The construction of raise-up model for mid-life female educators

Hsiu Lan Shelley Tien*, Hui Chuang Chu, Hsiao Feng Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The concept of “career plan” has become the idea of “life design” in recent years as the postmodern philosophy evolved. In the career counseling process, the idea of fit between personal traits and work environment has also been transferred to be construction and empowerment when we interview the clients. The purpose of the study was to establish a hypothesized Career-Life Design Narrative Model for senior educator trough grounded theory. Twelve senior educators from school or university were invited individually. We interviewed those senior educators and audiotaped the interview process. The interviewers were 5 licensed psychologists trained by the first author in order to make sure the interview structure and process are consistent through the whole interviewees. All of them are PhD students or newly graduated from the PhD program in counseling psychology. The interview guide included the following categories: (1) Warm up and story recollection in early childhood, middle school, high school, university and education career; (2) Career/life themes were entitled and reflected to/ by the participants through collaboration with the interviewer; (3) Meaning search through the elaboration of current concerned issues and life themes; (4) Extension the life theme and current concern to the future; (5) Action plan and rehearsal for future plan to expand life meaning. The interview guideline was semi-structured and the outlines included the following questions such as early stories, role model, television show preferred, magazine read, mottos in youth age, and important life events. We also asked the interviewees trying to entitle the life themes for important life experiences. Through the discussion of life themes, the senior educator reflected the meaning of life. New tasks for future life were then emerged. Some of the tasks might be related to their unfinished business. Through the narrative approach of interview, they worked together to deconstruct the false or irrational thoughts about past events. New experiences were them emerged through reconstruction process in the interview. In the process of data analysis, in order to have a detailed examination of the interview progress, all the narrative interview process was transcribed. We then applied grounded theory to analyze the transcriptions. The analysis included open coding, axial coding, and core coding. Several steps were adapted in data analysis. We first scrutinize the transcribed data, identify irrelevant or meaningful contextual materials, code the meaningful units. In the second step, we compared the meaningful units, group the similar units together and conceptualize the categories. In the third step, we compare and group the conceptual categories into domain. Finally, we develop core categories by combining similar conceptual categories. According to Frontman and Kunkel (1994), the first step is “open coding.” In the second step, similarity comparison, categorization, and definition for each of the conceptual categorization were processed. We denote this step as “axial coding.” After open coding and axial coding, we then worked together to discuss and agree on specific category themes which is the step of “selective coding.” At last, a five-stage counseling process emerged. The five stages are: (1) Relationship establishment; (2) Awareness of life them; (3) Interpretation and transference; (4) Strength focusing; and (5) Extension to the future. We called it “RAISE-up model” by using the first letter of the five stages. In the counseling process, we first build relationship with the client, facilitate his/her self-awareness, help them get insight from interpretation, encouraged them to be assertive about their strengths and them set action plan for future life. For each counseling stage, which is core category, there are counseling skills and tasks which emerged as axial coding. For example, in the first stage, “Relationship establishment”, we discuss the counseling structure, tell the client what we are going to do in the process. In this stage, we help the client examine his/her emotional status and get ready to share his/her life stories. In the second stage, which is to get the clients be “Aware of their career/life themes” through telling the stories. The interviewer help the clients explore their roles in the life stories, construct the story and life themes, and even help the clients get insights from the stories. In the third stage, which we called “Insight stage”, we help the clients elaborating the life themes, deconstructing faulty cognitions and reorganizing the memories into a positive and meaningful script. In this stage, the clients get new ideas from the old experiences. It’s also in this stage that the client can see themselves in a positive way. There comes the fourth stage, we called it Strength-focused stage. In this stage, both the client and interviewers can easily sense the client’s strengths through story experiences. The clients re-experience how they copy with barriers and get energy to overcome difficulties at certain point of life time. Some of them might encounter happenstance such as important persons who influence their career. Some of the chances are key events, for example participated in a conference or meeting and through the meeting they enter a new position in different cities. The connection with others could facilitate their interpersonal relationship and even provide them with more chances for their career. This is the special characteristic for this model. The final stage is Extension to the future, which focus on action plan based on the clients’ strengths. Future time perspective would be another variable important to remind the client think about their future. Generally speaking, the stage “strength-focused” is the special part of this model. During the research, in the interview process, we did not emphasize on strength purposefully. However, when the interviews progressed, we found that both client and interviewer can work on the strengths even though the stories were about suffering from difficulties and aches. The resilience is one example. They can stand in front of barriers, tolerate the bad temper from family members or colleagues. However, in addition to the tolerance, they can even create energy either through sharing the pain with close friends or devoted to what they think they should do, for example educate the kids at school and work as volunteer related to religion supporting group. The findings were discussed in the following four points: the RAISE-up model vs postmodern reflection; Chinese culture and its relationship with the RAISE-up model; the RAISE-up model and Savickas construction idea. The construction idea proposed by Savickas is actually consistent with the post-modern thought. For applied in career counseling, especially for life design, Savickas (2012) proposed three important components for the life design counseling process: (1) construct career through stories; (2) deconstruct those stories and reconstruct them into an identity narrative and life portrait; and (3) co-construct intentions that lead to the next episode in the real world. This process is consistent with the process of counseling in our RAISE-up model. The different part is that we focus more on the clients’ strengths. The process is also consistent with the helping skills model proposed by Hill (2009). Also, the different part is the strength focused. It seems that in the modern society, the counseling direction naturally goes to the individual’s strengths. We hope the RAISE-up model created in this study can be generalized to populations in other age-spectrum, not only for ages over 50 in Chinese society. More discussions were provided based on the results. Suggestions for practice and research were also provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-262
Number of pages22
JournalBulletin of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Career narrative
  • Female career
  • Grounded analysis
  • Life design
  • Middle-aged female educators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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