My System of Career Influence (MSCI) Workshop

the workshop was interesting, insightful and informative. I learned a lot from this workshop.

Julia Makwena Hlahla

Wonderful training session. Thank you!

Kersha Mintram

Career development:  The third wave – constructivism
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a workshop held by Professor Mark Watson of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on the ‘My System of Career Influences’ (MSCI). The MSCI is a qualitative career assessment tool grounded in the System Theory Framework (STF) of career development (Patton & McMahon, 2006), and based on constructivist theory, which is seen as the third wave in cognitive science (after psychoanalysis and behaviourism).

Constructivism acknowledges that individuals participate actively in the construction of their own reality, and it emphasises the personal and contextual nature of career development.  In other words, career decisions are not made in isolation but are influenced, among others, by your family, your friends, your environment and society.

In addition to the theoretical basis of the MSCI, Professor Watson also introduced us to the practical application of the MSCI, namely storytelling. When working with the MSCI, clients tell their ‘story’ by reflecting on various areas in their life and completing a number of diagrams related to these areas. This information is then used to detect patterns and themes, which will be explored in the counselling process. New connections can be made and new meanings can be constructed that may influence and aid in the career decision making process.  For example, clients may realise after completing the MSCI that influences from family and friends affect their career decision in ways that they had not thought of before.  As Professor Watson put it in his presentation:  using the MSCI results in moving from “objectivity to subjectivity, from scores to stories.”  For many of us, who are mainly quantitatively trained, this process represented an interesting, positive mind shift.

During the workshop we worked through a number of different case studies (the MSCI is available for adolescents and adults), which further increased our awareness of the importance of the individuals’ contexts, and the influence external factors have on their career decision. Overall, the delegates agreed:  qualitative and quantitative career assessments complement each other well.  By using both, the ‘scores’ and the ‘stories’, we can assist clients in making more integrative and holistic career decisions.

We are looking forward to the advanced workshop in 2015.

Curious about the MSCI?  Below are some references for further reading:

McMahon, M., & Patton, W. (Eds.). (2006). Career counselling: Constructivist approaches. London: Routledge .

Patton, W., & McMahon, M. (2014). Career development and systems theory: Connecting theory and practice (3rd ed.).  Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Patton, W., & McMahon, M. (2006). Career development and systems theory: Connecting theory and practice (2nd d ed.).  Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Elke Chrystal

Thank you. I really appreciated being able to participate in a career counselling training session facilitated by an experienced professional.

Lynn Enraght-Moony

Prof Watson presented a well-balanced workshop. He integrated psychometric assessment and narrative career counselling very well.

Hannelie (J.A.) Knoetze

Fantastic training in an area that is so relevant to South Africa! I feel equipped with a helpful methodology!

Ashley Motene

The expert professionalism of the presentation and the presenter is greatly appreciated.

Melany Constantinou

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