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Inspiring Your CPD - February 2019

14 02.19

Narrative approaches to career guidance interviewing

This CPD newsletter offers a few suggestions for exploring an aspect of practice that has received increased attention over recent years.

Activities here are simply ideas and are not compulsory. You can choose to do some, all or none; it won’t affect your membership of the CDI whether you take up these ideas or not, although they do reflect good practice.

If you are on the Register then undertaking 25 hours of CPD each year is a condition of your registration. If you are a member then undertaking CPD helps you to adhere to the Continuous Professional Development principle in the CDI Code of Ethics.

Each month, we will suggest CPD activities which will allow you to explore a topic, interact with others and create a reflective record in the Members’ Area of the CDI website. Simply choose the items and activities that suit your role and your style.

All the resources mentioned, and many more, are also accessible with direct links from the CPD Resources area of the Members’ Area of the CDI website.

Please note: the area of the CDI website that contains the Register and CPD records and resources is undergoing development work. Resources are accessible but watch out for a notice warning not to make additions for a short while. All members will be advised when the updated site becomes fully operational.


Why narrative approaches?

 “…narrative approaches to career counselling enlist storytelling processes to assist individuals to construct their future identities.” These words from Story telling: crafting identities (MacMahon & Watson, 2013) capture the sense of why narrative techniques have caught the attention of career guidance practitioners in recent years.


An introduction

The National Guidance Research Forum (NGRF) website has a useful introduction to narrative career counselling, basing the description on Savickas’ use of narrative in career construction, but aligned to the familiar Egan framework. Towards the end, there is a link to a further valuable article published by the former Institute of Career Guidance (a founding body of the CDI).

Savickas himself offers a recording of a talk about the changes in career patterns which lead to the usefulness of story to help people ‘let go of what they did but not who they are’.


Narrative techniques in practice

For a practitioner’s attempt to get to grips with narrative techniques, it is worth reading Tom Staunton’s blogpost Towards a narrative approach to careers interviewing. There is also a useful guide to getting started in Peter Beven’s Narrative approaches and career development planning


Remembering Bill Law

Bill Law was a committed advocate of story-telling, including the specific use of storyboards. Although Bill is much missed, we still have access to his website from which we can extract his work on narrative and storyboards in the form of a monograph and a handbook.


“Personal narrative is the ever-evolving story a person uses to describe and understand his or her life”

This title is a quotation from McIlveen & Patton’s (2007) paper Narrative career counselling: theory and exemplars of practice.


Practice and research

In the CDI’s year of promoting practitioner research, it’s good to flag up practitioners doing just that. The following articles describe in detail two contrasting uses of narrative approaches, and the practitioner research into their effectiveness.

George Dutch: Life story writing for career change: is it effective? A report on research

Franklin, Yanar & Feller: Narrative method of practice increases curiosity and exploration, psychological capital, and personal growth leading to career clarity: a retrospective outcome study


Using our LinkedIn groups

The CDI has a number of LinkedIn groups for members, which are a good place for discussing professional development issues and personal dilemmas with other members. Existing groups are:

National groups Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales

Community of Interest groups Careers Education | Independent Coaches and Consultants | Learning Difficulties and Disabilities | HE Advisers | Research. Visit the Communities of Interest.


Recording and reflecting on CPD

Remember that reading, talking and reflecting all count towards your CPD hours as long as you write a short reflective report in the My CPD section of your ‘My Portfolio’ record.

Accessing the Members’ Area in order to record your CPD – see the note above about the temporary restriction to recording your CPD.


For any questions relating to CPD Recording please contact:

Dr Lyn Barham,

Project Associate (Research)

(If you have any questions relating to this email please contact