The Exploration of Role Induction As a Potential Method for Improving Men’s Perceptions of Career Counseling.

Work plays a central role in the life of men. Men have been socialized from childhood to connect their sense of self with work, often to the point that one’s identity is found through work (Heppner & Heppner, 2001). A central component to the “code of masculinity” (Pollack & Levant, 1998, p. 1) is the importance of a man’s career. Career decisions and choices influence how men find meaning in their lives, including the creation of a self-identity (Heppner & Heppner, 2001) and the establishment of self-worth (Kelly & Hall, 1992). Although work is socialized to be a vital component in men’s lives, researchers have not fully explored the provision of gender-sensitive career counseling services to men (e.g., Fouad & Kantamneni, 2008). Previous work in these areas has associated traditional male gender roles with educational and career choices (e.g., Jome & Tokar, 1998) as well as career self-efficacy (e.g., Betz, 2008). However, to date, only Rochlen and O’Brien (2002) have investigated whether men consider using career counseling as a service for focusing on career or academic concerns rather than on personal issues. Furthermore, they demonstrated that men preferred a directive style of career counseling over a contextual approach. This finding presents career counselors with an interesting dilemma; vocational psychologists have argued that clients seeking career counseling are more satisfied when it is conducted from a holistic perspective (Swanson, 2002), yet research has indicated that men prefer a more directive style of career counseling that often focuses solely on the presenting concern (Rochlen & O’ Brien, 2002). Men also perceive more stigma (Rochlen, Mohr, & Hargrove, 1999) and have more negative attitudes related to seeking career counseling when compared with women (Fischer & Farina, 1995). The pervasiveness of this problem has led researchers to recommend that counselors present counseling services in alternative formats to increase men’s engagement in the therapeutic process (Kiselica, 2001; Wester, 2008). However, the limited research on the potential efficacy of using alternative practices has been mixed. Rochlen, Blazina, and Raghunathan (2002), for example, found that using a career counseling brochure explaining the career counseling process to potential male clients increased their valuing of career counseling and decreased their stigma toward seeking career counseling, whereas a more gender-specific brochure that addressed male gender role stereotypes was not more effective than a gender-neutral brochure.

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