top of page
  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Dysfunctional Thoughts: Hindrances to Successful Career Problem Solving

Because life isn't always rosy, we may need to take time to look at what is interfering with the chance of a positive outcome to a career decision, change, or aspiration. Career practitioners have said it is better to move toward something than run away from something, and this applies to case of dysfunctional thoughts. Facing them, examining their source, and implementing interventions may remove the hindrance. Sure, you'd rather stop and smell the roses. Just remember that gently touching the thorns gives you knowledge too!

~ Melanie Reinersman, M.A.,

Photo by jon bagnato on Unsplash

FOCUS ON: The Impact of Dysfunctional Career Thoughts

Research clearly shows the effect of dysfunctional career thoughts on the individual's ability to make career decisions. Learning to challenge such thoughts, followed by reframing, can help the individual successfully defend against the negative effects of dysfunctional career thoughts. Read more from CareerWise.

JOB SEARCHING: Counteract Hopelessness

Depression often hinders the job search due to hopeless thoughts about the potential outcome of job seeking efforts. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) aims to change thought patterns while developing coping mechanisms to overcome dysfunctional thoughts. Because it is effective at reducing anxiety and depression, it is useful for aiding clients during the job search process. Read more about CBT.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Measuring Negative Thoughts

The Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI) is one option for assessing a client's dysfunctional thoughts. The instrument is self-administered and intended for either high school or college students, and working adults. Scoring is simple, but professional assistance is recommended. Read the full review from ERIC.

BONUS! FOR PRACTITIONERS: The Role of Communication Apprehension

Research results indicate that individuals with high levels of communication apprehension (CA) had a higher amount of negative career thoughts than persons with low levels. CA refers to an individual’s level of fear or anxiety associated with communicating with others, but is not the same as “stage fright” or “performance anxiety”. CA may “freeze” persons as they seek to share their career thoughts, ideas, and visions. Increased awareness of this connection is suggested for counselors when aiding clients facing career decisions. Possible interventions include mock interviews, anxiety reduction workshops, and mental health counseling. Read more in this technical report from Florida State University (FSU).

TOP TEN: Distorted Thinking Patterns

Cognitive distortions may include overgeneralizations, catastrophizing and polarized thinking, Less obvious patterns include mind reading and labeling. Read all ten from Healthline.


"Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss." ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“Negativity, in general, is one of the things that holds people back, and you have to see what's holding you back to get away from it.” ~ Lucy Dacus



bottom of page