Phyllis Nasta Holistic Therapy

Counseling, Massage Therapy, Education

Career Counseling for Teens and Adults

                                                                Career Counseling  

Are you trying to decide which way to go in your career, or what new career to pursue?

As a Certified School Counselor, I gained expertise in Vocational Counseling and Post Secondary Education. I want to share some of this knowledge with people , to help you figure out how to make the decision and how to implement. On this page  you will find information on:



Examples of How Emotional Work Can Solve Some Job Problems

Basic Ideas About Vocational Counseling

Archetypes and Contracts

Post Secondary Options


If you are in High School or have a student in HS , utilize the expertise of your High School Counselors.  Although they usually present Career Exploration programs in classrooms, that represents group instruction. If you want  personalized assistance, make an appointment and see the Counselor individually. High School Counselors often have enormous student loads, 500 in some cases, so utilize the Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease idea and seek them out individually.   HS Counseling Department websites often have information on careers and post secondary ed, and some use social media to upload latest info on scholarships etc.


Do you know what this stands for?  Joint Technological Education District.  This is FREE vocational education for HS students and other people under 22 who haven't graduated from HS yet.  They provide a variety of programs , some leading to Certificates that allow employment in certain fields.  Go to    for info, AND ask your HS which Counselor oversees the JTED programs.

The Pima County JTED is a public high school district that offers premier, tuition-free Career and Technical Education programs to sophomores, juniors and seniors. We serve students from public, private, and charter schools, and students who are home-schooled. JTED also serves students who have not earned a diploma or GED and are under the age of 22. Students may attend JTED classes at one of our Central Campuses, located throughout Pima County, or at one of our satellite locations which are located at all public high schools in Pima County, Santa Cruz Valley, and in Mammoth San Manuel.



Arizona has a FREE career software system.  Go to         and click on Just Browsing, then Learn About Myself where you can then take a career survey and play around with the site.  The survey results in a graph and you click on the different fields to take you to all sorts of information about careers.

                                                   Examples of How Emotional Work Can Solve Some Job Problems

Feeling stuck?  Resent your situation ?  Bored but don't know which way to turn ?

Here are examples of how  emotional work can lead to career advancement.

I worked with a Manager of a mid-size department. He was having stress symptoms and was on the verge of quitting. When we delved into his feelings it came out that he had always wanted to be a Manager because he had good ideas of how to run the department.  However, a lot of the actual day to day job revolved around solving people problems, supervising and evaluating people, rather than  creative program planning. Through  an analysis of how it affected him emotionally , he realized that he wanted to move into a different position in which he would have some creative outlet but delete the personnel aspects of the Manager job.

I worked with a person in the Medical field who had started two Masters Degrees and couldn't figure out which one to finish. We worked on her feelings about the job duties each Masters would lead to. Although she was intellectually interested in the content of both Masters, she realized that , emotionally, she was not suited to the one which would lead to a job with a lot of public interaction, authority over others, and involvement with liability issues.  The other Masters would lead to a job that involved more  one-on-one interaction, paperwork, and creative writing.  She came to a realization that her personality and her demeanor would be more content with the second degree and she went forward with that one. 

A Teacher came to counseling because she was unhappy in her school.  She was critical of the Principal and his decisions and the way he ran things. Through our psychological work she realized that this went back to some childhood issues with an authoritarian parent.  Working that out, she was able to come to a sense of her worth as a teacher who is in control of her classroom, but she wasn't in control of the school as a whole. It freed her up from being so vigilant about the Principal's decisions, which made her a happier teacher. It helped her 'grow up' and have realistic expectations about working with a boss ( Principal ) in job settings. 


                                                                      Vocational Self Analysis

I've learned that there are many analysis tools out there, to help people figure out how to be successful in careers.  Here are a few simple, tried and true ideas that are basic to vocational satisfaction.  

Out of the following, figure out what interests you the most:        

    People     Things    Information

If you have an anxiety attack thinking about working with Data, Spreadsheets, Reports, Catalogues etc. then you are not an Information First person so don't be a Librarian, Accountant, Medical Coder.    On the other hand if you like nothing better than holing up and getting stuff like that done, you will be successful at those jobs.

If you love Science and enjoy sharing your knowledge with kids but you don't want to have to deal with discipline , talk with parents, go to meetings etc., then don't be a School Teacher because, even though school teachers teach a subject (Information) the dominant aspect of the job is People.  However , you might look for a career that involves mostly science work, with some part time job duties as an educator in special programs.

If you love tinkering with things and can sustain interest for a long time, repetitively, then "Things" might be your thing. You might enjoy Mechanic, Set Design, etc. If you also have a strong People interest you may enjoy Sales of products you're interested in.  If you love Information in addition to Things you might try to find a job in which you're doing research on repairs or working in Quality Control where you have to assess and evaluate things .    

If you're a People First person then you will want jobs where you're interacting with people for the majority of the work day. Counseling, Social Work, Teaching, Health Care jobs where you're centered on the patient's well being, all require that your energy goes to into dealing with people for the majority of the work day. 

Next, think about the settings of your career options

 Do you like working on your own, or in collaboration?

 Do you prefer lots of supervision, minimal supervision, or somewhere in between?

 Do you like to be told what the structure of  your job is, or create it yourself?

 Do you  need alone time during the day , or do you prefer to be with people all day?

 Do you need to work someplace that's orderly, predictable, or do you enjoy a setting with lots of moving parts ?

 Does competitiveness at work motivate you, or threaten you, or not interest you?  

Physically, do you enjoy a job where you are sitting most of the day?  Or do you need to be able to move around?   I counseled a guy who had worked in a Youth program in the summer and loved helping the kids with their problems.  He was thinking of becoming a Counselor but when we looked at the job setting, which is primarily SITTING all day in a small room with a closed door, he realized that he couldn't do it.

So, answer the above questions for any career choice you are considering because the Settings make a big of difference in long term satisfaction.

                                                             Archetypes and Subliminal Contracts   

In studying Carolyn Myss' work  ( ) I've thought a lot about Archetypes and how they affect the work we choose.  Archetypes such as Hero,  Rescuer,  Artist, Warrior  etc.,  may lead us to certain professions, so it's helpful to know what ones we are working with in ourselves. It's also helpful to understand how our Archetypes can change and cause us to be "done" with a certain job even before we are ready to quit on a practical level.  For example, a paramedic felt an urge to change careers but couldn't pin point why.  Her job provided a perfect schedule for her lifestyle , good pay, and she loved her co-workers.  Looking at it from an Archetype point of view we discovered that she just didn't have any more personal motivation to Rescue people. We then worked on finding another career that could utilize her medical skills but not in a setting of being a first responder.  Another client worked on his career as an artist, and realized that he had the "Starving Artist" Archetype.  He was very accepting of jobs that paid little and required much, until he identified and transformed his Archetype, deleting the "Starving" part. 

                                                                 Subliminal Contracts 

Sometimes we stay stuck in a job because we have an underlying emotional contract with someone there. For example, a woman came to counseling and was complaining about how the Director ran things. There was a lack of organization that resulted in low morale and lack of discipline.  It was almost too much for her, after six years, and she was ready to quit.  I asked her to look at her part in what she called the 'dysfunctional' management style. Turned out that she put up with things she disapproved of because the Director did not micro manage her.  She'd had jobs previously , in which the Directors were always on her case , watching what she did, and controlling her time.  She hated it.   So, this Director was very casual in approach to running things, which led to disorganization  BUT,  as a "contract" on a subliminal level, it worked really well for her. She had autonomy. The very characteristic of the Director that bugged her, ie, being laid back about how things work, also worked best for her personally.  Once she understood her part in the 'dysfunction' and what she got out of it, she was more accepting of the situation, and took responsibility for why she chose to stay. It also gave her the self knowledge to start scouting for other jobs because she would put her autonomy first, when evaluating a new situation. 

There are as many contracts as there are relationships, and it's helpful to understand what keeps us in situations. We often find people we work with, who provide us with emotional acceptance and support and vice versa, which can keep us in jobs we may want to leave. Look at what your relationships are with the significant people you work with, and you may be surprised at what keeps you there , in addition to the paycheck.  And....when contracts are over, you'll know it intuitively and may feel it as an urge to move on. 

                                                     Post Secondary Education

Besides College and University, there are many schools that provide Professional Certificates which lead to good paying jobs.  And, many Community Colleges offer these types of Certificates in addition to an Associates Degree. 

For example, if you want to be a Physical Therapy Assistant you can get an Associates Degree at a Community College, or get the Certificate at a private vocational school.  It's worth looking into because the tuition difference is vast.

Or, let's say you want to be a Para Legal.  You can get a Certificate from Community College, or an Associates Degree. If you already have a College Degree, there's no point to doing the extra classes to get an Associates, unless there's a specific job that requires that specific Associates Degree. 

The advantage of getting a Degree over a Certificate is that it's usually more flexible for future use. If you have an Associates, you can go into College as a Junior, whereas a Certificate doesn't give that advantage. 

The advantage of getting a Certificate over a Degree is that the curriculum is totally focused on those skills, and the jobs usually only require that Certificate.  For example, if you want to be a Chef, you can get a Certificate or a Degree.  What would be the advantage of a Degree, which requires more classes?  You'd have to do research on that specific situation.  Some companies don't promote unless the worker has a Degree, so that would be good information if you want to be a Manager some day. 

There are many permutations of Degree versus Certificate, but it's worth spending the time figuring it out. Personally , I think we emphasize College way too much for our students in the Career Education we do from grades 7 through Senior.  Many students are so "done" with school by the time they graduate from High School , that they just give up on post secondary education. They need to understand that there is a vast array of Vocational Training out there, that will lead to satisfying jobs.  

Check out the Arizona Commission for Post Secondary Education for information.

Vocational Counseling for Adults and Teens.   Contact me for an initial free phone consultation to see if Vocational Counseling is right for you.   520  203-4968    put 'therapy' in the subject line so it doesn't go to spam.

My office is mid town Tucson and I have availability weekends. .  










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