Peavy (2007: pp. 323-332) proposes a model of approaching the counseling process that includes three essential elements: a perspective on contemporary social life and delimitation of self-identity, a supporting philosophy, and a set of practices. Thus, sociodynamic counseling is defined as a general method of life planning, mainly used for the younger population, and includes both individual and group counseling. It is an approach centered on cultural specificity, based on constructivist, sociocultural and narrative literature. This model of counseling aims at: helping people to develop the skills needed to achieve predetermined goals (the principle of personal freedom); supporting individuals in achieving social success (the principle of power); assisting the people in identifying or building the meaning of life (the principle of identifying the meaning of life). According to Peavy (1997) , the difference between the constructivist approach and the traditional approach is not given by the efficiency of the methods used, since each type of counseling is very valuable for someone. It is stated that each counselor needs to customize his/her methods according to the person who stands before and according to the specificity of the problem he/she is facing. However, this specificity, which the counselor must accomplish, is the innovative element of sociodynamic counseling, because we can no longer refer to a “universal pattern” in order to provide the necessary support to the beneficiary (Amundson, 2011: p. 1) . The counselor will work on the basis of the experience presented by the counseled person, who will generate a suitable approach only to that person (Peavy, 1997: pp. 122-140) . There is also the possibility that this approach, which worked very well at the beginning, to become non-useful for the counselor in his interaction with another beneficiary, since it is no longer suitable for the new relational conjunctures.
For the counselor who decides to experience the sociodynamic model of counseling, it is essential to demonstrate a creative attitude in addressing the whole approach (Borg, Bright, & Pryor, 2006: p. 67) . Techniques for developing creative thinking can be successfully taken over and adapted to the counseling process.
Thus, the counselor can mentally initiate an active, involved attitude towards the student regarding his/her needs in order to clarify a possible occupational approach. Analogy is an important factor in stimulating creativity. Its usefulness in the process of generating ideas is obvious: if a problem (Y) makes me think about the phenomenon X (via an analogy) then maybe we can try to apply the solution that already exists at the level of X and Y. Analogies can be: close/direct (represents an immediate functional parallel to the counselor’s problem) or imaginary (where any solution becomes possible, any scenario about the professional future may become possible).
Another creative technique used in counseling can be the reverse method. It is a way to teach secondary-school students to overcome obstacles, move on, and always have a creative way of understanding the world. Quite simply, the method involves changing the angle of view by using the opposite one. Focusing on the contrary of her/his desire gives the secondary-school students a list of the less preferred aspects of a professional field. Becoming aware of all these aspects they are determined to find the best options. We can say that the counseling process leads to a better emotional self-knowledge of the counseled person, an improved understanding of his/her emotional reactions and an enhanced identification of the personal talents and propensity that reveal the suitability for one or another profession (Rusu, 2017: p. 183) . Emotional intelligence or the ability to manage affective states is offering solutions not only for the choices made but is also outlining the chance of a future success in the professional career of young people.
Why is this creative-based counseling model useful? Because young people are often blocked, since they are looking for the perfect solutions that most people would appreciate. But these so-called correct solutions are not always enough. It is necessary to keep in mind the multiple dimensions of their personality (Infanzon, Finklea, & Hale, 2012) . Many times, the youngsters are reaching a stalemate: the problem he/she is facing it seems to be out of reach, and no solution comes to their mind… However, we need to help them go beyond that, to find solutions, to be open to new perspectives. Thus, the life story of the youngster can be re-written through the interaction with a counselor (McIlveen, Ford, & Dun, 2005: pp. 97-98) . Nowadays the career counseling based on the narration is proposing the valorization of the identity of the counseled person (McMahon, 2018: p. 57) .
2. Presentation of the Investigative Approach
The aim of the study was to identify the perceptions (Cosmovici, 1996: p. 110) , of the two team members within the counseling process, regarding the activities carried out according to the constructivist model (Joiţa, 2008: p. 7) . A secondary-school student's perceptions are determined by the image he/she has upon the activity itself: how it should be done; which is its role in this process; contents of the activity; short, medium or long term goals. It is important to identify his/hers needs—what do they thinks they need to learn during counseling, what will their requirements be when they will be employed, how do they imagine their professional success, and so on. These urges will materialize into expectations, which will have to be fulfilled during the counseling process. In parallel, it is important to identify the position of the specialist who organizes and carries out this activity. Thus, the actions of the counselor will be found in the needs and expectations of the beneficiaries.
In general the counselor’s goal is to offer a better preparation and understanding of the secondary-school student from the perspective of the needs of professional development. Thus it is essential to have a consistency at the perception level between the two involved in the process, as to what it represents the professional career (Nasir, Hashmi, Siddique, Adnan, & Kanwall, 2017: p. 270).
Through this investigative approach, the perceptions of the secondary-school students and school counselors on career counseling activities conducted with the students during the final high school classes were identified and analyzed. The importance of counseling activities, designed in a traditional or constructivist manner, has been analyzed.
Among the researches addressing the issue of career counseling expectations, the Roslyn Beth Lim’s study entitled Career Counseling Services: Customer Expectations and Service Provider Perceptions (2005), is of particular importance. The experiment was organized in three stages. In the first phase, focus groups were conducted, involving three categories of subjects: secondary-school students in the 12th grade, college students and adults looking for job. In the second phase, interviews were conducted with three categories of career counselors: school counselors, counselors from other state institutions and private counselors. In the third phase, questionnaires have been applied to adults (looking for a job) and career counselors. The first group filled out a questionnaire addressing their expectations for career counseling.
Career counselors completed a questionnaire referring to the expectations they had from a career counselor as if they were the beneficiaries of such services. For the correct application of the EACC questionnaire (Expectations in Career Counseling), an existing tool (The Expectations about Counseling, Brief form, elaborated by Tinsle in 1982), was readjusted and supplemented with data obtained during the first two phases of the research. The final questionnaire addressed four factors: career counselor responsibility, customer responsibility, quality results, and realism. The results of this extensive research, following the centralization of questionnaires applied in the third phase of the study, showed that beneficiaries have very high expectations from career counseling, particularly from the counselor, with moderate scores at the customer's responsibility. Significant differences have been highlighted by gender variables and previous experiences with career counselors. Based on the results obtained, recommendations were made to career counselors, educational institutions, etc. In particular, they emphasized the importance of knowing, clarifying and taking into account the expectations of clients in relation to the counseling process and offering models of educational intervention/professional development, the main objective of which was to facilitate career decision making (Lim, 2004) .
Counseling based on metaphor is contributing to the social development of the secondary-school students’ responsibility. A research pursuing the efficiency of the empathic counseling (Masher, & Suherman, Solehuddin, 2017: pp. 515-522) is highlighting the idea that the activity based on metaphors has as support a higher level of empathy and is contributing to the development of the social responsibilities in children. The analysis took into account a comparison between girls and boys, originally with differences in the favor of girls, meaning that they were familiarized with a metaphorical way of discussion and analysis. After counseling, the boys also obtained favorable results. This is supporting the idea that the approach which places the beneficiary at the heart and is working with his lifetime experience can be beneficial for both genres.
In a monograph type report it was presented the Polish specialists’ process of adaptation in using the sociodynamic approach for career counseling (Górka, 2015) . In addition to the description of the theoretical context, there are presented the strategies and actions involved in the implementation of the model (the practical context), are described the case studies, it is proposed some form of monitoring of the counselors’ work pattern, and finally are analyzed the results achieved. The conclusions have focused upon the fact that there are benefits, both for the counselor as well as for the counseled people, as the sociodynamic model is favoring the interaction and the discussions. The cooperation of those involved in the process is implying reciprocal support and inspiration in the joint search for the solutions. Sensitive to values, the sociodynamic approach is supported on the characteristics of each of us (specialist or beneficiary). The different vision upon the world and the differences in the perception can be successfully achieved if there is openness from all those involved in the process.
The fact that nowadays the employees, no matter their professional field, must be prepared for different changes, had generated new approaches in the field of career counseling. Therefore, in the study which was the object of a PhD thesis at the University of Pretoria (Symington, 2015) , based on a socio-constructivist paradigm, it was envisaged the development of a new interpretative perspective upon the world. It was practically a case study performed in a school. The conclusion reached after the analysis of the undertaken counseling program had underlined the idea that youngsters, from the perspective of a future adult, prefer to be involved in attaining their life design. Their projection into a near or distant future is largely based on their anticipation ability, as well as on the interpretative analysis of their own life.
In another PhD thesis (Broodryk, 2019) , achieved at the University of Pretoria as well, it was brought to the attention the fact that all great transformations worldwide are leading everybody into rethinking the perceptions upon what it is necessary to be done. The complexity but also the facilities offered by the technology are necessary and important, but education remains a key benchmark. The study carried on in the above-mentioned thesis represents an exploratory journey into the life experiences of the youngsters, based on their autobiography. The basic question is: How do you prepare yourself for the future? The answer is sustained by the imaginative process, by the willingness to create scenarios. How can the young student bring surplus value to what the technology can already do? At this stage comes the role of the sociodynamic counseling, of the counselor who is ready, who wants and can work with ideas, thoughts, desires based on metaphors. We discuss about creativity for both protagonists—counselor and counseled person.
2.1. Hypotheses and Variables of the Research (See Table 1)
Hypothesis 1: There are significant differences between girls and boys regarding
Table 1. The variables of the correlation study.
their perception of career counseling: girls will attach greater importance to constructivist counselors than boys.
Hypothesis 2: There are significant correlations between students’ perceptions on career counseling and school counselors from the perspective of the importance given to their activities.
Hypothesis 3: There are significant differences between school counselors regarding the dependent variable perception on career counseling according to the independent didactic degree variable, meaning that the specialists with the second or first didactic degree will appreciate as being more important the specific activities characteristic to the constructivist counseling than the traditional ones, compared to those who are at the beginning of their careers in education.
2.2. Investigation Tools
The following tools have been used: measuring perceptions of career counseling activities (students); the scale of perceived efficiency of career counseling (school counselors). In order to identify inter-individual differences, the CCSES—Career Counseling Self-Efficacy Scale questionnaire was used (O’Brien, Heim Bikos, Heppner, & Flores, 1997: pp. 20-31) . The initial version consisted of 54 career-specific activities, carried out in a traditional and constructivist manner. Respondents were required to indicate on a six-step Likert scale, the extent to which these activities were carried out by them on a regular basis. The questionnaire was translated and adapted to the Romanian population, being pre-tested by a group of counselors. They were asked to read the 54 items and appreciate, which of them are specific to traditional counselors and which one describes best the constructivist counseling style. The centralization of responses has led to the removal of a considerable number of items. For the final version, there were left 24 activities that describe the two types of career counseling. The deviation from the initial questionnaire is also represented by the introduction of a new dimension, the importance given by students/school counselors to these activities. The internal consistency (Alpha Cronbach) of the questionnaire was very good (0.712 in the questionnaire filled in by the counselors and 0.898 in the questionnaire completed by the secondary-school students), the use of the questionnaire was done in optimal conditions of validity and reliability.
The investigation was carried out in the North-Eastern region of Romania, and the questionnaires were applied to the respondents residing in the main cities of the counties. For their application, the coordinators of the Centers for Psycho-pedagogical Assistance (CJAPP) in each county were asked for their agreement. The participants were randomly selected.
There were 257 secondary-school students, from the 12th grade, out of which: 130 girls, 127 boys, 194 secondary-school students from urban areas and 63 students from the rural area (this determined the non-calculation of this dimension, as the lot was unbalanced) (see Figure 1).
At the region level (at the time of the study), the total number of school counselors was 344. A total of 108 school counselors have participated: 7 men and 101 women (which determined that this dimension was not taken into account, the lot being unbalanced); 41 who have completed their education; 36 with teaching degree II; 31 with didactic degree I; 26 counselors who work only in middle schools; 48 counselors who work only in high school; 34 and working in both middle schools and high schools (see Figure 2).
Pearson Correlation, Independent T Tests for independent samples and Anova One Way were used as statistical methods to test hypotheses.
3. Results and Interpretations
Hypothesis 1: To test whether there is an effect of the subject gender variable on the student’s perceptions on career counseling variables, the Statistical Test
Figure 1. Graphic representation of students by gender.
Figure 2. The graphic representation of the councilors according to the obtained didactic degree.
Method t for independent samples was used.
a) Perception of the importance given to career counseling and the gender of subjects.
Statistical analysis resulted in: p < 0.001, indicating that there was a significant difference between female and male subjects, particularly the girls achieved higher scores in this variable (see Table 2).
b) Perception of the importance of traditional career counseling and the gender of subjects.
Statistical analysis resulted in: p < 0.001, indicating that there was a significant difference between female and male subjects, particularly the girls achieved higher scores in this variable (see Table 3 and Figure 3).
c) Perception of the importance of constructivist counseling in the career and the gender of subjects.
Statistical analysis resulted in: p < 0.001, indicating that there was a significant difference between female and male subjects, particularly the girls achieved higher scores in this variable (see Table 4 and Figure 4).
Hypothesis 1 is confirmed, there is a significant effect of the biological gender of the subjects on the perception that they have regarding the importance of career counseling activities.
Hypothesis 2: To verify this hypothesis, the Pearson Correlation statistical method was used.
a) The perception of secondary-school students and school counselors about the importance given to traditionalist career counseling.
Table 5 shows the following statistical results:
· p = 0.039 < 0.05 which means that there is a significant relationship between the two variables;
· r = 0.199 < 0.30 which means that the relationship between the two variables is weak and the “+” sign shows that it is also directly proportional, i.e. the
Table 2. Frequency of the importance of the career counseling and subject gender.
Table 3. Frequency of traditional counseling and subject gender.
Table 4. Frequency of constructivist counseling and the subject gender.
Table 5. Pearson correlation: The importance of traditional counseling: students and counselors.
Figure 3. Graphic representation: the importance of traditional counseling— Subject gender.
Figure 4. Graphic representation: the importance of traditional counseling – the subjects gender.
bigger the student’s scores on the variable the importance of traditional counseling, the higher the scores of the school counselors to the same variable;
· r2 = 0.039 from which it results that in 39% of cases the correlation occurs;
b) The perception of students and school counselors upon the importance given to career counseling of constructivist type.
The above Table 6 indicates the following statistical results:
· p = 0.043 < 0.05, which shows that there is a significant relation between the two variables;
· r = 0.195 < 0.30, whereby the relationship between the two variables is weak and the sign “+” shows that it is also directly proportional, i.e. the higher the pupil’s scores on the importance of the constructivist counseling variable, the more elevated will be the scores of the school counselors to the same variable;
· r2 = 0.038 that leads to the understanding that in 38% of cases the correlation occurs;
The hypothesis 2 is confirmed, there are significant correlations between the two assessments, upon the career counseling process.
Hypothesis 3: There are significant differences between school counselors, with regard to the dependent variable, the perception of career counseling according to the independent didactic degree variable, in the sense that the specialists with the didactic degree II or I will appreciate as being more important the specific activities of the constructivist counseling than the traditional ones, compared to their younger colleagues, who have only completed their full-time professional degree in education.
In order to verify whether there is a significant link between the two variables, the One Way Anova statistical method was used.
After the statistical analysis, the result proved a significant relationship
Table 6. Pearson correlation: the importance of constructivist counseling—Students and Counselors.
Table 7. Presenting the average obtained in the importance of traditional counseling—by school counselors.
Table 8. Presentation of the differences between the averages and the standard deviation obtained in the importance of traditional counseling by school counselors.
Figure 5. Graphical representation of the obtained average in the importance of traditional counseling by school counselors.
between the two variables.
By applying The Bonferroni test, the following results were obtained:
· M1-M2 = 3.910, p = 0.028 < 0.05 shows that there is a significant difference between counselors with Full-time Professional Degree and their colleagues with Didactic Degrees II, in the sense that the former give greater importance to traditional counseling;
· M1-M3 = 3.018, p = 0.158 > 0.05 indicates that there is no significant difference between the school counselors who have Full-time Professional Degree and those with Didactic Degrees I;
· M2-M3 = 0.892, p = 1.000 > 0.05 indicates that there is no significant difference between school counselors of second degree and those with Didactic Degree I, in terms of the importance given to traditional counseling.
The statistical analysis illustrated that there is a significant correlation between the two variables. The Bonferroni test indicates the following:
· M1-M2 = −7.802/p = 0.000 < 0.001 indicates that there is a significant difference between school counselors who have only Full-time Professional Degree and their colleagues with Didactic Degree II, in the sense that the latter confer greater importance to constructivist counselors than the former;
· M1-M3 = −8.929/p = 0.000 < 0.001 indicates that there is a significant difference between school councilors who have only Full-time Professional Degree and their Didactic Degree I, in the sense that the latter confer greater importance to constructivist counselors than the former;
Table 9. Presentation of the average obtained in the importance of constructive counseling by school counselors.
Table 10. Presentation of differences between averages and standard deviation. Acquired in the importance of constructivist counseling by the school counselors.
Figure 6. Graphical representation of the obtained average in the importance of constructive counseling by school counselors.
· M2-M3 = −1.126/p = 1.000 > 0.05 indicates that there is no significant difference between school councilors of second grade and those with Didactic Degree I regarding the importance given to constructivist counselors;
The hypothesis 3 is confirmed, there are significant differences between the school councilors according to their didactic degree, with regard to the importance given to the constructivist career counselor.
The effect of the biological gender on the secondary-school students’ perceptions of the counseling process has been statistically demonstrated: girls consider the career counseling activities, both traditional and constructivist ones, as being more important, than boys. Both secondary-school students (especially girls) and school counselors do appreciate the constructivist counseling as being very important.
The effect of the independent variable didactic degree: school counselors who only hold Full-time Professional Degree prefer traditional counseling. Their colleagues with Didactic Degree II or I consider the specific activities of the constructivist counseling more useful.
It is natural for the junior specialists to resort to traditional counseling strategies because they provide expected/anticipated outcomes from beneficiaries. They are at a professional stage in need of confidence in their work and necessitate some certain results (Lazarus & Beutler, 1993: pp 381-382) . Unconventional counseling strategies, where anticipated outcomes are not “tangible” may cause both the counselor and the secondary-school students to experience a state of uncertainty with regard to the purpose of the whole process, because people build their own image on what they actually do (Macsinga, 2010: p. 42) . If the counselor is uncertain, implicitly the recipient will relive these feelings. The other category of counselors (who hold the didactic degree II, obtained after about six years of activity, respectively those with the didactic degree I, obtained after about ten years) are, due to their experience, much more confident in their professional proficiency. This aspect is also reflected in their need for diversification of the types of activities carried out. Thus, at different stages of professional activity, when they consider that the conventional modalities are not comprehensive enough, they can also use other models of counseling to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. From a different perspective, the results obtained on gender differentiation come to support V. Peavey’s idea (2007) that the counseling specialist should adapt his /her activity and methods according to the characteristics of the client and the specificity of the problem under discussion (Coleman, 2001: p. 21) .
The outcomes are sustaining the necessity for specialized training offered to the counselors at the early-stage of their professional activity. We think that the approach of the sociodynamic counseling model within the educational area can be used successfully as the youngsters can understand better what they want for their lives and professions. In relation to the gender differences relating to the students’ preferences for work, this is a characteristic related to the identity of each of us as individuals.
Career development counseling is an intensively debated theme in recent years, due to the importance in supporting the youngsters in their easy integration on labor market, after the graduation, in order to achieve the transition from school to employment. Although intensively discussed, career development counseling proved insufficient progress. It is not by chance that the highest rate of unemployment is within the age group marking the transition from school to labor market. Another alarm bell for the counseling specialists can be the high abandonment rate within the students or finding jobs in other areas interest than those they were specialized. This is why, highlighting a creative approach of a life and professional design achieved by means of life scenarios, with the valorization of the autobiographical elements it is considered appropriate. We find that career development counseling from a constructivist perspective is a very inspired solution in attaining efficient employment counseling services which can allow the subjects to identify their own interests and to develop solid runways, to channel their efforts and to value their strengths.