About Us

Life-Story was created in 2011 to provide a highly personalized education and career counselling service, which treats you as the unique individual you are. In the face of rapid changes and uncertainties, individuals constructing their life stories are increasingly seeking to work to live rather than to live to work. Life-Story is designed to help you understand how to use work to allow you to become who you want to be.

Life-Story’s Director is Dr Val O’Reilly a career professional with longstanding career counselling experience in NZ schools; Professional Member and past President of the Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ); Honorary Member of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA); member of the Careers and Transition Education Association of New Zealand (CATE); and founding member and Executive Director of The Career Development Company Ltd. Val’s completed PhD research involved a study of career practice in schools in Australia and NZ.

The Life-Story system is innovative and based on sound theoretical frameworks, through which clients construct and re-construct their autobiographies with the assistance of an expert counsellor. And it gets great results. Read what a few clients have said so far:

“Thank you for all your advice and guidance. I also want to thank you for helping me to be more proactive and organized.” – Zara, 17 years.

“Just want to thank you for the meeting we had… You helped me narrow it down. I would recommend anyone that needs guidance to go to Life-Story.” – Cherise, 21 years.

“Life-Story helped me find what I want to do after graduation. I highly recommend the system. ” – Liz, 24 years

“I would recommend Life-Story to other people because it shows you that career is not just a job. Life-Story helps you to take action.” – Dong Xun, 24

“I feel confident now to take action.” – Daniel 28 years

“The Life-Story workshop really helped me understand what my life-career story means for me.” – Bella, 49 years

As Director, Val brings a wealth of local and international knowledge to the Life-Story practice. In addition to ongoing professional development for career counselling, Val has first-hand knowledge of NZ and Australian universities. Targeted visits to Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and other highly regarded universities such as in Hong Kong and Canada have ensured Val has established excellent contacts and networks around the globe.

Val understands the constraints of school timetables and is committed to ensuring Life-Story works flexibly with teenagers and their families so that counselling is timely and effective.

Young adults starting or completing their tertiary studies or undergoing changes in direction will find Life-Story invaluable in assisting them to make transitions.

Adults and career-changers will enjoy the opportunity through Life-Story to review their career and look for new meanings for the future.



Conference presentations

O’Reilly, V. (2018). The professional identity of school career practitioners. Paper presented at November CATE Conference, Auckland, NZ.

O’Reilly, V. (2018). The professional identity of school career practitioners. Paper presented at October CDANZ Symposium, Wellington, NZ.

O’Reilly, V. (2011). The role of school websites in career development practice. Paper presented at April CDAA Career Development Conference, Cairns, Australia.


2018 recipient of Auckland Careers and Transition Education CATE Conference Scholarship


O’Reilly, V. (2017). New Zealand Country Paper. Paper presented at 2017 International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy (ICCDPP) Symposium, Seoul, Korea. http://iccdpp2017.org/download/Country_paper_New_Zealand_ENG.pdf

O’Reilly, V.N. (2015). Life-Story for life design: A career development activity for refugee students. In M. McMahon & W. Patton (Eds.), Ideas for Career Practitioners. (2nd edition pp 220-223). Australia: Australian Academic Press.


• 2018: PhD. The research investigated perspectives of school career practitioners in Australia and New Zealand about their professional identity in relation to professional standards and professionalism. University of Queensland, Australia.
• 2010: Certificate of Proficiency, Educational Research. AUT University, NZ.
• 2009: Masters in Career Development. The research investigated the role of school websites in school career development practice. AUT University, NZ.
• 1981: Diploma of Teaching. Dunedin Teacher’s College, NZ.
• 1980: Bachelor of Arts. University of Otago, NZ.

• Self-Directed Search (SDS), Certification Date 2010. Certification authority NZCER.
• SHL Occupational Testing, Certification Date 2003. Certification authority SHL.

More Testimonials

“It really made me think a lot, especially about the meaning of my favourite saying.” – Priya, 17 years

“The thing I found most useful was that you helped me find which way I want to go.” Young, 22 years

“I would recommend Life-Story because it really helped to get to know yourself better.” Abel, 25 years

“The thing I found personally helpful was that I got more understanding about life.” Chao, 28 years

“I am even more interested now to learn more about my life-career story.” Monica, 57 years

“Career indecision is hesitation before transformation” – Savickas