During my training I remember coming up against a few theories that I really struggled with. Mostly because they seemed to me to be overly academic and I couldn’t see how they could be implemented effectively in my everyday work. One of these theories was Integrative Life Planning (ILP).
ILP, developed by L. Sunny Hansen in the late 1990s uses a quilt as a metaphor. The quilt is composed of many different levels, all telling their own story but also weaving together to represent a person’s whole life. This quilt can be understood on three levels:
- Global world where there are dramatic, overarching changes
- The career world, where profession knowledge and practice are changing
- The ILP model itself, where a person’s world is ever changing
ILP draws strongly on Super’s developmental model and presents a holistic approach to careers guidance. Hanson presents six critical tasks which she believes careers professionals should use with clients and also engage in themselves. These tasks are:
- finding work that needs doing in changing global contexts
- weaving lives into a meaningful whole
- connecting family and work
- valuing pluralism and inclusiveness
- exploring spirituality and life purpose
- managing personal transitions and organizational change
What I struggled with regarding ILP is that many clients I see are having enough trouble focusing on themselves let along focusing on finding work that needs to be done in a global context! However, as a tool for reflecting on my practice as a whole, I find ILP quite useful. There are so many different angles you can use it from. Ccould I have taken this client out of their world more to view the overall picture? Should I have helped this client see their world as more connected? Maybe this client would have responded better to more metaphors as a whole? The questions you could ask yourself as a practitioner around Hanson’s theory are endless!
- Can you relate to the quilt metaphor when looking at your career?
- Do you think the six critical tasks of ILP are relevant for career development with your client group?
- Can you think of ways to bring ILP theory into your careers practice?
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