Professional Development Workshop Review: “Counseling Clients Who Have Lost Their Jobs…”     

Bonnie Bullard, Ph.D.,  LMHC


            It was a nasty day, no doubt about it, but Christine McNiff’s workshop on “Counseling Clients Who Have Lost Their Jobs” on January 8, 2005 was well worth the effort. If you work in a clinic, you may be thinking more like “My clients don’t even have jobs to loose.” However, her material is exceedingly generalize-able to many venues: to the lives of those who do not have jobs and to one’s own life.


            Chris talked about the organizing principle of work, whether full or part-time. The major roles work serves in a person’s life, she said, are to stabilize one’s life and give one an opportunity to socialize. She stresses that work reduces one’s anxieties and ambiguity and serves to convey messages about oneself and the environment.  When she talked about being “married” to one’s job (the consequences while you have the job and what happens when the job is gone), and the importance of managing work boundaries, it was quite sobering.


            Chris emphasized the process of how to move from job loss to successfully obtaining other employment. First, you must move through the stages of grief for the lost job and the loss of one’s identity, including the chaos that that creates – which, fortunately is a temporary state of affairs. Then one must move through the stages of getting to a new beginning. She calls it “Getting from Here to There”.


            If you ever see Christine McNiff’s name as presenter for a workshop – sign up! She is a very knowledgeable, interesting and skillful presenter. She easily held the attention of the participants and I, for one, highly recommend her. I hope she presents this workshop again so that more MaMHCA folks can experience another excellent workshop - the material she presents is very thought provoking. Thank you, Chris.


 Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association