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Vocational Guidance

Psinove - orientação vocacional

What is it?

Adolescence (derived from the Latin word "adolescere", which means to grow) is the stage of life par excellence for transformation. During this phase of changes (physical, cognitive, emotional, and social), adolescents face a series of choices that will define their future, including their career.

In this choice, adolescents are not only choosing their academic or vocational path, but also a lifestyle, routine, and environment. In other words, they are deciding not only what they want to do but also what they want to become. Therefore, it's natural that doubts, conflicts, and anxiety may arise during this phase, and if they persist for a long time, it could lead to the need for psychological consultation.

The most important moments for academic decisions occur at the end of the 9th year of schooling when young people must choose their path for further studies (e.g., Sciences and Technology, Socioeconomic Sciences, Languages and Humanities, or Visual Arts) or a professionalizing path with dual certification. Another critical decision point is after completing the 12th year when they choose their academic and/or professional path.

Today, it is known that there are several psychological determinants that dynamically influence vocational choice: vocational maturity, intelligence (both cognitive and emotional), interests, values, needs, personality traits, and self-concept. It's crucial that this decision-making process is informed by personal aptitudes and interests, the options offered by educational and training institutions, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each path.

It's important to note that this process is not static. In other words, the choice made in the 9th year can be consolidated or changed by the path taken by the young person until they enter the professional world. There is no one right and unique path, and it is always possible to redefine it.

How to make this vocational decision?

  1. First, think about what you like to do, what you excel at, what you learn most easily, your experiences, and how you envision your future.
  2. Second, talk to people you know who have the professions you've identified. Ask them about their career path, their daily life, working conditions, job activities, and tools of the profession.
  3. Third, research these professions and the university or training paths required to pursue them on the internet. Imagine yourself in each of these professions ten years from now and analyze their advantages and disadvantages.
  4. Fourth, if you need help in this process, seek vocational guidance.

What is vocational guidance? Where can I get it?

Vocational guidance is a process conducted by psychology professionals who, through the research and analysis of tests on interests, aptitudes, and personality, provide guidance on the most suitable academic and professional path, as well as strategies for self-discovery and research. It doesn't make the decision but supports the process.

The "Orienta-te" program offered by Psinove conducts vocational guidance starting from the age of 13 in Lisbon:

  • Interview (individual session with the young person or adult to diagnose the need for vocational guidance and identify the expectations of the young person and their parents or guardians);
  • Assessment (two individual sessions or small group sessions, each lasting 60 minutes, for the application of test batteries, including differential reasoning tests, professional interest and aptitude tests, and personality tests);
  • Individual session to deliver the report with information and results discussion.

This program aims to provide information, contribute to the maturation of ideas, and develop skills for an informed and conscious decision-making process. It allows the young person to increase self-awareness, explore the educational and training system, research professions, and make decisions, preparing for an increasingly complex and diversified job market.

Bibliographical references

AZEVEDO, J. M. (1999). Butterfly Flights: School, Work, and Profession. Porto: Asa Editions.
TAVEIRA, M. C. (Ed.) (2004). Vocational Development Throughout Life: Foundations, Principles, and Guidance. Coimbra: Almedina.

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