strength of this new resource is that it moves beyond the abstract to the real practice of counseling; the Casebook bridges the gap between the theoretical and clinical applications. The editors integrate theoretical approaches into many cases by presenting them as realistic situations ranging from simple to quite complex. The Casebook reiterates and advances the National Career Development Association’s Career Counseling Competencies Minimum Competencies for Multicultural Career Counseling and Development. Furthermore, the Casebook’s story-telling format is engaging and presents many of the challenges facing career counselors throughout their careers.

Reviewed by: Peggy Dupey, NCC, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV.

Niles, S. G., Goodman, J., & Pope, M. (2013). The career counseling casebook: A resource for students, practitioners, and counselor educators (2nd ed.). Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association.

The Professional Counselor

http://tpcjournal.nbcc.org