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Assessment, Goal Setting, and Review in Counseling


Counseling phases and their relationship with theoretical and practical implications are of exceptional interest to researchers worldwide. Successful consultation outcomes are highly dependent on various factors, even such as advisor’s attitudes (Clark, Moe, & Hays, 2017, p. 259). Proper understanding of the client’s needs, expectations, and views are essential for providing effective career advice, especially considering disadvantaged individuals. In this paper, three phases of a session, assessment, goal setting, and review will be discussed. In addition, the client characteristics and counselor workplace factors will be described in the context of my future practice.

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Theory Options

Exploring the possible theoretical explanations is highly important prior to the session. According to Rochat (2019), correct evaluation of the client’s needs and difficulties related to career choice is the first step to a proper counseling session (p. 206). In order to provide effective solutions and outline the best professional choices, the career advisor must be capable of researching the underlying issues behind the client’s indecisiveness (Rochat, 2019, p. 206). The Career Decision‐Making Difficulties Questionnaire (CDDQ) has been shown to be extremely successful for such purposes (Rochat, 2019, p. 207). This method is based on the theory of decision-making difficulties implemented by Gati, Krausz, and Osipow (1996). Overall, evaluating the client’s needs and general expectations is a critical factor in the counseling process.

Stating the goals to be achieved in the counseling process is especially vital for any practitioner. As explained by Rochat (2019), the CDDQ can be of great use for the advisor, as it provides the information necessary to establish a working alliance with the client (p. 213). Agreement on the aims of counseling requires specific information about the customer’s professional problems and their impact on everyday life, which is accessible through the results of CDDQ (Rochat, 2019, p. 213). Moreover, the life-design approach confirms the necessity of correct goal setting, as it outlines the methods appropriate for a specific counseling scenario (Cardoso, 2016, p. 55). It is clear that the necessity of a goal setting phase is crucial in professional consulting practice.

It is imperative to consider the final stages of a career guidance session. Atli (2016) states the affluence of the last stage of counseling using the trait-factor theory (p. 1838). In this approach, the termination stage is described as an “individual’s matching of the information about himself and output that he derived from the information on careers” (Atli, 2016, p. 1838). Successful completion of the session requires the client to reminisce on the details discussed and apply them according to particular interests and abilities.

Practitioner Beliefs

A professional’s beliefs and attitudes towards the specifics of their field of work are one of the factors that should be taken into consideration. According to research, a counselor may encounter specific bias-related difficulties during practice, such as misconceptions about poverty and an individual’s social standing (Clark et al., 2017, p. 260). Such beliefs towards specific clients can negatively influence the advisor’s practice, for example, during the assessment phase (Clark et al., 2017, p. 262). The practitioner might provide an inaccurate analysis of particular needs, leading to an improper goal setting (Clark et al., 2017, p. 262). In relation to the review phase, such misconceptions might cause disagreement between the advisor’s results and the client’s views, producing a negative session outcome.

Client Characteristics

Professional affluence is particularly dependent on the choice of an appropriate client population. In my practice, I would like to focus on assisting people with disabilities who are in search of a suitable occupation. Disadvantaged individuals are in exceptional need of support and guidance concerning job opportunities, as they require special assessment procedures (Lombardi, Dougherty, & Monahan 2018, p. 89). In my opinion, it is necessary to present disadvantaged clients with more sophisticated professional goal setting scenarios and self-evaluation options.

Due to the specifics of working with disabled individuals, I might encounter several client issues. Disadvantaged people have been shown to exhibit higher anxiety levels and self-injury, which is an additional complication to the counseling process (Coduti, Hayes, Locke, & Youn, 2016, p. 60). Furthermore, career development for such individuals can be incredibly challenging and connected to cases of discrimination and job dissatisfaction (Dispenza, Brennaman, Harper, Harrigan, Chastain, & Procter, 2019, p. 105). I plan to address these difficulties by acquiring specific knowledge through extensive academic and practical research.

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Counsellor Workplace

Given the client population’s particularities, my counselor’s workplace should be readily available for people with disabilities. Research shows that disclosing the affliction can be of tremendous hardship, meaning that the space in which the individual receives the consultation must be perceived as safe and discrete (Coduti et al., 2016, p. 289). I believe that the workplace should be close to a medical institution that the disadvantaged people attend, so that they are ensured about their confidentiality and receive the help needed.


To conclude, this paper discussed the theoretical and practical implications of theoretical and empirical research on three phases of counseling: assessment, goal setting, and review. The stages described are of exceptional importance to the process of consultation, as they provide the information necessary for the successful establishment of client-counselor trust. In addition, the main practitioner beliefs and their influence on the overall procedure of career advisement were explained. Finally, I have presented my expectations to work with the disadvantaged clientele and obtain an appropriate workplace for successful counseling.

Counseling Phases Theory Practitioner Beliefs Client Characteristics Counsellor Workplace (Context)
Assessment Career Decision-Making Difficulties Social status bias Anxiety, self-harm tendencies Safety, discretion
Goal setting Life Design
Career Decision-Making Difficulties
Personal attitudes Disability type, negative expectations Opportunities overview
Review Trait-Factor Theory Social status bias Anxiety, self-evaluation Safety, discretion

Table 1. Phases of Counseling.


Atli, A. (2016). The effects of trait-factor theory based career counseling sessions on the levels of career maturity and indecision of high school students. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4(8), 1837-1847. Web.

Cardoso, P. (2016). Integrating life-design counseling and psychotherapy: Possibilities and practices. The Career Development Quarterly, 64(1), 49-63. Web.

Clark, M., Moe. J., & Hays, D. (2017). The relationship between counselors’ multicultural counseling competence and poverty beliefs. Counselor Education and Supervision, 56(4), 259-273. Web.

Coduti, W. A., Hayes. A., Locke, B. D. & Youn, S. J. (2016). Mental health and professional help-seeking among college students with disabilities. Rehabilitation Psychology, 61(3), 288-296. Web.

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Dispenza, F., Brennaman, C., Harper, L. S., Harrigan, M. A., Chastain, T. E., & Procter. J. E. (2019). Career development of sexual and gender minority persons living with disabilities. The Counseling Psychologist, 47(1), 98-128. Web.

Gati, I., Krausz, M. & Osipow. S. H. (1996). A taxonomy of difficulties in career decision making. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43(4), 510-530. Web.

Lombardi, A. R., Dougherty, S. M., & Monahan. J. (2018). Students with intellectual disabilities and career and technical education opportunities: A systematic literature review. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 29(2), 82-96. Web.

Rochat, S. (2019). The career decision-making difficulties questionnaire: A case for item-level interpretation. The Career Development Quarterly, 67(3), 205-219. Web.

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