Clients background

Client's background

My client is a 23-year-old male. He is studying Counselling and Psychology in Hong Kong Shue Yan University which is the final year. He is last child in his family. His family member includes two older sisters and mother since his father was died in 2004. About my observation, he tends to use a rational mind to face everything and is lack of emotional expression. In our sessions, he performed rationally and was rare to talk about his feelings and emotions. He seemed to use his rational mind to hide his emotions or is used to analyze everything rationally rather than feel everything. I would like to explore in the session.

Brief description of the sessions

I had met him three sessions totally. Every session was about 45 minutes. In the sessions, I used my attending skills such as eye contact and attentive body language and reflection of meaning and feeling in order to let him to feel good and talk more. Moreover, I never judged him in the sessions in which developing a safe and comfortable environment for him to express himself. At the beginning of the second and third sessions, I also summed up what we talked in the last session in order to remind his memory of the sessions. To sum up, I would like to make him to feel safe and comfortable so that he can talk his own feeling and thinking smoothly.

Since we met each other and had a basic understanding of each other. Therefore, we could save time on initial understanding and building a trust relationship in the first session. The focus of the first session put on what problems he is facing in career. Rapidly, we degreed and confirmed that the focus of the following counseling sessions would be the career problems expected after his graduation. Then, I briefly understood the career problems he faced which he makes an indifferent decision on choosing counseling or business as his career. He rationally analyzed all the reasons why he would like to choose counseling or business. For example, he would like to choose counseling since he is studying counseling now so that he would like to apply what he learnt. On the other hand, he would like to choose business since creating ideas in business such as ideas for improving business volume is his interest and strength. Moreover, the working experience in counseling field will not be counted if he applies the jobs in business field. Therefore, he could not make a clear decision between counseling and business. A simply self-assessment was used. (see Appendix A) I asked him to write down five objects which are important for him in the career. He wrote job satisfaction, future potential of promotion, income, interest and the relationship with colleagues. Then, I asked him to give an order to them. He gave the objects in the following orders: interest, the relationship with colleagues, future potential of promotion, income and job satisfaction. Finally, we agreed that we would talk about his family and draw genogram (family map) in the next session. Besides, I promised him to find the personality test of Holland for him to understand more his interest.

In the second session, we put the focus on the effect of significant others to his career choice. At the beginning, I summed up what we talked in the first session. After that, I asked him what opinions his significant others such as partner, friends and family members provided. He said that his partner and friends knew his concern, however, they also had no directive or clear suggestion to select counseling or business. Then, we talked about his family opinions while we drew the family map. (see Figure 1) I knew that his family also provided no guidance or suggestion to his career choice. Besides, he has no financial stress from the family since his two sisters were older about 15 years than him. They also have stable works and income, especially his oldest sister is an accountant which has an appreciable income. Thus, he is no need to worry about his family finance. Moreover, he said that his family has no special expectation of career choice to him. The only expectation is that he can be financially self-sufficient. On the other hand, I knew from the family map that the poor communication situation between all family members. No family member would share own feeling and thinking to each other, even his deceased father also had poor communication with them. For example, they are no interaction when they have dinner, especially him and his two older sisters. However, there is an exception which his mother has a close relationship with all family members. This session let me to understand him more in which his family how to affect his career choice.

In the third session, I did self-assessment with him again. (see Appendix B) Similarly, I asked him to write down five objects which are important for him in his life. He wrote family, money, fun, friends and health. Then, I asked him to give an order to them. He gave the objects in the following orders: family, friends, money, fun, and health. Similar to the self-assessment we did, he was difficult to make orders to the objects since he had no idea what objects are important. I was impressive and asked him to explore more on this topic. We agreed that. Then, he mentioned why he does not what is important to him. He thought that his mother also prepared everything to him so that he never needed to choose and learnt how to choose. He gave an example. When he was graduation in form five, he would like to work or study in the information technology and forgave to study in form six. However, his parents were against his choice and hoped that he could study in form six. This situation improved when he was studying in university. His mother reduced the control on him, however, he still does not know how to select. In this session, I could obtain a clear and concrete understanding to his problem.

Assessment Used

Two self-assessments, genogram (family map), and the Holland personality test (see Appendix C) were used in this career counseling.


According to Zunker (2006), self-assessment techniques provide alternative method for client to realistically and appropriately evaluate self. Self-assessment increases one's self-awareness and provides direction for expanding its growth. In the process of self-assessment, clients can identify the problems because of increase in self-awareness.

Actually, I noticed the problem of low self-awareness of him from the two self-assessments. He also said that he did not know what objects are important to him in the two self-assessments. The self-assessments not only increase his self-awareness but also increase my understanding of the client and make a clearer and more concrete conceptualization to him.

Genogram (Family Map)

According to Murdock (2009), genogram can help counselor to understand the various relationships between the family members of the client. Moreover, genogram can provide basic information of the client's family and family members.

I had an assumption before the counseling sessions. I thought that family play a significant effect to people especially the career issue. Therefore, I hoped to understand my client and collect his information about career from his family. Actually, I knew not only relationships between family members and their basic information but also the family expectation to him, the communication condition of his family and financial situation of the family. Therefore, it is very helpful and effective tool.

Holland personality test

Lawrence (2009) mentioned the Holland's theory of career choice in his web site. In Holland's theory, six basic types of personality and work environments can be summarized which are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Simply, if one's personality type matches with an appropriate type of work environment, he/she will be likely to succeed and satisfy in the career.

I found modified Holland's personality test edited by Prof. Wong Chi Sum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the web site of STFA Lee Shau Kee College. According to the result of him, he almost scored equally in the six types of personality. He scored 31 marks in Enterprising and 34 marks in Social which Enterprising represents business occupations and social simply represents social occupations. Therefore, it is almost indifferent for him to choose business occupations or social occupations. However, the personality type of artistic is obviously lower than others. This represents that he is rare to develop his emotional and feeling ability, and put attention to his emotions and feelings

Proposed Conceptualization

According to Laura (2007), Erikson mentioned that the psychological conflict of identity versus role confusion would occur in stage of adolescence which is between 11 to 18 years old. My client said that he started to resist his mother's control when he was form three. Obviously, he sought for his own identity in the way of coming off from his mother's control, especially his mother always prepared everything to him. Although he comes off from his mother's control now, his own identity still was not developed fully.

According to Zunker (2006), Super claimed that self-concept is am core element. Self-concept is developed by individual's developmental experience such as internal factors (personality, values and perceptions) and external factors (general environment, family and peer groups). In the case of my client, his mother always prepared everything to him. Therefore, he was rare opportunity to choose what he prefers and likes. Each opportunity of choosing would contribute to our self-awareness and self-concept. Moreover, his family has poor communication style which rarely communicates with each others except his mother. He was rare to talk about his emotions, feelings and thoughts. Especially, his affective ability was developed poorly. Therefore, he only uses his rational mind to face everything he met. Similar, each opportunity of communication would contribute to our self-awareness and self-concept. Obviously, his self-concept was underdeveloped, especially the affective side of him. Since his family always prepared everything to him and has poor communication style, he was rare opportunity to develop his self-concept. This is the reason that he could not make decision on either counseling or business as well as make clear orders to the objects in the two self-assessments.


In general, I feel pleased for my performance. I always reminded myself that I could not intend to help him solve his problem because I would finish my homework. I am always aware of myself that I could not have this intention. I think I could achieve that I put my attention on the client's benefits in the career counseling sessions.

However, I had a lot of assumptions toward him since we met already before the sessions. Sometime, those assumptions would hinder me to understand and conceptualize his career problem. For example, I made a different conceptualization to his problems in the third session. I honestly disclosed this conceptualization to him in order to collect his opinions. However, he said another conceptualization of his problem. To me, it was more rational than mine. Moreover, I used many skills of interpretation in the three sessions based on my assumptions toward him. I could not prove they whether corrected or not. However, those assumptions affected my quality of counseling.


Although I did not help him make decision to choose counseling or business, I gave insights to him that he needed to put more efforts on developing his self-concept and increase self-awareness. He could not make decision to choose counseling or business and give orders to the objects due to his underdeveloped self-concept and lack of self-awareness, especially on the affective side.


  • Berk, L. E. (2007). Development Through the Lifespan. (4th Ed). USA: Person.
  • J ones, L. K. (2009). Holland's Theory of Career Choice and You. Retrieved from The Career Key:
  • STFA Lee Shau Kee College. WCIAQ personality test. Retrieved from
  • Murdock, N. (2009). Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy (2nd Ed). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Person.
  • Zunker, Vernon G. (2006). Career Counseling (7th Ed). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company

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