An Interview with Kobus Maree: Acknowledgments

Sep 27, 2014 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Kobus I understand that you have just received the Psychological Association of South Africa’s prize for exceptional contributions to Psychological Science …

Tell us about this award and when and where you received it.

The Stals prize is annually awarded to scholars for exceptional contributions to a number of subject areas. The prize for Psychological Sciences, for instance, is awarded once every three years. The prize is awarded on the condition that a worthy recipient is identified by the selections committee. Moreover, a rotating system is used to determine in which subject areas the prize will be awarded in a given year.

2) Can you tell us a bit about your most recent accomplishments?

I was invited to read a keynote at the 2014 International Congress of Applied Psychology, the flagship event on the international psychology calendar (Paris, France, 11 July 2014), on the following topic: “Connecting life-themes to construct self-portraits”. Furthermore, I was successfully nomination for a fellowship of the International Congress of Applied Psychology (an award that was bestowed on me on 13 July 2014).

I also received the Psychological Society of South Africa’s (PsySSA) Award for Excellence in Science during the 20th South African Psychology Congress on 18 September 2014.

3) What is your exact title and where are you currently working?

I am a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Pretoria. My main research interests are career construction counselling for life designing, emotional intelligence and social responsibility, and learning facilitation in mathematics.

I try to link research results to appropriate career choices and to life designing.

4) Now I also understand that you recently received the Stals Prize for Exceptional contributions to Education. Please tell us about this prize and how this came about?

I was nominated for this prize on account of a number of achievements in the past. I am a past editor of the South African Journal of Psychology, managing editor of Gifted Education International, editor of the SA Journal of Science and Technology and a member of several national and international bodies, including the National Career Development Association (USA), the Society for Vocational Psychology (SVP) (USA), the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) (USA), the Psychology Association of South Africa (SA), the South African Academy of Science and Arts (SA Academy), and the Association of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

I have been the author of more than 120 peer reviewed articles and 60 books or chapters in books since the beginning of 2002. In 2009, I was awarded the Stals Prize of the South African Academy of Science and Arts for exceptional research and contributions to Psychology and the Stals prize for exceptional research and contributions to Education in 2014.

I recently also received Psychological Society of South Africa’s (PsySSA) Award for Excellence in Science (at the 20th South African Psychology Congress on 18 September 2014).

I have supervised 43 doctoral theses and master’s dissertations since 2001. I was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for Teaching and Learning from the University of Pretoria in 2010 and have been nominated successfully as an Exceptional Academic Achiever on four consecutive occasions (2003-2016). I have a B rating from the NRF. I have been a regular keynote speaker at various conferneces. I was, for instance, invited to be one of two State-of-the-Science speakers at the 5th World Conference of Psychology, Counselling and Guidance (Dubrovnik, Croatia, 1-3 May, 2014; and my topic was “Examining the merits of a brief, quantitative+qualitative (career) counselling strategy) and one of the State-of-the-Science speakers (Division 16: Counselling Psychology) at the International Congress of Applied Psychology, the flagship event on the international psychology calendar, which was held in Paris, 8-13 July 2014. My topic there was “ Connecting life-themes to construct self-portraits”).

I was awarded a fellowship of the IAAP in June, 2014 (which was presented at the forthcoming ICAP Conference in Paris).

5) I know that you recently had a book about Career Counseling. Can you tell us briefly about the book and what it contains?

I recently published two books, namely

a. A. Di Fabio, & J. G. Maree (Eds), Psychology of career counselling: New challenges for a new era. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science (281 pages), and

b. Maree, J. G. (2013). Counselling for career construction: Connecting life themes to construct life portraits. Turning pain into hope. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense (136 pages).

The first book, a Festschrift in honour of Prof. Mark L. Savickas, celebrates his pivotal role in articulating a new framework for career counseling for the 21st century; one that can be used to help clients choose careers and design successful lives. His contribution to vocational guidance and career counseling has immense theoretical and practical value for all of us involved in helping clients not only choose jobs in a linear manner but, more importantly, “construct careers by imposing meaning on their vocational behaviour and occupational experiences” (Savickas, 2005, p. 43).

Prof. Savickas is widely regarded as the world’s leading researcher, scholar and thinker in the fields of Vocational Psychology and Career Counseling. His contributions to these fields can only be termed “pioneering” and “ground-breaking” and his established and ever-expanding profile as a leading scholar in the field of Counseling is reflected in his CV, which lists 90 articles in refereed journals and 50 book chapters.

The second book proposes a shift in career counselling towards a contemporary, contextualized, integrated quantitative+qualitative approach; a shift built on respect and aimed at using the best of both approaches to enable clients to exploit change and its effects. This approach compels clients and counsellors to re-author clients’ stories in a way that facilitates movement from pain-filled to triumph-filled themes and, ultimately, making social contributions. This will facilitate the making of social contributions, which lies at the heart of what I am advocating. This approach ties in with a multi-method approach comprising quantitative and qualitative, objective and subjective methods of career counselling assessment, data gathering and counselling.

Emphasis is placed on identifying deep-seated strengths and motives in clients and on using innovative techniques to empower clients to a) reflect on their career and life stories, and b) reflect on these reflections to initiate appropriate action because magic is bound to occur when clients begin to move (self-construction, self-realization or development will occur when people make an active attempt to let it happen). The mere desire or motivation to do something means little as does merely promising or ‘taking’ a decision to work harder, to do job analysis, or to ‘do better’. Storied career counselling consequently stresses the vital importance of merging clients’ intention and action.

6) What have I neglected to ask?

Nothing really. However, I may mention that I am currently in the process of completing the Manual for the Maree Career Matrix (a cutting edge interest inventory that I have developed and standardized among people of all ages over the past eight years). This test is already provisionally listed with our Professional Board for Psychology.


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