Existential career guidance for groups of young refugees and migrants: A Danish initiative"

Inger-Lise Petersen, Kristina Mariager-Anderson, Jean-Luc Bernaud, Thi-Van Patillon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review


For many young migrants and refugees, adapting to a new life in Denmark is a challenging process. They often find themselves struggling with feelings of alienation, identity confusion and loss of meaning. Based on an action research project with two career counsellors and ten young migrants and refugees, this article examines how a five-step intervention model of existential career guidance for groups can support young migrants’ and refugees’ reflections on and experiences with how to live a meaningful life. Thematic analysis is used to investigate the empirical data, which comprises nine semi-structured interviews (three with the career counsellors and six with the counsellees), as well as field notes from the action research project. The findings show that for the counsellees, the intervention model can support a sense of belonging and of being understood and respected, self-awareness, hope and a desire to care for others as well as linguistic stimulation. For the counsellors, the intervention model supports a co-construction process, in which participants’ co-construct understanding and plans of action, and it enables them to gain a deeper understanding of the counsellees and their ability to reflect upon notions of a meaningful life. Finally, we suggest that future research explore that future research explore the potential of existential career guidance on Western groups compared to non-Western groups as well as whether counsellors’ religious orientation and cultural background might affect the career guidance process.
Original languageDanish
JournalInternational Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventNICE Academy in Paris on “Developing Career Management Skills” - University of Paris, Paris, France
Duration: 2 Nov 20215 Nov 2021


ConferenceNICE Academy in Paris on “Developing Career Management Skills”
LocationUniversity of Paris
Internet address


  • counseling

Cite this