Beyond the Basics: Real World Skills for Career Practitioner 
By Roberta Neault, Ph.D., CCC, RRP
Life Strategies Ltd., 2001
available online from
or by phone (toll-free) at 1-866-681-2211.

Review by Victoria Morris-Ott, BA, MEd, RRP

The word guide has three specific meanings: to guide(v), as to direct; a guide(n) as a leader; or, the guide (n), as in a handbook. In “Beyond the Basics,” Dr. Roberta Neault invites us to “use the following information as a guide to your practice and a prompt for further exploration and conversations with your clients.” Drawing together knowledge gleaned, the guidebook includes gems of practical knowledge, mined from years of experience in the field, and hundreds of conferences, courses and conversations with colleagues

Everyday career development tends to boil down to these very basic questions: it’s what our clients need to know, AND it’s what we need to know if we are going to understand, motivate and guide our clients.

“Who are you?”
“Where are you going?”
“What do you need to get there?”
“What is your plan to make this happen?”

The book highlights specific issues which may be presented by an individual client with diverse and complex needs: age, cognitive limitations, criminal records, addictions, emotional/physical disabilities, ethnicity, gender, location, language and socio-economic status are some the specific career issues presented. Far from prescriptive, “Beyond the Basics” presents a tidy summary or relevant background or underlying theory, before listing ways that career practitioners can help individuals address their personal and professional development.

Ever want to know you have been doing a good job? Read through the listings, and pat yourself on the back for using best practices. Feeling a little stale, isolated or stumped? Check again for ideas to incorporate into your next session.

“Beyond the Basics: Real World Skills for Career Practitioners” is like having coffee (or tea) with a good friend and colleague, someone who cares about you and the work you do, and who will brainstorm with you about your next steps, with your client, or with your own career development. This is a guide to help you be a guide as you guide that individual sitting beside you every day at work. I’ll have a Cappuccino. What about you?



Victoria Morris-Ott is a career practitioner and instructor from British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. She has worked with very diverse populations including youth-at-risk, federal parolees, WCB referrals, abused women and community clients in career planning and job finding programs. Victoria is currently teaching in Douglas College’s Continuing Education programs and has recently started taking course to teach English internationally. She has 5 children and 5 1/2 grandchildren.