This is a response to Katie Dallison’s post about metatheories. As has been said before in this blog, Metatheories can be very useful in careers advice, but generally only after the session. For me, that is all very well and good, but sometimes it’s nice to have a theory to hold onto during the session.
Unfortunately for me, a lot of theories are quite cerebral. They encompass a lot of abstract ideas and they can therefore be more difficult for me to remember.
Most people can only hold a few things in their head at any time. During Guidance you already have a lot to do. You need to listen intently to the client, analyse what they are saying, what they are not saying and their body language etc, then conjure up a response based on your interpretations of all of this, whilst sometimes reaching into your brain for other nuggets of pertinent information which could help the client.
This leaves little room for holding complex theories (particularly a metatheory!).
So I have come up with a new and simpler career theory.
I call it “the balloon”. Instead of having things as quite abstract, I have used a simple visual metaphor of a hot air balloon. I have decided that I will not explain “the balloon” to you, as the basic concept should be fairly obvious (If it is too complicated I will have failed) and also it should be flexible enough that you can change the meanings of each bit of the metaphor depending on the client.
There are three reasons I think this theory is useful.
- It is one simple concept which is easy to keep in your head and into which everything the client says can somehow fit.
- It is not too prescriptive. Instead of thinking about the sub categories within the concept of the “self” from a particular theory, I can use whatever the client brings up in the session but still explore it within a simple structure.
- The theory was my idea, so I am biased!
What do you think? Could it be useful to use simple visual metaphors like this or should we, as professionals stick to the more academic style theories and metatheories?
I am genuinely interested in your thoughts.