Personal Theory of Career Guidance Counseling Term Paper

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¶ … personal theory of career and guidance counseling. In order to effectively accomplish this task, it is important to consider a review of pertinent career/vocational and career guidance counseling theories that have shaped the development of this field in recent years. Through a comprehensive review of these theories, it will then be possible to integrate theory to provide a more integral understanding of my personal orientation toward practice. Further, a critical review of theories that can be employed in this field will elucidate the wide scope of methods that are available for professional development. Thus, if changes in practice are needed, a clear understanding of theory will provide a solid basis for decision making in this area.

Literature Review critical review of the current literature on career counseling theories clearly suggests that there are a host of paradigms that have been proposed to shape practice in this area. Given that the overall scope of this investigation is limited, the following literature review will highlight the specific theories have I have personally embraced in order to develop my personal philosophy of career counseling. By narrowing the number of theories covered, it will be possible to provide a more focused understanding of my approach to practice.

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TOPIC: Term Paper on Personal Theory of Career Guidance Counseling Assignment

Among the most notable theories to be advanced in the context of career counseling have been person-environment theories. Arbona (2000), in her review of person-environment theories argues that over the course of the last two decades a number of scholars have proposed theories using this theoretical framework. However, Arbona asserts that the most important person-environment theory developed in the last several years has been Holland's RIASEC typology. Under this framework, the following issues are used to guide the development of career counseling: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social Enterprising and Conventional. Holland argued that the manner in which the individual interacted with his or her external environment could serve as a salient means for vocational assessment: "Each of the personality types described in Holland's...typology represents characteristic patterns of interests, competencies and behaviors that are useful in describing both individuals and work environments" (p. 100). Because this measure focuses on person/environment matching it can improve outcomes for career counseling.

What is perhaps most important about both Holland's typology and person-environment theories in general is that they take the needs of the individual into consideration when providing service to the client. As reported by Miller, Springer and Cowger (2004) person-environment theories draw on ideas of congruence in which the unique needs of the individual must be matched with the unique needs of the environment. When congruence is achieved in this context, it will be possible for the individual to garner considerable satisfaction from his or her career choice. Thus, by applying this theory, the counselor can create a comprehensive assessment that will provide the client with a meaningful understanding of how well his or her personal needs will be met in a particular environmental context (Miller, et al., 2004). Given that counselors have a clear obligation to ensure positive outcomes for clients, this approach appears to provide a salient tool for achieving this goal.

Developmental Theories

Although person-environment theories clearly provide a means to make the counseling process a personal experience for the client, the reality is that there are other factors that can shape outcomes for career development and counseling. For instance, a review of the scholarly literature demonstrates that developmental theories have been widely supported in the development of career counseling practice. Flores, Scott, Wang, et al., (2003) in their review of developmental theories note the importance of concepts such as career maturity and vocational identity in the development of career counseling. Explicating these two ideas, Flores and coworkers observe that "career maturity related to social adjustment, general psychosocial competence, self-realization, and ego integration" while vocational identity can be directly related to achievement in the family. The importance of these issues can be quite prominent in career counseling, as Flores and coworkers report that "Career counselors may want to highlight personality and family variables because these may influence career outcomes. Moreover, exploring a client's perceptions of family relationships and values may be warranted, particularly if a client is having difficulty attaining career milestones" (p. 100).

Giannantonio and Hurley Hanson (2006) go on to note that developmental theories have been widely supported by work conducted by Super in the late 1950s. Specifically, these authors note that Super pioneered the concept of image norms in the development of career counseling. As reported by Giannantonio and Hurley Hanson "Image norms may influence the career decisions and developmental tasks inherent in each stage [of career development]. An image norm is the belief that individuals must present or posses a certain image, consistent with occupational, organizational or industry standards, in order to achieve career success" (p. 318). When applied in practice, the utilization of image norms provides a more integral understanding the psychological issues that are involved with career development for the individual. Giannantonio and Hurley Hanson assert that without the right image norms in place, individuals may find it difficult to explore potential career options to which they may be otherwise well suited.

What is perhaps most interesting about development theories is that they allow for a closer examination of the specific needs of the client. In addition to allowing the counselor to assess the client's current career position and path, developmental theories allow the counselor to garner more integral insight into the issues that have shaped the career development of the client. Using this information, the counselor can better understand the client's needs and develop a course of action which effectively incorporates all of the career development issues of client to inform practice.

Social Learning Theory

While person-environment and developmental theories provide the career counselor with practical techniques to facilitate interaction with the client, social learning theories as applied to career counseling appear to provide the professional with an underlying mechanism for understanding and viewing the entire career counseling process. As reported by Jackson and Nutini (2002) social learning theory provides a "basis for describing the goal of career counseling as learning and the role of career counselors as facilitating that learning" (p. 56). These authors go on to argue that career assessment can be used as a "learning tool, not only toe make inferences about how individuals' past learning experiences may match with some educational or occupational pursuits and not with others, but also as a basis for helping individuals explore or create new learning opportunities that are relevant to potential career goals" (p. 56).

When applied in the context of professional practice, it seems reasonable to argue that social learning theory provides an underlying impetus to support the development and use of career counseling. The process of career counseling is, in and of itself, a learning process which requires the client and the counselor to actively engage in understanding and learning in order to facilitate positive outcomes. When approached in this manner, professionals providing service to clients are free to explore a wide range of issues that may impact the development of career choices. The goal is to learn and to actively engage in learning as a principle mechanism for providing service to clients.

Although social learning theory does indeed provide a clear basis for building career counseling practice, a closer examination of social learning theory indicates that this paradigm can also have implications for practice. Jackson and Nutini (2002) go on to argue that implicit understanding of career counseling, and counseling in general, is that individuals receiving counseling services have backgrounds that are similar to those providing service. While this may have been the case in the past, Jackson and Nutini argue that increasing diversity in the general population has created increasing diversity in the practice of career counseling. Although clients may share some common interests or personality traits, Jackson and Nutini assert that the experiences of diverse social groups may not be similar. Thus, in order to provide competent service to diverse populations, the social learning differences that are presented among diverse populations must be addressed in order to make counseling practice salient and meaningful for the client.

When placed in this context it becomes evident that social learning theories can help develop multicultural counseling practice, which is essential for helping diverse populations. Again, the focus on using this approach is to garner a more integral understanding of the needs of the client such that the most appropriate service can be provided. Different social learning experiences of the individual may impact developmental processes and image norms. Understanding these issues before providing service can clearly improve outcomes for the client and ensure that career counselors are providing meaningful service.

Social Cognitive Approaches

Consistent with social learning approaches to career counseling are social cognitive approaches. Although some scholars prefer to group these approaches together (Flores, et al., 2002), a review of each indicates that there are notable differences in social cognitive approaches and social learning theory. As such, it seems reasonable to consider social cognitive approaches… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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