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The MCDA Wellspring January 2016


President’s Letter

By Susan Gordon


MCDA President reflects on what was accomplished in 2015 and shares updates on what's to come.

Link to President's Letter  

MCDA Holiday Event a Huge Success!

By Paula Brand


MCDA ended 2015 on a high note with a holiday party to celebrate our many accomplishments.

Link to Event Details
February Skill Builder: Creating and Building Meaningful Connections through LinkedIn


Ready to support your clients' professional goals? Join Beth Davis-Reinhold from Frederick County Workforce Services and MCDA President-Elect Ronda Ansted as they demonstrate how job seekers can use LinkedIn to build meaningful connections.

Link to Event Details
Feature Article: Understanding the Role of Unconscious Conflict in Career Counseling
By Lynn Friedman

Some clients seem to defy the efforts of even the most skilled career counselors. Dr. Friedman has developed a Psychoanalytically-informed Career Assessment Model that offers a framework for addressing such a challenge.

Link to Article

CE Hours Opportunity

Looking for CE Hours? NCDA has you covered.

Link to Details
MCDA Annual Conference

It will be here before you know it! Register before it's too late.

Link to Conference Details
Theme of the Year

Our theme this year is "Meaningful Career, Meaningful Life." Here are some inspirational quotes to help you engage with the theme.

Link to Quotes

Looking for Newsletter Contributions

By Krasi Shapkarova


Call for newsletter submissions.

Contribute to the newsletter

President's Letter

by Susan Gordon


Happy New Year! 

I hope all MCDA members and friends were able to connect and relax with friends and family. We at MCDA are energized for a bright 2016! 

Highlights of 2015 include an outstanding conference in April on the topic “Tradition vs. Innovation;” we hosted Skill Builders ranging from exploring our personal boundaries in counseling to understanding what employers seek in candidates. We’re excited to carry our energy into 2016.

This year, we are looking forward to exploring “Meaningful Career, Meaningful Life.” All our events will be tied to this theme. If you have ideas to contribute to our programming or newsletter, please let us know.  We seek active participation from our members and welcome your proposals for programs.

This newsletter contains details on our conference, featuring key notes from Marilyn Maze, who’ll take a look at how NCDA is working to bring an understanding of meaningful careers to the world, and David Reile, NCDA President-Elect will guide us through a look at how our values create meaning in career and life. Mark your calendars for Thursday evening, April 28 and Friday, April 29. Stay tuned for details on an exciting array of concurrent workshops. Most will offer NBCC CE’s, and we will clearly indicate the CE eligibility in our conference materials.

We’re excited to announce our next Skills Builder will be held in Frederick, MD. “Creating and Building Meaningful Connections on LinkedIn” will take a look at how to maximize relationships and build a network using this multi-faceted tool. Further details can be found in this newsletter.

The MCDA Board will be meeting on January 24 to discuss our strategy for the remainder of this year and into 2017. If you have any thoughts on programs you’d like to see, or other info for the board, please email me at gordonmcda@gmail.com.

I hope to see you at our February Skill Builder, and have a great year!


Sue Gordon

MCDA President


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MCDA Holiday Party a Huge Success!

By Paula Brand

Our December 8th event at the All Set Restaurant in Silver Spring was very well attended. Much thanks to all who came out for it and to those who organized it. The private room offered a lovely setting and the appetizers provided by MCDA were tasty and filling (chicken salad on cheese biscuits, hummus, meatballs, fruit, cookies and more). The room was full of career professionals ready to network and the energy was electric. New connections were created, old friends bonded and many opportunities were shared. Later on, MCDA Officers gave away door prizes (everyone left with a gift!) and members shared announcements (many shared job openings).

We're sorry if you missed this event but be sure to attend an MCDA event in 2016!  

Check out photos from the event:


Paula Brand, GCDF, JCTC, CPRW

MCDA Past - President

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  February Skill Builder: Creating and Building

Meaningful Connections through LinkedIn

When: February 23, 2016 / 10:00AM - 12:00PM

Where: Frederick County Workforce Services (Monocacy Room)
             5340 Spectrum Dr., Suite A
             Frederick, MD 21703

What: LinkedIn is a business networking platform; it was designed to help professionals connect. Yet, the ease of the technology of building a professional network does not necessarily lead to meaningful connections, which is crucial to the job seeker. This skill-builder workshop will go through the nuts and bolts of helping the job seeker find connections in their field through searches, alumni groups, and interest groups, but will also provide strategies to turn virtual connections into meaningful relationships. Types of strategies include research, customized connection requests, free In-Mails, and publications all designed to help the job seeker connect to the right people to land their meaningful job and create a meaningful life.

Join Beth Davis-Reinhold from Frederick County Workforce Services and MCDA President-Elect Ronda Amsted as they demonstrate how job seekers can use LinkedIn to build meaningful connections to support their professional goals. Basic and advanced strategies will be discussed.

Who: Beth Davis-Reinhold is a writer, speaker and teacher and works as a Lead Instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, writer of the FCWS blog "Ask the Career Coach," and a LinkedIn Coach who advises job seekers and staff on creating and improving their LinkedIn profiles.

Ronda Ansted is MCDA's President-Elect and CEO of Be the Change Career Consulting. As Certified Advanced Resume Writer and Global Career Development Facilitator, she works with people who are looking to make a positive contribution to the world through their careers. She specializes in career decision-making and networking for those interested in the international development and social services fields.

*This event is qualified to earn 2 NBCC contact hours.

How: To register, click here.

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Understanding the Role of Unconscious Conflict in Career Counseling

by Lynn Friedman

Ms. Jones, a gifted, older undergraduate with outstanding credentials, planned to apply for graduate school. However, when it came to writing her application, she found herself immobilized. Ms. Jones' college counselor was unsure how to help her overcome the issues paralyzing her progress.


Meanwhile, Mr. Smith sought help from an experienced career counselor in private practice. Despite graduating from an Ivy League college, for two years he had been unable to find a job. Living in his parent’s basement, Mr. Smith engaged in a lackluster job hunt. Furious and frustrated, his parents insisted that he seek career counseling, and paid for him to do so. But he came late to sessions and failed to follow through on agreed upon tasks. One day, he erupted into a rage at the counselor and blamed her for his lack of improvement.


The majority of people who seek out career counseling can be assisted with customary tools of the trade: the counselor listens, clarifies goals, and helps the client to create and implement a plan for pursuing their objectives. Career counseling conversations hold the client accountable and address roadblocks that get in the way of progress. Typically, this work leads to satisfied and successful clients, but not always. Some clients, like those described above, seem to defy the efforts of even the most skilled career counselors.


We have all likely encountered individuals who come for career assistance but end up undermining the process. Both the client and counselor end up discouraged. Based on these kinds of interactions, I recognized the need for a new paradigm for understanding these types of clients. As a career counselor, psychologist, and psychoanalyst, I began to conceptualize these clients’ difficulties in the same way that I formulate the troubles of those I treat in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. That is, when a client sabotages the work, I view it as a sign of an underlying, unconscious conflict. This thinking led me to develop a model for recognizing and addressing unconscious career conflicts.


The Psychoanalytically-Informed Career Assessment Model


A psychoanalytically-informed, career assessment asks: what function or purpose does the career conflict serve? This question may seem counterintuitive, as most clients say they want to be helped. But, consider this puzzling concept: when a person has a conflict, they derive some benefit from it, albeit unconsciously. Thus, the task here is to develop an in-depth understanding of the unconscious conflicts that interfere with an individual’s capacity to achieve their career goals.


First, we must clarify how the conflict itself protects the individual from pain. A psychodynamic career counseling perspective recognizes that a client has two contradictory, simultaneous wishes: the desire to develop a fulfilling work-life, and the desire not to do so. A comprehensive understanding of the conflict helps the counselor to identify the sort of intervention that increases client awareness, and eventually allows them to take steps toward career success. Like any psychological or psychoanalytic assessment, this approach focuses on understanding the client within the broader fabric of their personal, family, and medical history. It proceeds in much the same way as an assessment for anxiety, depression or any psychological concern, except, in this case, the emphasis is on career as the presenting problem.

After learning about the client’s history, the counselor can explore early antecedents of the career concerns. What was the client’s early experience in the world of school, work, and home? What sorts of attitudes, views and feelings did the parents convey about these worlds? What views did they convey about money? Current experience is central, too. What are the attitudes of the key people in the client’s life? How might the client’s career success or failure affect these people? Are they a source of support or a part of the conflict?


The counselor then attempts to clarify whether the individual’s career difficulty is recapitulated in other areas of their life and, if so, how? For example, does the person who has difficulties committing to a career also have trouble committing to relationships? Answers to these questions lead to a more nuanced understanding of which interventions might prove most effective in resolving the career difficulty: career counseling, psychotherapy, or psychoanalysis; or, some sort of treatment in conjunction with career counseling.


The Model in Practice


Returning to the vignettes described above, in the case of Ms. Jones, I encouraged her college counselor to conduct a psychoanalytically-informed career assessment. The counselor learned that Ms. Jones worried that with a graduate degree she would out-earn her husband and this would culminate in the dissolution of the marriage. This awareness prompted the counselor to recommend short-term marriage counseling, focused on this issue. After five marital counseling sessions, Ms. Jones returned to the college counselor, a draft of her graduate school essay in hand.


My assessment of Mr. Smith revealed that he was, unconsciously, enraged at his parents. He felt that they had controlled his every move, interfering with his capacity to stand on his own two feet. Not finding a job was actually his revenge. Similarly, in career counseling, he treated the counselor like a de facto parent. Projecting his rage onto her, he found pleasure in defeating her efforts. Because his difficulties were entrenched, I recommended intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy. After some treatment, he was able to make better use of career counseling sessions. He soon found a fulfilling job and moved out of his parents' basement.


I now implement this model during my initial contact with all career counseling clients. I describe my approach and explain that this sort of intervention is essential in assessing whether and how I can be helpful. It allows me to tailor my approach to their unique needs, and refer out to others when necessary. I have found that clients, many of whom have failed previous attempts at career counseling, appreciate this individualized approach. More importantly, it allows the client to get the most appropriate help for their difficulties, career development-related and beyond.


"This article originally appeared in NCDA's web magazine, Career Convergence. Copyright National Career Development Association (November, 2014). Reprinted with permission."

Lynn Friedman, Ph.D. is a master career counselor, psychoanalyst and psychologist in Washington DC.

She provides psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and career counseling and teaches on the Johns Hopkins associate faculty. She presents, locally and nationally, on psychodynamic approaches to career assessment. She can be reached at: 301.656.9650301.656.9650; she welcomes your calls.

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CE Hours Opportunity

NCDA offers one-hour webinars that are eligible for Continuing Education Credits for only $35. On Wednesday, February 10th, Janet Lenz from the Florida State Career Center will present "Designing and Delivering Effective Career Services: The marriage of critical ingredients and theory-based approaches.” Learn best practices from the leaders in the field!


You can also watch recordings of past webinars, which are also eligible for credits for a $35 fee. They currently have 13 to choose from, including “Career Smarts for the Job Crisis” and “Veterans Career & Employment Issues.” More information and registration can be found here.

Happy Learning!

Ronda Ansted, DMgt, MSW

MCDA President-Elect

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MCDA Annual Conference
"Meaningful Career, Meaningful Life"

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
5485 Twin Knolls Road
Columbia, Maryland 21045

Thursday, April 28: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (optional)

Friday, April 29: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm


The annual MCDA conference is THE place to be to stay on the cutting edge of your profession, network with colleagues, and earn NBCC-approved CEUs!
The conference starts Thursday evening with an optional session that includes dinner and a keynote presentation by Marilyn Maze, Ph.D.,who will be addressing International NCDA efforts, including the Asia Pacific Career Development Association.

We kick-off Friday with a keynote presentation by David Reile, Ph.D, president-elect of NCDA (National Career Development Association), followed by a full day of 12 different workshops and 4 Round Table sessions from which to choose. Continental breakfast and lunch are included.

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities Now Available

MCDA's Vision:

MCDA’s vision is that all career professionals provide the most effective and efficient services in an ethical manner.

Our Mission: 

The Maryland Career Development Association’s mission is to promote a forum where career professionals network and share resources to ensure the quality of career services to the standards of the National Career Development Association.

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Theme of the Year Inspirational Quotes 

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle." ~ Steve Jobs

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." ~ George Eliot

"There is no passion to be found in playing small--in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living." ~ Nelson Mandela

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." ~ William James

"I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life'." ~ Maya Angelou

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 Looking for Newsletter Contributions

by Krasi Shapkarova, MCDA Newsletter Editor


Greetings MCDA colleagues!

I hope you've had a wonderful holiday season. As you already know, I am always on the look out for MCDA members interested in contributing to the newsletter. If you are interested (and I hope all of you are!), check out the submission guidelines here and/or email me directly at k.shapkarova@jhu.edu with questions, comments or concerns.


Krasi Shapkarova


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