Is self-reflection dangerous? Preventing rumination in career learning

Reineke Lengelle, Tom Luken, Frans Meijers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Reflection is considered necessary and beneficial within career learning and is deemed to be a condition for successful career-identity development. Indeed, reflection is generally seen as a key competency in learning how to respond effectively to a complex and dynamic post-modern world in which individuals are increasingly exposed to risk. Paradoxically however, reflection can itself form a risk when it results in rumination. It is therefore important to identify the conditions and personal (risk) factors that make reflection a detrimental or beneficial activity and to identify elements within career-learning interventions that promote benefit. The purpose here is to increase awareness about reflective versus ruminative processes and promote responsible use of interventions that aim to stimulate reflection in the process of career-identity formation. Based on the “career writing” method, the authors conclude that a successful career intervention must especially provide good facilitation and a safe holding environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Career Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct. 2016


  • Career reflection
  • career identity
  • career writing
  • narrative
  • rumination


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