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The Question

I am interested in connecting my daughter to someone who can help her on her career path. She graduated from university last year with a BA in music and psychology. She has a horse and is interested in equine therapy, but I'm concerned about the ability for her to support herself financially with that choice. I think she would be suited to something in the medical profession, such as lab or X-ray technician. Either way, I think she will need to further her education somewhat. Can you give us some advice?

The Answer

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I understand that you are concerned about your daughter's career choice and her ability to support herself financially. You are demonstrating natural parental behaviour in wanting the best for your daughter.

But it is important to remember that this is your daughter's life and career. She sounds like a smart, responsible individual who has already completed her undergraduate degree. She needs to figure out what she wants to do for a job and a career at this point. Your daughter also has to want help with her career path.

Adult children need to find their own way in their careers so that they do not resent their parents for meddling in or trying to direct their career paths and choices.

Allow your daughter to explore her options including equine therapy. Be supportive not judgmental of her choices and decisions. Treat her like the adult that she is.

Ask your daughter if she wants help with her career path and determine if she is open to career coaching or counselling. If she says "no" that she wants to do it on her own then respect her decision. If she is open to help in figuring out her career path then there are a number of things for her to consider.

There are all sorts of student counsellors, career counsellors, career coaches, and academic advisers that can help her explore equine therapy and other areas of educational and vocational interest.

If she is open to career or academic coaching then you will have to figure out who will pay for this – you, your daughter or a combination thereof. Academic and some career counselling is often provided for free by educational or training organizations. Private career coaches and counsellors charge an hourly fee.

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She will need to choose who she wants to work with on her career and/or academic choices. If she chooses to work with a certified career coach or counsellor, these professionals are bound by confidentiality guidelines so that, even if you are paying for all or part of the coaching, the coach or counsellor cannot share the information with you. Only your daughter can choose to share any information with you from the sessions.

If she has not already done so, she will want to talk to some equine therapists and find out about their training, background, experience in the profession and how much they charge. She can also check out training programs for equine therapy. You may want to ask her to share what she learns about this profession. It will be important for you to keep an open mind and not dismiss it because it is not a conventional health care job such as a laboratory or X-ray technician. Your daughter will want to ascertain if the profession matches her experience, values and interests. A career coach or counsellor can help her with this.

If she decides needs further education with respect to equine therapy or other career options then she will want to explore how she will pay for that. Academic and financial aid advisers from post-secondary institutes can help with this.

Bruce Sandy is principal of www.brucesandy.com and Pathfinder Coaching & Consulting in Vancouver.

Have a question about careers, labour law or management? Send it to our panel of experts: careerquestion@globeandmail.com Your name and address will be kept confidential.

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