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Career Counseling

Career Counseling discusses that A largely verbal process in which a counselor and counselee(s) are in a dynamic and collaborative relationship, focused on identifying and acting on the counselee’s goals, in which the counselor employs a repertoire of diverse techniques and processes, to help bring about self-understanding, Understanding of behavioral options available, and informed decision-making in the counselee, who has the responsibility for his or her own actions (Herr & Cramer, 1996).

Career Counseling Theories:

A theory of career development can be defined as a conceptual system that identifies, describes, and interrelates important factors affecting lifelong human involvement with work

Five major types (Herr & Cramer, 1984);Career Counseling

  1. The trait-factor approach
  2. Psychological-personality based approach
  3. Situational approaches
  4. Decision theory
  5. Developmental approach

The Trait-Factor Approach (Williamson)

It is the theory of individual differences which focuses on matching of personal characteristics with the job requirements. Accordingly, it refers to a highly cognitive process.  The origin of trait-factor approach can be traced back to Frank Parsons. It stresses matching an individual with a job that fits that person’s talents. Hence, it works according to Parsonian equation given below:

Knowledge of self + Knowledge of work + counseling = ability to choose

Psychological-personality based approach

It is based on Holland’s theory that personality is the major factor influencing career choices. This theory indicates that adopting a particular kind of work is not simply a matter of choice but is the result of complex environmental and personal factors. Four factors are important in these connections:  Major assumptions of his theory are that there are basically six personality types: Realistic, investigative, artistic, social, conventional, enterprising. There are also six environmental categories: Realistic, investigative, artistic, social, conventional, enterprising : People search for suitable environment and  Interaction between the person and environment. Client’s response may be assessed on instruments, like on Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory. A person gets a three-letter code which describes the kind of work hat person is suitable for. For example, if a person gets a code of “RIA”, it will indicate that the person is Realistic, investigative, and artistic. The next task will be to determine the kind of jobs that are congruent with that RIA profile, for example, architectural draftsman, and dental technician. The counselor then looks for the congruence between personality and job requirement. He may look for the details of different suitable jobs for that person. For that person, different books can also be consulted, like,.

Situational Approaches

Emphasis is on situational factors such as location in space and time; political and social factors; ethnic, religious, and family beliefs, and value systems. Although personal and job related problems are very important, it is often difficult to disregard the situational factors.

Decision Theory

The career selection is not simply a good fit between the person and the requirements of a given job, but it actually depends on learning experiences as well as different other factors.  It is a social learning approach developed by Krumboltz (1976). Factors influencing career decisions:

  • Genetic endowment & special abilities
  • Environmental conditions & events
  • Learning experiences
  • Task approach skills

Developmental Approach

  • Career decision is a lifelong process with counseling interventions depending on the person’s life

Stage.  Levinson’s midlife transition (1977) theory indicates that people in their middle age often face many problems regarding career counseling.

  • This approach includes much of the previously mentioned approaches.
  • Most influential developmental approach is that of Donald Super (1957).
  • It focuses on the influence of self-concept on occupational choices. Although self-concept is fairly stable after late adolescence, any change with time and experience make choices a continuous process built on the ideas of many developmental theorists, such as Havighurst (1953)
  • Growth (0-14): self concept develops through identification toward others; needs and fantasy are dominant early in this stage. Different behaviors, like industriousness, social interaction, goal setting, and self-direction are learned.
  • Exploration (14-24): time for self-examination, try-outs and occupational explorations;
  • Establishment (24-44): having found an appropriate field; having made a place in the world of work, the concern is how to hold on it.
  • Maintenance (44-64): how to hold on the world of work, competition with young workers, try to maintain status
  • Decline (64 years–death) selective participation, new roles and adjustments

Career Counseling Strategies

  • Assessment

Use of inventories, tests, rating scales, etc. Specialized training many be required for psychological testing.  Use of computers and computerized testing

  • Guidance

Information attainment and sharing. Use of different resource books and manuals like “Directory of Occupational Titles” (DOT) .Published information about these jobs is available in diverse sources, like CDs, videos, audios, books, etc.

  • Work adjustment

Work adjustment is more than career choice; everyone who is unhappy with the job need not definitely change the job. May be the person has to improve interpersonal skills, behave differently, and change perceptions.

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