Anxious? Sleepless nights? Maybe you should see a career advisor, not a psychologist

“I’ve spent the last two years with a psychologist who said she would help me with my career issue and you helped more in one hour than she has in 20 sessions,” Emily said.

I love psychology.  People fascinate me.  My life’s work has been devoted to helping others and among my very few gifts is the ability to understand my clients deeply in order to guide them to careers that will make them happy.  For that reason, I am generally a big fan of psychologists.  While not all are effective, most all are well-meaning.  They want to help others.  They want to make a difference.  Most all stay in their lane.  They do not claim to be financial advisors or legal advisors.  But some claim to be career advisors.  They are not.

Some started providing career advice when they realized that many of their clients were unhappy due to work.  Some were helpful in alleviating the anxiety that some felt while they were at work.  What almost none can do, however, is help clients change their careers.  They are simply not trained for that work.

I was reminded of this recently when I spotted a psychologist – “Alicia” – who once wanted to work with me to develop Career Counseling Connecticut.  On the surface, Alicia is smart, dynamic, and personable.  But it became clear very quickly that she very little about how to help others find new careers.  She was also a bit nuts!  But that’s a different story.  Psychologists are trained in psychology.  If you need help with psychological issues related to how you feel about work, the good ones can be invaluable.  If you need help changing your work, then most will not be helpful.