Karen Davies is an Occupational Therapist, with a special interest in helping people to return to some kind of occupation. She has worked mostly in mental health. She has also worked with unemployed people, helping them to regain confidence and find a place in their community where they can use their skills.
The Condition Management Programme project, where she had been working, was closed and 60 health professionals had to find alternative employment. Karen used some of her redundancy money and went to train in the USA with Richard Bolles, author of ‘What Color Is Your Parachute?’, and now has the backing of Richard Bolles to present his materials.
Karen now runs ‘Parachute’ training courses where professionals or life coaches come to a training day to understand the method, so that they can use it with their clients. She also offers group and individual work with clients who are looking to find their vocation to change career or find a job.
The ‘Parachute’ approach helps people to find their vocation, by a series of exercises to enable people to identify their skills, values and beliefs. This enables them to know themselves better and hone their vocational aspirations. The approach focuses on the left brain and enabling people to consider the possibilities they might not have previously considered. This, Bolles believes, is essential before embarking on the job hunt.
The approach Karen uses is person centred, and enabling, and creative. She is able to use her skills of motivational interviewing and solution focussed therapy. Karen keeps up her registration and continuing professional development by working as a locum OT in the NHS, most recently working in a Brain Injury service and mental health teams.