Career Counseling

Career Counseling: A Holistic Approach

Theories of Career Development

Part II

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Social Learning & Cognitive Theories

These theories focus on wide range of variables that affect career choice and maintenance over the life span.

Key elements are problem-solving and decision-making skills.

Career choice also involves the interaction of cognitive and affective processes.

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

A social-learning theory approach to career decision making was first proposed by Krumboltz, Mitchell, and Gelatt (1975) and then several years later by Mitchell and Krumboltz (1990).

More recently, Mitchell and Krumboltz (1996) have extended the earlier social-learning theory approach to include Krumboltz’s learning theory of career counseling.

Now called the learning theory of career counseling (LTCC).

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

In LTCC, the process of career development involves four factors:

Genetic endowments and special abilities

Environmental conditions and events

Learning experiences

Task approach skills

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

Genetic endowments and special abilities include inherited qualities that may set limits on the individual’s career opportunities.

Environmental conditions and events are factors of influence that are often beyond the individual’s control.

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

Learning experiences include:

Instrumental learning

Associative learning experiences

Task approach skills include the sets of skills the individual has developed.

These sets of skills largely determine the outcome of problems and tasks the individual faces.

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

Emphasizes the importance of learning experiences and their effect on occupational selection.

Factors that influence preferences in the social-learning model:

Cognitive processes

Interactions in the environment

Inherited personal characteristics

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

Genetic and environmental factors are also involved.

Other factors influencing preferences are valued role models.

Finally, positive words and images will lead to positive reactions to that occupation.

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

Learning takes place through observations as well as through direct experiences.

Counselor’s role is to probe assumptions and to explore alternative beliefs and courses of action.

Assisting individuals to understand fully the validity of their beliefs is a major component.

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Krumboltz’s Learning Theory of Career Counseling

Counselors should address the following problems.

Failure to recognize that a problem exists.

Failure to exert the effort needed to make a decision or solve a problem.

Eliminating a potentially satisfying alternative for inappropriate reasons.

Choosing poor alternatives.

Suffering anxiety over perceived inability to achieve goals.

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Happenstance Approach Theory

Mitchell, Levin, and Krumboltz (1999) developed happenstance approach theory for career counseling.

Happenstance approach suggests that counselors are to assist clients respond to conditions and events in a positive manner.

Clients are to learn to deal with unplanned events, especially in the give-and-take of life in the 21st century workforce.

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Happenstance Approach Theory

Five critical clients skills

Curiosity

Persistence

Flexibility

Optimism

Risk taking

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Happenstance Approach Theory

Happenstance theory suggests that client learn to approach the future with a positive attitude and the curiosity and optimism that produces positive results.

Foster an attitude that takes advantage of unplanned events.

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Happenstance Approach Theory

According to Mitchell and Krumboltz (1996), when people in modern society make career choices, they must cope with four fundamental trends.

Career counselors must recognize these trends:

Clients need to expand their capabilities and interests.

Clients need to prepare for changing work tasks.

Clients need to be empowered to take action.

Career counselors need to play a major role in dealing with all career problems.

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Happenstance Approach Theory

Many have suggested that career and personal counseling should be integrated.

Many issues call for interventions by the career/personal counselor.

Burnout

Career change

Peer affiliate relationships

Obstacles to career development

The work role and its effect on other life roles are examples

And many others.

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Career Development from a Cognitive Information Processing Perspective

Based on the cognitive information processing (CIP) theory developed by Peterson, Sampson, and Reardon (1991).

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CIP is based on the following ten assumptions:

Career choice results from an interaction of cognitive and affective processes.

Making career choices is a problem solving activity.

The capabilities of career problem solvers depend on the availability of cognitive operations as well as knowledge.

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CIP is based on the following ten assumptions:

Career problem solving is a high-memory-load task.

Motivation.

Career development involves continual growth and change in knowledge structures.

Career identity depends on self-knowledge.

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CIP is based on the following ten assumptions:

Career maturity depends on one’s ability to solve career problems.

The ultimate goal is achieved by facilitating growth of information-processing skills.

Ultimate aim of career counseling is to enhance client’s capabilities as a career problem solver and decision-maker.

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CIP

The major strategy of career intervention is to provide learning events that will develop the individual’s processing abilities.

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CIP

The stages of processing information include:

Screening, translating, and encoding input in short-term memory

Then, storing it in long-term memory

Later activating, retrieving, and transforming the input into working memory to arrive at a solution.

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CIP

Peterson, Sampson, and Reardon stress that career problem solving is primarily a cognitive process that can be improved through a sequential procedure known as CASVE.

CASVE includes the following processing skills:

Communication

Analysis

Synthesis

Valuing

Execution

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Pyramid of information-processing domains

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CIP

Major difference between CIP and others is the role of cognition as a mediating force that leads individuals to greater power and control in determining their own destinies.

Authors have proposed a seven-step sequence for career delivery. See text for example of “Individual Learning Plan.”

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A career counseling sequence for individuals

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Career Development from a Social Cognitive Perspective

According to Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1996), there are three ways to translate and share knowledge with existing theories and emerging ones.

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Career Development from a Social Cognitive Perspective

The first is to agree on a common meaning for conceptually related concepts, such as self-concept and self-efficacy.

Betz (1992) defines career self-efficacy as “the possibility that low expectations of efficacy with respect to some aspect of career behavior may serve as a detriment to optimal career choice and the development of the individual,” (p. 24).

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Self-Efficacy Theory

One of the most promising theories that may lend itself to addressing gender is Hackett and Betz’s (1981) self-efficacy theory (based primarily on Bandura’s social learning theory).

Hackett and Betz (1981) suggest that women who believe they are incapable of performing certain tasks (low self-efficacy) limit their career mobility and restrict their career options.

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Career Development from a Social Cognitive Perspective

The second way to translate and share knowledge about existing theories and emerging ones is to fully describe and define common outcomes such as satisfaction and stability, found in a number of theories.

Finally, a third way is to fully explain the relationships among such diverse constructs as interests, self-efficacy, abilities, and needs.

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Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT)

The aim is to explain how variables such as interests, abilities, and values interrelate and how all variables influence individual growth.

Also to delineate the contextual factors (environmental influences) that lead to career outcomes.

Also emphasized is the term personal agency.

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SCCT

Key Theoretical Constructs

The personal determinants of career development have been conceptualized as self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and personal goals.

The “big three” are considered to be building blocks that determine the course of career development and its outcome.

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SCCT

Self-efficacy is a set of beliefs about a specific performance domain.

Outcome expectations are regarded as personal beliefs about expectations or consequences of behavioral activities.

Personal goals are considered to be guides that sustain behavior.

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SCCT

Interest Developmental Model

Individuals develop interests through activities in which they view themselves as competent and generally expect valued outcomes.

Attitudes and Values

Values are preferences for particular reinforcers such as money, status, or autonomy.

Gender and Race/Ethnicity

The individual’s socially constructed world, not the inherited biological traits, is the focus of gender and race in the SCCT.

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SCCT

Choice Model

The choice process is divided into three components:

Establishing a goal

Taking action to implement a choice

Attaining a level of performance that determines the direction of future career behavior

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SCCT

Choice Model

The pathways to career choice in SCCT are:

Self-efficacy and outcome expectations promote career-related interests

Interests in turn influence goals

Goal-related actions lead to performance experiences

The outcome determines future paths (determined by whether self-efficacy is strengthened or weakened)

Finally, one establishes a career decision or redirects goals.

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SCCT

Performance Model

A summary description of SCCT theory.

It points out the interplay of ability, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and the establishment of goals for judging performance.

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SCCT – Practical Applications

Suggestions include educational programs in schools that concentrate on developing interests, values, and talents.

Individuals who are experiencing great difficulty with career choice or change should be presented with array of occupations that correspond with their abilities and values, but not necessarily with their interests.

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SCCT – Practical Applications

Strategy used to combat perceived weaknesses includes using occupational card sorts.

Overcoming barriers to choice and success is a significant goal.

School-to-work initiatives include designing skills programs that provide for self-efficacy enhancement, realistic outcome expectations, and goal-setting skills.

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Summary of Social Learning and Cognitive Theories

Emphasis on self-knowledge.

Information-processing skills of major importance.

Stress importance of human traits such as ability, personality, and values, and suggest research be directed to how these variables interrelate to influence growth and development.

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Summary of Social Learning and Cognitive Theories

Other important factors are social, cultural, and economic conditions.

Counselors are urged to unearth contextual interactions and relationship between events and experiences of each client.

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Summary of Social Learning and Cognitive Theories

Self-efficacy is thought to be the result of several factors.

Career beliefs are a core element.

Faulty beliefs are aggressively addressed.

Learning programs are important for increasing range of career choices.

Learning takes place in many ways.

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Summary of Social Learning and Cognitive Theories

Have clients observe work activities and attempt to learn certain tasks.

Standardized tests used to determine educational and cognitive deficits.

Individual learning program goals and activities designed to debunk faulty thinking.

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Summary of Social Learning and Cognitive Theories

Learning to process information effectively is a major goal of these theories.

Skills learned in an initial career choice process can be used in the future.

Clients can prepare for future changes in work.

Learning to adapt and adjust is a lifelong endeavor.

Career Information and the CASVE Cycle

Phase of the CASVE Cycle Example of Career Information and Media

Communication (identifying a

need)

A description of the personal and family issues

that women typically face in returning to work

(information) in a video-taped interview of

currently employed women (medium)

Analysis (interrelating

problem components)

Explanations of the basic education requirements

for degree programs (information) in community

college catalogues (medium)

Synthesis (creating likely

alternatives)

A presentation of emerging nontraditional career

options for women (information) at a seminar on

career development for women (medium)

Valuing (prioritizing

alternatives)

An exploration of how the roles of parent, spouse,

citizen, “leisurite,” and homemaker would be

affected by the assumption of the worker role

(information) in an adult version of a computer –

assisted career guidance system (medium)

Execution (forming means –

ends strategies)

A description of a function resume emphasizing

transferable skills, followed by the creation of a

resume (information) presented on a computer –

assisted employability skills system (medium)

Career Information and the CASVE Cycle
Phase of the CASVE Cycle Example of Career Information and Media
Communication (identifying a need) A description of the personal and family issues that women typically face in returning to work (information) in a video-taped interview of currently employed women (medium)
Analysis (interrelating problem components) Explanations of the basic education requirements for degree programs (information) in community college catalogues (medium)
Synthesis (creating likely alternatives) A presentation of emerging nontraditional career options for women (information) at a seminar on career development for women (medium)
Valuing (prioritizing alternatives) An exploration of how the roles of parent, spouse, citizen, “leisurite,” and homemaker would be affected by the assumption of the worker role (information) in an adult version of a computer-assisted career guidance system (medium)
Execution (forming means-ends strategies) A description of a function resume emphasizing transferable skills, followed by the creation of a resume (information) presented on a computer-assisted employability skills system (medium)

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