Book by K Richard Pyle
Review by Deborah Renner Hull Ed.D.
General Academic Programs
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX

Some book titles are created to draw readers in by their mysterious allusions to earth-shattering revelations of new discoveries…not this one.  What you see is exactly what you get.

Pyle’s presentation of the practices and principles of group counseling on career issues is straightforward, easy to digest, and founded upon respected and time tested psychological theories.

For academic advisors who are Licensed Professional Counselors, this book provides recommendations on organizing and facilitating groups, as well as scripted exercises for self-assessment, interests and abilities, and decision-making.  According to Gordon, et al, 2008, out of 100 undergraduate students, 25 will seek career guidance (p. 461).  As advisors are asked to take on additional responsibility for assisting students with career decisions (Gordon, 2006; Gore, et al, 2005), it is important to know the limits of one’s scope of practice.  By reviewing the CAS Standards for Academic Advising (http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/Research_Related/CASStandardsForAdvising.pdf), it is clear that advisors are not counselors, but have many of the same responsibilities and techniques in common.

Pyle includes a graphic to illustrate the similarities and differences between group counseling and group career counseling (page 2).  I found it interesting that many of the statements pertaining to group career counseling are applicable to the work advisors do one-on-one with their students.  For example:
Source of Information:  self-knowledge and facts about education and occupational options.
Group process goals:  build trust; stimulate thinking; increase comfort with decision-making skills; develop action plans.
Outcome:  decrease anxiety level; enhance self-confidence; enhance career awareness and adjustment.

Pyle also provides an overview of theoretical foundations (Chapter 6).  His explanation of Rational-Emotive (RET) Group Therapy was closest to my experiences working with students struggling with major and career decisions.  “It is safe to assume that most clients…have some irrational beliefs about the world of work….”

Examples of the beliefs are:
(1) There is a perfect job for me.
(2) Happiness is entirely based upon making a lot of money.
(3) Achieving a career goal should be free of stress and anxiety.
(4) Making a decision limits me from considering anything else later in life.
(5) Choosing the right career goal is primarily luck.
(6) Assessment or test results are indisputable and can accurately determine a career direction.
(page 35).

The list of references is valuable for anyone seeking additional information on career development and includes Frank Parsons, John Krumboltz, Donald Super, Mark Savikas, and many others (pages 39-42).

Overall, this book provides some value to academic advisors who are embracing career advising as part of their scope of practice, yet it is not one that I consider a “must read”.


CAS Standards for Academic Advising (http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/Research_Related/CASStandardsForAdvising.pdf).  Retrieved – March 23, 2009 from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site.

Gore, Paul A., Jr. (Ed.). (2005). Facilitating the career development of students in transition (Monograph No. 43). Columbia, SC: University of South Caroline, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Gordon, Virginia N. (2006). Career advising: An academic advisor’s guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Gordon, Virginia N., Wesley R. Habley, Thomas J. Grites, and Associates. (2008). Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook, Second edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Group career counseling: Practices and principles.  (2007). Book by K Richard Pyle, Ph.D. Review by Deborah Renner Hull. Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association, 43 pp. (paperback). Price $25. ISBN # 1-885333-17-X

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