Reauthoring: The lived experience of cumulative harm and its influence on career choice

Bryce, India ORCID: and Beccaria, Gavin ORCID: and McIlveen, Peter ORCID: and du Preez, Jan ORCID: (2022) Reauthoring: The lived experience of cumulative harm and its influence on career choice. Australian Journal of Career Development, 31 (2). pp. 93-107. ISSN 1038-4162


People’s career choices are not necessarily the unfolding of normative experiences. Instead, trauma experienced as cumulate harm throughout childhood affects developmental trajectories and career choices. There is, however, a dearth of research into the influences of cumulative harm on career development. The present research addresses that gap in the literature by an investigation into helping professionals’ recollections of their lived experiences of cumulative harm and how they construct its meaningfulness with regard to their work as a helping professional. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied to the transcripts of interviews with N = 12 helping professionals. Findings of the analysis reveal consistent themes pertaining to the meaningfulness ascribed to their experiences of cumulative harm and re-authoring of trauma narratives. Participants sought to reauthor through the themes of meaning, value, adaptability, and unintentional motivations. However, remedial motivations, especially those met through professional learning and utilisation of trauma to help others, highlighted the dominance of meaning-making and value making as motivations for entering helping professions. This reflected a journey for all participants from identity conclusions formed through childhood trauma to new territories of identity, achieved through a reconstruction of life narratives by integrating career narratives to reframe and make sense of their cumulative harm experiences.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2022 -)
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2022 01:45
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2022 03:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cumulative harm, Career Construction Theory, trauma, helping professions, career choice
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440999 Social work not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390404 Educational counselling
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520102 Educational psychology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2301 Community services > 230114 Violence and abuse services
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