Case Study Questions


Greta is a 52-year-old Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual female, who has been married to Greg for 22 years. Greta worked as a dental assistant full time until her first child was born after which she worked part-time 20 hours per week and continued working part time after having two more children. Greg worked in sales for a construction company for 10 years and then began taking night classes, earning a master’s degree in business administration after 3 years. The family moved when Greg received a job offer with a start-up company in a different state. Greta stopped working for a few years after the move, managing the house, finances, and children. When she was ready to return to the workforce, she found that it was difficult to transfer her dental assistant license to the new state, and at that point her mother-in-law moved in with them. Greta cared for her ailing mother-in-law and continued to manage the home and family responsibilities. Her mother-in-law recently died and her oldest child will be leaving for college soon, and Greta realized she would like to reenter the workforce. She comes for counseling because she would like to find a new career path but feels intimidated by the idea of starting something new and has been out of the workforce for so long that she fears her skills are obsolete. She shares with you that she has a dream of being a massage therapist.


  1. How would you conceptualize Greta’s presenting issues? What are the career-related issues, and what are the psychological issues?
  2. Where is Greta in the transition process? What is triggering her desire for change? How much control does she have over the transition situation? What other stressors are salient for her?
  3. What are Greta’s personal resources and strengths? What cues provide information about her level of resilience, optimism, adaptability, and sense of control?
  4. What obstacles are present for Greta? What contextual factors might play a role in her career change?
  5. How might Greta’s career transition influence her family? How could you help her anticipate potential consequences of her transition on her family?
  6. How might you approach working with Greta? What does she need to move forward in her career change?