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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Knowing Clients: Learning Who You Serve

Updated: Jan 15

Getting to know the client, from the first contact, through intake, and beyond the initial meetings, can generate a variety of thoughts and emotions on the part of the career development professional. Compassion and excitement can become confusion or even an overwhelming sense of doubt and concern as the time with the client develops. Defining who the client is prior to connecting with you takes forethought and a desire to increase an understanding of people today and your role in your own career.

NOTE, with this issue, CDA Insights is now published every other month. The extensive archives offer significant material to continue your professional development during the months when a new issue is not published. On a related note, CDA Insights discontinued the use of Twitter. Please share on other social media, as appropriate. Thank you for your support!

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FOCUS ON: What is Your Scope of Practice?

Working effectively with different clients means knowing the variety of needs, personalities and desires of the people seeking your services. Choosing a scope of practice that meets your own needs, personality and desires, followed by strategically connecting with the chosen clientele, can lead to longer and stronger relationships. Read more about understanding different types of clients.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Balancing the Intake Form

While counselors and coaches need to know demographic information, presenting problems, and well-being background on the client, the intake form must balance the request for data with what the new client is comfortable sharing. Additional considerations include when and how a client completes the form. An online form, available in advance of the first appointment, allows the career development professional time to review the client information and background prior to the first meeting. Of course, another consideration is the ethical practices of the professional. Providing the rights and responsibilities of both parties in the relationship is helpful, as long as it doesn’t include so much detail that it is unreadable. Read more about intake forms from TheraPlatform.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Discovering the Real Problem

Without dismissing the presenting problem, the task of the career professional is to seek a deeper and broader understanding of the client so as to identify and treat the real problem. People have a human need to not feel they are at fault. This causes a lack of admitting a fault or telling the full truth about what is going on. Career coaches should take care before confronting a client with the real problem by presenting it speculatively, employing effective questioning techniques, or subtly framing the treatment tactics. Read more from Changing Minds.

GENDER IN THE WORKPLACE: Assisting Males with Mental Health Issues

Men are less likely to engage in mental health services as compared to other groups. The mental health stigma results in men seeking assistance through career development services. This has caused a narrowing of the gap between mental health and careers. Read more about serving male clients from Career Convergence.

JOB SEARCHING: The Needs and Desires of Two Generations

Wonder why 62% of Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) is looking for a job, either actively or passively, as well as 60% of Millennials? Most likely their search is for better pay (especially noted by women) and the desire to be able to retire earlier. These seekers are also flexible and they are two-times more likely to have a side gig, compared to other generations. Read more about who these clients are that you might be serving from Visual Capitalist.

TOP TEN: Questions to Ask About Culture

Awareness and sensitivity to cultural and ethnic differences is an ethical and essential task of counselors. Questions surrounding family traditions and reason for coming to the US are helpful. Sensitively asking about poor treatment and trauma related to race aids in understanding the roots of the problem. Cultural stigma question also impact the client’s willingness to talk with a counselor. Read all ten before meeting with clients.


“We are great mysteries. No matter what we imagine we may know, event for all the facts we might gather, we don't know each other. Each one of us is a secret, and on that basis we ought to treat each other with the deepest respect." ~ Garrison Keillor
"I don't know what it's like to be you. You don't know what it's like to be me. What if we're all the same in different kinds of ways...can you relate?" ~ "Relate" by King & Country


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