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Sunny Hansen



Weaving Our Lives into a Meaningful Whole with Integrative Life Planning

Sunny Hansen has been a pioneer of the postmodern concept of approaching life choices and decisions from a holistic framework.  In her interview, she will discuss the following:

  • tasks that career professionals can offer clients and suggest ways in which educators, career practitioners, and clients/students can use ILP in their own career process. 
  • a few exercises that practitioners can use in one-to-one or group settings. 
  • background on how she arrived at her decision to create this new, holistic approach to career/life planning
  • instruments that can be used in teaching ILP or using it with students/clients
  • experience with ILP in international settings

Career Development Tasks

In her tele-interview, Hansen will explain how to carry out the following ILP tasks:

  • finding work that needs doing in changing global contexts
  • attending to our health
  • connecting family and work and changing gender roles
  • valuing pluralism and inclusivity
  • managing transitions and organizational change
  • exploring spiritualty and life purpose. 

Sunny S. Hansen Bio

Sunny S. Hansen is a past president of the 55,000-member American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Career Development Association. She has been a professor of counseling and student personnel psychology and is the director of the BORN FREE program at the University of Minnesota. She founded and chaired the ACES/NCDA Commission on Preparing Counselors for Career Development in the 2lst Century. For more than 40 years, Dr. Hansen has written and lectured widely in the U.S. and about 35 countries on many aspects of counseling and career development.  She has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of her work, including the Eminent Career Award from the National Career Development Association in 1990 and the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision in 1986. In 1978 she was elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association for distinguished contribution to the field of psychology. As president of the American Association for Counseling and Development In 1989-90, her theme was Global Visions—Celebrating Diversity, Creating Community. More...

Sunny Hansen's Websites




Sunny Hansen's Email:  sunnyssh @umn.edu

Click on picture to read article on Integrative Life Planning (ILP) in the NCDA magazine, Career Developments. Fall, 2008, Vol.24, No. 4.

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Activity:  Pie of Personal Identity, Valuing Pluralism and Diversity


On an 8 1/2 x 11" sheet, draw a circle as large as you can.

Around the circle, go clockwise. For example, see following:


Gender (12:05 pm)

Social Class (12:10 pm)

Physical Ability & Disability (12:15 pm)

Sexual Orientation (12:20 pm)

Religion/Spirituality (12:25 pm)

Socio-Political/Historical Context (12:30 pm)

Age (12:35 pm)

Language (12:40 pm)

Family (12:45 pm)

Ethnicity (12:50 pm)

Race (12:55 pm)

Culture (1:00 pm)


Divide the space of your pie, according to importance to you, of the various dimensions of personal identity. Cross out those that are not important to your identity at this time.



  • Have the importance of these factors changed over time?
  • Are they likely to change in the future?
  • What does the total pie say about you?
  • How does it affect your actions?

If possible, discuss your responses with another person.  More exercises can be found in the last chapter of Hansen, L.S. Integrative Life Planning:  Critical Tasks for Career Development and Changing Life Patterns. (Jossey Bass, now Wiley).



Adapted from Patricia Arredondo, 1994.

 Activity 2: Role Identification

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David Reile


View David Reile's Career AIM Assessment instrument that can be applied to Sunny Hansen's ILP Theory.

For more information on purchasing or using the Career AIM assessment and how a career practitioner can use this assessment tool, please contact David Reile at the Career Development Alliance, email reile @mindspring.com.

David M. Reile Bio

David M. Reile, PhD is a licensed psychologist, National Certified Career Counselor, and Master Career Counselor with over 20 years of education and experience in career planning and psychological consultation.  David’s education includes a master’s degree in counseling with a specialization in career development and a doctorate in counseling psychology with a specialization in psychological assessment.  David’s experience has been applied in organizational development and consultation as well as management of counselors and career development projects in a variety of settings, including healthcare, banking, international organizations, educational institutions, government, and private practice.  David’s website is www.careerdevelopmentalliance.com. David Reile's email:  Reile @Mindspring.com.


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Opening Instructions for Listeners

Before we begin, here are a few instructions for listeners:

  • If you have a question, press 5* on your phone.
  • Directly after the interview, be sure to fill out the evaluation linked to your call-in instructions, especially if you want to earn CEUs. 
  • Please register at least 24 - 48 hours before the interview so we have time to send out the call-in information.
  • If you'd like to listen to more of these tele-interviews, and your organization is not currently a subscriber, contact me with someone I can talk with about subscribing your organization so you can listen for free (except for the cost of your distance provider). Email info@ careerwell.org or call 415.312.4294.
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When I first met Sunny Hansen, about 15 years ago when I started going to National Career Development Association conferences, she would happily discuss her holistic view of career development with anyone who showed interest.  At that time, the words "holistic" and "integrative" were strange, "new age" terms. She talked about relationships, family, and societal influences, pluralism, spirituality, and social inclusion - novel concepts in the world of structured, step-by-step career theories.


When I started teaching career development to counselors-in-training and career development facilitator students at the beginning of the 21st century, most were women, and they were greatly attracted to Sunny Hansen's concepts, which, by that time, were included in career counseling textbooks. Sunny Hansen is also featured in the National Career Development Association's Career Development Facilitator manual and DVD, co-authored by David Reile, who is joining us on this tele-interview.


Sunny and David, welcome! 


And welcome listeners all over the world!  We are eager to hear more about Sunny Hansen's holistic worldview of life planning and about the assessment tools that Sunny and David have developed.


Integrative Life Planning has come of age! 


My first question is...

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Interview Questions


  1. (Question for Sunny Hansen) You are one of the first career theorists whom I met who talks about a holistic approach to career planning.  When and why did you first develop this community/global community approach?
  2. (Question for Sunny Hansen) Who influenced you the most in your approach to counseling?
  3. (Question for Sunny Hansen) What is Integrative Life Planning (ILP) and why do we need this approach?
  4. (Question for Sunny Hansen) What are some of the concepts in ILP (6 tasks)?
  5. (Question for Sunny Hansen) When you presented this approach to your career counseling classes, who were especially attracted to this approach?
  6. (Question for Sunny Hansen) How have people demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach?
  7. (Question for Sunny Hansen) What is your ILP Inventory?  How does it relate to the ILP Theory? How is it evaluated?
  8. (Question for David Reile) Can you tell us why you developed the Career AIM instrument?
  9. (Question for David Reile) How do you see the Career Aim instrument working with ILP?
  10. (Question for David Reile) How could the counselor discuss the Career Aim instrument with clients?
  11. (Question for Sunny Hansen) How can one apply your concepts in their work?
  12. (Question for Sunny Hansen) How do career and counseling professionals in other parts of the world view your theory?
  13. (Question for Sunny Hansen) How can people order your book?  Can one order it through Jossey Bass, the publisher? Is it available in other languages?
  14. (Question for Sunny Hansen) Where do you see yourself going from here with the Integrative Life Planning Process?



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Thank you, Sunny and David, for sharing your wealth of experience and holistic approach to living and working. Sunny, your ILP Theory has been the basis for many immerging career theories. We look forward to hearing more about David's Career AIM Assessment and other applications that both of you are developing for counselors to implement the ILP Theory with their clients.


The upcoming NCDA Conference, June 29 - July 2, will feature Sunny and David and many other Careerwell industry experts, including Careerwell's May 27 interviewee, Linda Sollars, who will talk about Defining Your Personal Brand to Overcome Intergenerational Barriers for Job Search and Workplace Effectiveness.


Go to Careerwell.org, click on "Upcoming Live Events," and view all the Careerwell speakers.  The California Career Development Association, a Careerwell-subscribing organization, will sponsor two full-day PDIs on June 29 at the NCDA Conference, one on green careers and sustainability, and the other on Type and RIASEC.


Speaking of Linda Sollar's Intergenerational theme, I am also pleased to interview Dick Gaither on May 20 (next Thursday). Dick will discuss 35 ways to Conquer Age Bias and To Answer Over-Qualifications Questions.


Live events of subscribing organizations featuring Careerwell speakers are publicized on the Careerwell website, so organizations, let me know in advance and I shall help bring attendees to your live event.


If you are not currently a member of a subscribing organization and would like your favorite organization to subscribe, email info@careerwell.org


This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.