Session Seven - Solution Focused Counseling (Where do I want to go from here?)

Near the beginning of the session with Solution Focused Counseling … Why not print this off and also review the Theory behind Solution Focused Counseling?

Mary: “You said next time you’d have a strategy for me to pay off my loan and get a great job.”

Joan: “Actually I said we’d work together on this.”

Mary: “Whatever. What have you got for me?”

Joan: “First of all, Mary, (in Solution Focused Counseling) it’s important for you to have a clear picture of what you want.”

Mary: “I want my debts paid off and a good job.”

Joan: “OK, so here is the miracle question - if tonight, a miracle happened and you woke up in your perfect world it would look like…”

Mary: “Easy.

1. I’d be 20 pounds lighter and in shape.

2. My parents would like me – my mom that is – would like me for who I am. A History major with a three year degree.

3. My school debt would be gone.

4. I’d have a wonderful job.

Joan: “Would you say the priority for today is #3 and #4?”

Mary: “Yes because that would likely take care of #1 and #2. Oh yeah, and Andy and I would be married – but I won’t marry him until my debt is paid off. He has enough money trouble, saving up to buy a café.”

Joan: “Great. So let’s look at the job part. What I have collected over the years is a list of jobs that arts majors can get with a three or four year arts degree. The first section is on Policing and Security. You’re a Canadian, right? These outfits are always looking for educated recruits without a criminal record and with good mental health:

- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (

- Ontario Provincial Police (

- Canadian Security Intelligence Service (

- Regional Police. For example, Peel (

- Canadian Armed Forces ("

Mary: “I have no interest in these. None whatsoever. No offence but …”

Joan: “None taken. I go with the motto ‘If you don’t know what your options are, you don’t have any.’ Banking? I have a list of five banks and security places that get a five start rating in ‘The Canadian Career Directory.’

Canadian Career Directory

Mary: “I’m an artsy. Hate math.”

Joan: “You don’t have to be an economist or mathematician, and you can move up the ranks pretty quickly if you are keen.”

Mary: “Nope.”

Joan: “Ok, next on my list. With one or two more years of school you can do the following – even with an arts degree:

- Law school (

- Teachers’ College (

- Graduate School (

- Masters of Social Work. For example, Wilfred Laurier. (

- Masters of Librarial Science. For example, Western (

Mary: “I guess you didn’t hear the part about me needing to make money and get a job – not going back to school. Honestly Joan, I know you mean well but I am burned out and broke.”

Teaching In Korea

Access South Korea Now

Joan: “How about a job where:

1. You travel abroad.

2. Your flight is paid there and back.

3. Your accommodation is provided – gratis –and they may even serve you one meal a day.

4. Taxes are only 3 to 4 %.

5. You have a job where everyone looks up to you.

6. You work less than eight hours a day, five days a week.

7. You are paid professional wages.

8. The cost of living is quite cheap.”

Mary: “What, drug smuggling in South American?!”

Joan: “Absolutely not. In fact the very opposite. Teaching in Korea!” Mary: “Are you on drugs? I’m sorry, that was rude. But:

1. I don’t have a teaching certificate.

2. I have only a three year degree.

3. I have no idea how to do the visa thing.

4. My partner only has a two year college degree.

5. I don’t speak Korean.

6. I have a cat and a dog and a guinea pig and a cockatiel.

7. How would I find an apartment?

8. Koreans don’t generally like North Americans.”

Joan: “You don’t need a teaching certificate, a three year degree is fine, the agency who hires you will help you through the visa thing, you don’t have to speak Korean, and your school will get an apartment for you. And, what was the other thing? Right. Koreans are warming up to North Americans. I’ve known students – one of whom is my son – who had no problem there whatsoever with attitudes toward him.

The partner and the pets – that’s a bit more of a challenge.”

Mary: “I’m sunk. I looked on the website you so highly recommended for finding a good job in Canada. Nothing for me. The only job for a history major required 4 years of experience! And the call centers and Timmies? Not for me either.”

Joan: “Mary, what IS for you?! Every job is going to have its challenges. It’s figuring out what challenges you can live with. And actually, you love Asian culture and history.” Mary is crying now. Joan is not stressed by this. Mary needs to let go of her almost reflect negativity before she’ll be able to look for a workable situation - to benefit from solution focused counseling. And Joan is compassionate - Mary truly has a very big challenge on her hands.

Joan: “Here’s a thought. For homework this week I want you to contact Jason at See what he has to say about your situation and the possibilities. You can borrow a book on this from our lending library called, ‘Great Jobs for Arts Majors.’ And I want you to go on the web to check out the links on the handout I’m going to email to you called – no surprise – ‘Great Jobs for Arts Majors’. Mary: “You get paid a percentage or something?!”

Joan: “No. But I do like to refer to people and products I know will be helpful and knowledgeable. If you decide to teach in Korea, you don’t have to go through “asknow” – but they have an informative website. Nor do you have to follow the advice in the book or the websites. There are other options too, like asking your profs, your colleagues, the career center, going on and so on.”

Mary: “Been there, done that. The general consensus is more schooling or working outside of my field in administrative stuff. Not my thing.”

Session Seven with Solution Focused Counseling begins to conclude ...

Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water. - Antoine Rivarol

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