Nota, L. & Rossier, J. (Eds). (2014). Handbook of the life design paradigm: From practice
to theory, from theory to practice. Göttingen: Hogrefe. 438 pages.
Life Design (LD) represents a new paradigm for career counseling and development in the 21st century. The LD paradigm augments 20th-century Person-Environment (P-E) fit and developmental models by focusing on making meaning through work. LD emerged from work by an international group of over 25 scholars and practitioners in more than ten countries to better account for the complexities of work and careers brought about by today’s economic conditions, globalization, and the digital revolution (Savickas et al., 2009). People today experience a new social arrangement of work that moves from permanent to temporary jobs, from linear to dynamic career trajectories, and from specific career knowledge to lifelong learning. Advancing the LD paradigm, the Handbook of the Life Design Paradigm (Nota & Rossier, 2014)offers a new and essential resource for those working to improve career services in line with today’s challenges and conditions.
LD emphasizes the need to support people to become experts in constructing their life-careers, to anticipate and deal with transitions, and to create hope for a meaningful future. Career adaptability is considered the contemporary worker’s essential skill to accomplish these goals. Career practitioners and researchers increasingly use the new LD paradigm and methods derived from it to help clients deal with job changes and better design their lives. In so doing, they consider contextual possibilities, dynamic processes, nonlinear life-career progressions, multiple perspectives, and personal patterns (Savickas et al. 2009). Now, under the careful editorship of Laura Nota and Jerome Rossier, a new volume entitled Handbook of the life design paradigm: From practice to theory, from theory to practice constitutes a major international effort to further advance the LD paradigm both conceptually and practically since it was first introduced in 2009.
The Book's Structure and Content
The book contains three sections:
Life Design Paradigm;
Life Design Across the Life Span; and
Life Design Intervention and Activities Across Contexts.
Section 1 contains five chapters that describe the rationale for and major characteristics of the paradigm. These chapters also describe interventions to help individuals living in the constant change and mobility of “liquid modernity” to face their life and career designing issues and support them in their job and career searches. Topics addressed (with authors in parentheses) include:
Major career paradigms from vocational guidance to career development to life design dialogues (Guichard).
Career management at the individual and organizational levels, and the need for career counseling to stimulate positive person-environment interactions, promote career behaviors, and focus on developing and applying different resources for positive career development (Hirschi & Dauwalder).
Linking career theory and practice through selected strategies aimed to reduce the gap between them (Duarte & Cardoso).
Career counseling practice guidelines, such as the importance of connecting meaning and action, as well as focusing on client experience through a dialogical process of reflexivity (Pouyaud).
A personal approach to narrative career counseling that considers an eclectic mix of narrative interventions suited to client needs (Watson & McMahon).
Section 2 contains four chapters describing life designing from childhood through adulthood. Topics addressed include:
Engaging children to move toward key life design goals of activity, adaptability, narratability, and intentionality and eventually experience satisfaction and success in their adult work careers (Hartung).
Three types of career intervention with adolescents– vocational guidance, career education, and career counseling – with practical suggestions and a case example that explore aspects of self as actor, agent, and author (Vilhjálmsdóttir).
School-to-work transition as it occurs in modern Western societies, focusing on individuals, contexts, and their interaction (Masdonati & Fournier).
Needs of adults living in risk societies and qualitative methods, such as biographical bricolage, to engage them in dialogue with their own self as a source for making new choices and taking action (Savickas).
Section 3 contains seven chapters that deal with Life Design interventions across contexts. Topics include:
Career adaptability and its relation to other variables, positive related outcomes of it (like work engagement), and interventions to increase it (Rossier).
Coaching support techniques illustrated through a case study of an adult client (VanEsbroeck & Augustijnen).
Prevention within the life design approach using examples of interventions such as a ten-unit program for elementary school children (Nota, Ginevra, & Santilli).
Career self-regulation in unemployment using an intervention model that emphasizes clients’ core values and strengths to help them attain primary goals (Van Vianen, Koen, & Klehe).
People with disabilities and counseling strategies to support their work inclusion (Ferrari, Sgaramella, & Soresi).
Impoverished contexts and developing countries with respect to how life designing applies in these circumstances (Maree).
Multicultural perspectives, with research on gender and country variables (Tien).
Core competencies needed for life design counseling: reflexivity and dialogical interpretation serve as objectives for turning applied research into a training agenda (McIlveen).
Collectively, the book’s three sections aim to further develop the LD paradigm, compare it with other contemporary approaches, promote reflexivity between practice and theory, and advance a conceptual framework and intervention tools for career counseling in contemporary times. These aims are well met, making the volume a must read for all career development professionals and students alike. It can be used by university students facing the profession and the professionals who want to be updated on the consultancy activities more in tune with the current times in order to answer questions from their clients.
Savickas, M. L., Nota, L., Rossier, J., Dauwalder, J.-P., Duarte, E., Guichard, J., … van Vianen, A. E. M. (2009). Life designing: A paradigm for career construction in the 21st century. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75, 239-250. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2009.04.004
Sara Santilli, Ph.D. student at Doctoral School of Psychological Sciences at Padua University, post graduate degree in Career Counseling at the University of Padova, collaborates with La.R.I.O.S. (Laboratory of Research and Intervention in Vocational Guidance), University of Padova, Italy, in the organization of vocational guidance projects and research concerning disability, career guidance and job placement. She can be reached at: E-mail: email@example.com