NCE – Career Counseling Section

NCE – Lifestyle & Career Development

Historical Overview

  1. Frank Parsons – In 1909 wrote book called “Choosing a Vocation”.
  2. 1911 Vocational Guidance Newsletter published.
  3. 1912 Hugo Munsterberg “Psychology & Industrial Efficiency”.
  4. 1917 Army Alpha & Army Beta used for assessing mental abilities.
  5. 1927 Strong Vocational Interest Blank.
  6. 1927 Elton Mayo & Harvard Study Hawethorne Works. Worker behavior study “Hawethorne Effect”
  7. 1939 DOT Book “Dictionary of Occupational Titles”
  8. 1941 Army Classification Test came along
  9. 1942 Counseling and Psychotherapy by Carl Ransom Rogers.
  10. 1957 Donald E Super “Psychology of Careers”.
  11. 1963 Ordin/Nachman/Siegel (?) Psychodynamic Career Counseling
  12. 1966 Krumboltz application of Skinnerian Principles in Career Counseling
  13. 1973 John O Kreitz career maturity inventory.

Career Counseling Theories


An Overview by ROSENTHAl (2005)

You match the worker and the environment. Should have matching traits in each.  Ultimate job occurs when an individual’s traits match the requirements and the characteristics of the job environment.
  1. Draw heavily on psychological testing “psychometric data”
  2. Construed as a one time decision where the right person & job
  3. Influenced and molded by the psychological testing movement.
  4. Differential diagnosis key here (i.e. what makes job bad)
  5. Studies indicate that different judges, form different opinions.
Key Figures
  1. E.G. Williamson –  how diagnose career decision
  2. Frank Parsons.
    1. Try to understand yourself in terms of interests, abilities, aptitudes, resources and other qualities.
    2. Know the requirement of various careers and conditions
    3. Use reason to determine compatability of the two.
    4. 1939 How to Counsel Students
    5. Some say, Minnesota Viewpoint is the only approach to general counseling
    6. 1941 Minnesota Occupational Rating Scales. Is a statistical tool to use to match students with jobs. Relied on probability that a certain match would be compatible.
    7. Emphasized vocational and educational concerns.
    8. Counselor is like a tutor, ultimate decision is left up to client.
    9. Critics – minimizes most important thing, client’s perception of self. This is ignoring.  Also ignores affective aspect

An Overview by Sharf, (2006)

  1. In 1909, Frank Parsons described his concept of vocational guidance in his book Chosing a Vocation. Became the foundation for Trait and Factor Theory…..
    1. Trait refers to a characteristics of an individual that can be measured through testing (i.e. Myers Briggs)
    2. Factor refers to the assessment of characteristics of the person and the job they are interested in.
  2. When selecting an occupation the individual should ideally have the following information:
    1. A clear understanding of yourself
    2. A knowledge of the requirements and conditions of success, advantages and disadvantages, compensation, opportunities, and prospects in different lines of work.
    3. True reasoning on the relations of these two groups of facts.
  3. Parson’s…century-old concepts have been embellished by integrating tests and occupational information with his precepts, described as follows:
    1. STEP ONE: GAINING SELF-UNDERSTANDING (attitudes, abilities, interests, ambitions, resources limitations and causes).
      1. Parson’s Interview on Self-Understanding – In parson’s time relied primarily on interviews and client discussion:
        1. Asked client what they enjoyed doing (interests)
        2. How well they did it (aptitude & achievement)
        3. As clients talked about aspects of their life that were important to them (personal values)
        4. The counselor then observed the client’s personality traits.
      2. Five basic traits and factors can be assessed by testing and interviewing are aptitudes, achievements, interests, values and personality.
        1. ACHIEVEMENT TESTS– real how much the person has learned (NESA testing)
          1. Include academic accomplishments ….
          2. Supervisory ratings of tasks completed.
          3. Certification for entry into a job.
        2. ABILITY TESTING– measures the maximum performance and a person’s level of present ability on a specific set of tasks.
        3. APTITUDE TEST– person’s future probable level of ability to perform a test. (SAT/ACT/ASVAB)….
        4. INTERESTS– often the most important trait used in occupational selection. Important to note, however that interests and abilities do not always correlate.
          1. KUDER Career Search –
          2. Strong Interest Inventory
          3. California Occupational Survey
        5. VALUES – Most often neglected. Should consider general values and work-related values.
        1. OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION– 2ndIngredient of Trait and Factor Theory.Three Aspects of Information Important to Consider:
          1. Description of occupation, Work Conditions & Salary
          2. Classification Systems of Occupations.
          3. Know the trait and factor requirements for each occupation that a person is seriously considering.
        2. TYPES OF OCCUPATIONAL INFORMAITON –to gather information that describes occupations, the work conditions, and salary.
          1. Booklets by trade associations.
          2. Computer-based Information Systems / Websites
          3. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
          4. National Career Development Association
        3. CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS– to organize information available on various occupation types.
          1. Holland’s Classification of occupations has six categories.
          2. Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) 12,741 occupations
          3. ONET – Occupational Information Network – 1,170 occupations
            1. Worker Characteristics
            2. Worker Requirements
            3. Experience Requirements
            4. Occupational Requirements
              1. General work activities
              2. Organizational contexts
              3. Work contexts
            5. Occupational Specific Requirements – skills, knowledge, duties, machines, tools, and equipment.
            6. Occupational Characteristics – job opportunities and payscale….
        4. TRAIT & FACTOR REQUIREMENTS– occupational information related to client’s traits. Information on aptitudes, achievements, interests, values and personality is vital to consider….
          1. Strong Interest Inventory….
          2. ASVAB / SAT = Etc…
        1. Integrating information about oneself and occupations is a major goal of career counseling. The match between self and occupation is built into the first two steps of trait and factor theory.
          1. Firstly abilities/interests etc suggest occupations
          2. Secondly, researching occupations suggest optimal traits
        2. Inventories combining this information include SIG Plus and DISCOVER. Allow opportunity to measure interests, values, and self-reported competencies. Provide occupations that match this information.

Rogers never directly theorized this. These techniques focus on the client’s inner self and this opposes the trait-factor theory which deals with the outer self. (Rosenthal, 2005).  

  1. DIAGNOSIS – is unnecessary here and detriment here oftentimes.
  2. The problem is lack of congruence between self and experience.
  3. When occupational used only when client asks for it. Not volunteered.

“The function of the counselor is to provide the core conditions; the function of the client is to engage in self-exploration” (Freedman, 1990)

  1. THERAPIST’S ROLE:  “There are some basic core conditions for any kind of counseling or psychotherapy…First, you must understand your client. We call that empathic understanding…Second, you have to have respect for your client, not as someone who is poor and helpless, or just as someone who is an inadequate individual…The third element is genuineness…and there is a fourth element. That is, concreteness or specificity rather than generality. Specificity is important because one thing that many counselors tend to do is generalize. They tend to interpret, for example. Interpretation is a generalization on a higher level. In counseling and therapy you need to stick to the actual specific ideas and behaviors that the client has communicated and not try to classify them and give them high sounding psychological terms or psychological textbook names.” (Freedman, 1990)
  2. CLIENT’S ROLE – “In career counseling, it is important that clients do engage in self-exploration, in a spontaneous way, at their own rate, in their own way, without being constricted and forced to limit or explain themselves in the words of the counselor….the clients themselves involved in obtaining the information, because it is more meaningful if they have to work at it than if someone just lays it on them.”(Freedman, 1990)

career choice reflects an implementation of life-style; itinvolves putting the life-style into practice via one’s career (Watkins, 1984a).It is saying, &dquo;This is who I am,&dquo; &dquo;This is how I see myselfvis-a-vis others,&dquo;&dquo;This is how I see myself vis-a-vis the world at large.&dquo; For example, theperson whose life-style is oriented around helping and assisting othersmight gravitate toward such jobs as counseling, nursing, or some otherhelping profession.Thus, in coming to understand an individual’s life-style, we come tounderstand his or her life goal, attitudes toward self, others, and the worldat large, and how the life goal and attitudes actually get implemented.

Anne Rowe

One’s job serves as a major source of unconscious needs satisfaction. (psychoanalytic)Unconscious need resulted from early parent/child interaction Families are either person or non-person centered. This influences the careers we choose.  Anne Rowe describes two types of job categories….

  1. NON-PERSON – jobs without interpersonal dynamic
  2. PERSON – counseling

Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs also explains the career process. Our career satisfies our current hierarchical leve.Uses information from humanistic needs theory in addition to psychoanalytic principle   Anne Rowe was the first career pioneer to create a 2 dimensional classification system to categories by fields and levels.

  1. FIELDS – service, business, organization, technology, outdoor, science, general culture, arts/entertainment
  2. CATEGORIZED – power of needs satisfaction (r/t things or people): Unskilled, Skilled, Semi-Skilled, Professional, Semi-professional, Managerial (1/2)
  3. Genetic factors, intelligence, education, and ability to handle responsibility also vital….

Edward  Bordin

  1. In 1955 wrote textbook Psychological Counseling
  2. Also Psychodynamic perspective of career counseling.
  3. Worked at Univ of Minn Counseling Bureau.
  4. Career choice resolves unconscious conflict.
  5. Difficulty choosing r/t neurotic system from this p.o.v.
  6. Drew on theory of Erickson & Otto Rank…
  7. Criticized for emphasizing internal factors and not focusing on external factors enough.
  8. A.A. Brill – Ego defense mechanisms (sublimation). Job provides socially acceptable outlet for an unconscious impulse.

John Holland – Modal Orientation.

A guy named John Holland believes that career choice and adjustment of a person’s personality type. People express themselves their interests and value through their work choices and experiences People’s impressions and generalizations about work are generally accurate…for this reason he assigns people work environments and categories.
  1. JOHN HOLLANDS SIX TYPES: Measure self-perceived competencies and interests (130)
      1. Vocational Preference Inventory
      2. Self-Directed Search (SDS)
      1. REALISTIC WORK ENVIRONMENTS– Makes physical demands on the individual and have tools/machines/animals that a person must manipulate or work with. Work with things is more important than the ability to work with things is more important than ability to interact with people. (EXAMPLES auto garages, construction sites or farms….)
        1. Enjoy using tools or machines in their hobbies or work.. They tend to seek to develop competencies in areas such as plumbing, roofing, electric, auto repair, farming and technical disciplines
        2. Have little tolerance for abstract theoretical descriptions and approach problems in a practical or problem-solving manner….
        3. They are likely to value money, power, and status while placing lesser value on human relationships (131)
          1. Resistant to expressing their feelings about their career choice and prefer to move directly to answer the problem of choosing a career.
          2. When discussing activities they enjoy, they are likely to enjoy talking about such activities as hunting, fishing and fixing cars.
          3. They are apt to discuss things they have done that show expertise in tools and discuss possessions such as cars, etc they can tinker with
      1. INVESTIGATIVE ENVIRONMENT: Require people to develop solutions to problems through mathematical and scientific interests. Encourages abstract thinking to solve problems creatively. (EXAMPLES include computer programmer, biologist, veterinarian, etc)… (132)
        1. Enjoys puzzles and challenges that require the utilization of intellect.
        2. Seek to work independently to solve problems such as mathematical or scientific questions.
        3. Favorite courses are chemistry, math, physics, geology…
        1. Enjoy the challenge of the unanswered question.
        2. Excited by a problem and want to work hard to find a solution, even though there are relatively little financial reward.
        3. When the career problem itself is seen as a challenge, they may feel better if they view the counselor as a fellow investigator rather than as an expert who is telling them what to do.
      1. ARTISTIC ENVIRONMENT– one that is free and open, encouraging creativity and personal expression….Offering freedom in developing products and answers….Allowed to dress as they wish, structure their own time, and keep few appointments. (EXAMPLES:freelance writer, fine artist, musician)
      2. ARTISTIC PERSONALITY– like opportunities expressing themselves in a free and unstructured way through art, music or writing. Originality and creativity are important.  (133)
        1. Clearly describe how art, music and writing is in their lives.
        2. Enjoy discussing the expression and development of an artistic product.
        3. Enjoy using humor and other methods of expression to show that they are unique….
      1. SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT –Encourages flexibility and understanding of others and the ideas of spirituality and social responsibility. Idealism, kindness, friendliness, and generosity are important here.  (EXAMPLES:teacher, counselor, psychiatrist, social service professions)
      2. SOCIAL PERSONALITY– interested in helping people through teaching, or providing personal services. Prefer to talk to and resolve complex problems that may be ethical or idealistic in nature.
        1. Altrustic in nature, are concerned with contributing a better world than with economic achievement for themselves.
        2. May good for counseling career, however frequently are too verbal, because they value talking, making it difficult for the counselor to assist them and other career group member
      1. ENTERPRISING ENVIRONMENT– People manage and persuade others to attain organizational or personal goals. Finance and economic issues are of prime importance.  People tend to be self-confident, sociable and assertive. Promotion, power and persuasion are critical (EXAMPLES:business management, real estate, politics, insurance, and lobbying)
      2. ENTERPRISING PERSONALITY TYPE – Acquisition of wealth is particularity important for enterprising people. They tend to be assertive and popular, tending to take leadership positions.
      3. ENTERPRISING BEHAVIOR: Enterprising people present themselves in a self-assured manner.  They may appear more self-concident than they feel… about their goal to accomplish wealth…value persuading others….
      1. CONVENTIONAL ENVIRONMENT– organization and planning oriented environment that involves record keeping, filing papers, coping materials and organizing reports.(EXAMPLES:bookkeeping, clerical jobs, etc).
      2. CONTENTIONAL PERSONALITY TYPE – Conventional personality is one who values money, being dependable, and the ability to follow rules and orders….They prefer controlling situations.
      3. BEHAVIOR OF CONVENTIONAL TYPES: Present themselves as organized, yet dependent on others for direction. Difficulty being open to new situations proud of organizational abilities
    8. COMBINATIONS OF TYPES – Resources including “The Occupational Finder” and “Strong Interest Inventory” utilize codes to stand for these types of jobs.  Page 136).
      1. Textbook suggests thinking in terms of the six Holland’s types….
      2. Discuss these types with the client and what is most interesting to them.=
    9. EXPLANATORY CONSTRUCTS – for Holland’s Types are important to discuss :
      1. CONGRUENCE– relationship between personality and the environment. The greater the congruence, the better.
      2. DIFFERENTIATION– both people and environments may differ in terms of how clearly they belong to one of several types. Holland determines this score by  subtracting lowest and highest scores
        1. Undifferentiated people have difficulty making career decisions and don’t have one solid preference they can think of.
        2. One goal of counseling is to help clients to differentiate and broaden their interests, abilities and values within these six types.
      3. CONSISTENCY: Refers to the degree of similarity/dissimilarity between types.  For example social and artistic are similar….
        1. Consistency in personality characteristics
        2. Consistency in aspiration…
        3. Consistency in environment.
      4. IDENTITY –Identity refers to the clarity and stability of a person’s current and future goals. It also refers to the stability of the working environment.  Measured by the my vocational situation form.
    1. Congruence is the most importance of Holland’s concepts and the one that is most widely research. Significantly related to job satisfaction.
    2. The personality inventory that is most frequently paired with Holland’s typology is the NEO five-factor model that assesses (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, ad openness to experience.
    3. THE ROLE OF ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENTS: inventories have two purposes in Holland’s system….
      1. PURPOSE #1:“Development of the Theory”… For example Vocational Preference Inventory is utilized to validate Holland’s Theory.
      2. PURPOSE #2: for individuals needing career assistance, to establish their personality type and what careers fit with it.  Examples of these assessment intruments


based his theory on the work of Henry Murray who developed a technique for an in-depth personality assessment in various dimensions: “Personology”. Led to formation of the Thematic Apperception Test, “TAT”.  Need & Press – terms explain the function of the personality
  1. Needs – needs of the person
  2. Press – needs of the environment
  3. They must match “Needs Press Hypothesis”.
A career is intended to satisfy and meet one’s needs and an occupation change may sometimes occur as needs change throughout the life span.
  1. Occupations are chosen to meet needs.
  2. The occupation that we choose is the one that we believe will best meet the needs that most concern us.
  3. Needs may be intellectually perceived, or they may be only vaguely felt as attractions which draw us in certain directions. In either case, they may influence choice.
  4. Career development begins when we first become aware that an occupation can help to meet our needs.
  5. Career development progresses and occupational choice improves as we become better able to anticipate how well a prospective occupation will meet our needs. Our capacity thus to anticipate depends upon our knowledge of ourselves, our knowledge of occupations, and our ability to think clearly.
  6. Information about ourselves affects occupational choice by helping us to recognize what we want and what we have to offer in exchange.
  7. Information about occupations affects occupational choice by helping us to discover the occupations that may meet our needs, what these occupations offer to us, and what they will demand of us.
  8. Job satisfaction depends upon the extent to which the job that we hold meets the needs that we feel it should meet. The degree of satisfaction is determined by the ratio between what we have and what we want.
  9.  Satisfaction can result from a job that meets our needs today, or from a job that promises to meet them in the future, or from a job that we think will help us to get the job we want.
  10. Occupational choice is always subject to change when we believe that a change will better meet our needs.

An Overview

Career choice is a process that occurs throughout the lifespan.  Major contributors come from many different fields.  Work is a reflection of who we are. Link up the personality with a matching occupation.  We gravitate and seek out others who work at the job have similar values We are attracted to skills that are in synch with our skills and knowledge of self.
  1. 1951 “Occupational Choice, An Approach to General Theory” – originally thought it was a one-time thing, and an irreversible thing.  He set this is not true
  2. 1972 “Toward a Theory of Occupational Choice, A Restatement” – began to feel that career choice didn’t end at 20, it is a lifelong thing. It is not irreversibility.  Not a matter of compromise but a matter of optimization.  We continue to improve our match between career and self throughout the life.
Donald Super – career development allows us to express our self-concept. Data from a career pattern study following a group of 9th grade boys into adulthood, a longitudinal study.
  1. Individuals implement their self-concepts into the career and it is a matter of self-expression.
  2. Life-Stage Structure – five vocational developmental stages.
    1. Stage one – Growth (birth – 14) person develops interests and needs related to the self-concept
    2. Stage two – Exploration (15-24) career choices are narrowed down.
    3. Stage three – Establishment (25-44) trials and stabilization.
    4. Stage four – Maintenance (45-64) adjusting to improve your work position and situation.
    5. Stage five – Decline (65 – beyond) working less pre-retirement and retirement.
  3. Are a developmental framework for the five activities “Super’s developmental tasks”. Aren’t linear but cyclical.
    1. Crystalization – (14-18) individual goes through cognitive process of picking a general area of interests and using resources to plan something.
    2. Specification – (18-21) the move from tentative choices to a specific career pick
    3. Implementation – (21-24) securing training and securing employment
    4. Stabilization – (24-35) actual work experience to determine of choice good
    5. Consolidation – (35 and beyond) establish yourself into a career through status, advancements, and security.
  4. Career Patterns –
    1. Conventional Pattern – Trying several and picking one.
    2. Multiple Trial Pattern – person hops from entry level position to entry level position.
    3. Unstable Pattern – lots and lots of jobs more than normal, but finally settle and make choice.
    4. Stable pattern – people highly skilled, and educated. Choice is permanent and may occur at a rather early age.
  5. John Kreitz – Career Maturity Inventory used heavily by followers of Donald Super’s Model.
  6. Super formulated concept of career rainbow. Average person plays nine life roles. These roles played at home, work, school, community.   The meshing of the nine roles and four theaters tell the story of one’s career a career pattern.  Individuals may play several roles simultaneously causing success/failure.
    1. The child
    2. The student
    3. The leisure-ite
    4. The citizen
    5. The worker
    6. The spouse
    7. The homemaker
    8. The parent
    9. The pensioner.
David Tidemann and Robert O-Harra – Developmental theorists anticipation stage and induction stage in decision-making with regard to careers. Holistic based on Erickson with regard to ego identity.  Took Super’s stages and added personal theory to it.
  1. Anticipation / Fantasy Stage – Exploration / Crystalization / Clarification Occur. Try to Imagine what it would be like to work in a particular career.
  2. Induction Stage – Reformation & integration. The self-concept and job expectations are modified.
Social Learning / Behavioristic
Sociological Theories – state that the person’s social culture and class can influence a person’s boundaries and expectations. Based on Bandura to explain career dynamics assumes that people are reinforced for tasks they perform well and will choose careers that they have been reinforced for in life.  Rely on site visits to jobs so the person can try out the job in person.   Do believe in genetics and innate tendencies but tend to focus on what can be worked with and not the genetics.  The trick is to expose the person to as many job possibilities as possible in order to find good learning experience.
    • Decision Approaches – Evolved from Economics and the law of mathematical probability. May classify Tideman’s as this possible.  Zeroes in on decision making rather than any other things.  Decision theories operate on notion that person coming for counseling has a number of viable alternatives already.  Values clarification exercises may be useful.  Personal values must be used to make a healthy decision.  When you make a choice you assume a given choice yields a specific outcome
    • Expectancy-X values – likelihood that a given act will be followed by a given outcome. Many have written about expectancy x values in career counseling
    • Bandura – Self-efficacy approach. Person’s believe regarding him/herself have great impact on outcome.
    • Gelatt Decision Model – information is the fuel of the decision. Three types of information required for decisions depend on which of three systems are operating.
    • Predictive System – fueled by alternatives and the probability of outcomes.
    • Valuing System – personal likes / dislikes / preferences.
    • Decision System – fueled by personal rules and information about priorities related to the two aforementioned systems.
    • Gelatt feels that mathematical game theory, used in economics will ultimately be utilized to counseling in a scientific way to help aid the decision procedures that are made in counseling.
    • Berglund – When making a sound decision one should find the problem, brainstorm alternatives, get necessary information, process the information, make plans, set goals, and then implement the plans and evaluate the effectiveness.
    • Pitts & Herron – all decision dilemmas have four elements to assessed: (1) objectives; (2) choices; (3) outcomes; (4) assessments
Resources for Career counselors
    1. OOH – Updated q2 years. 250 occupations listed.  90% of high schools utilize this “Occupational Outlook Handbook”.  Has information on requirements; conditions; availability of jobs; earnings; and related occupations.  Helps predict economic trends in future and job employment opportunities.  Can be accessed online.
    2. DOT – Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Multivolume guide with 30,000 titles.  Acquainting with huge variety of jobs with nine-digit code.
    3. GOE – Guide for Occupational Exploration – Groups jobs according to one’s interests, abilities and traits. It tells you how these best fit a given job.  Companion guide to the DOT.
    4. O’NET – O’Net Online. Occupational Information Network. Will replace the DOT.  Has over 950 occupations, classified by the standard occupation classification (SOC) System.  O’Net has 275 standardized descriptors of skills, knowledge, tasks, occupational requirements, work abilities, interests, and values to help employers create accurate job descriptions.  All people can use for various reasons.
    5. Discover 2 / Choice / Sigi+ – interactive guidance systems. Can access information and data very quickly.
    6. Spillover – life satisfaction and job satisfaction are very closely related. Spillover effect says that the feelings of one bleed or spill over into the other.
    7. Compensatory Effect – hypothesizes that we compensate for poor job satisfaction by trying to achieve high life satisfaction.


Freeman, S. C. (1990). CH Patterson on client‐centered career counseling: An interview. The Career Development Quarterly, 38(4), 291-301.
Rosenthal, H. (2005). Vital information and review questions for the NCE and state counseling exams. Routledge
Sharf R.S. (2006). Applying career development theory to counseling. 6th Ed. Belmont CA:  Thomson.
Watkins Jr, C. E. (1993). Psychodynamic career assessment: An Adlerian perspective. Journal of Career Assessment, 1(4), 355-374.

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Comparing Prescriptive and Descriptive Decision Making

According to Sharf (2006), descriptive theories explain our career decisions while prescriptive theories state there is an ideal approach to making these decisions. Examples of descriptive theories include Miller-Tiedeman’s Lifecareer theory and Hansen’s Holistic Approach (Sharf, 2006). Described as a spiritual approach to career decision-making, these perspectives conceive the ultimate goal is the discovery of “inner meanings found deep within” (Sharf, 2006, p417) oneself. As a result of this self-understanding, clients can utilize their own inner wisdom to discover what is right for them. In this process, the counselor does not direct but simply guides. According to Miller-Tiedeman, “you are not looking for a career…your life is your career”. (Sharf, 2006, p418). In other words, the search for a career is the process of defining one’s calling or life path, which Hansen adds is one part of a greater and “meaningful whole” (Sharf, 200, p426).
​In contrast, a cognitive information-processing approach, utilizes psychological decision making theories its basis (Sharf, 2006). Questioning one’s belief systems and examining decision-making skills are key components of this approach. Utilizing what Miller-Tiedeman describes as a common reality perspective, (Sharf, 2006), this approach requires self-knowledge and us to acquire occupational before we can begin making a decision effectively. Additionally decision-making skills are said to follow a logical process that includes: “Communication, analysis, synthesis, valuing, and execution” (Sharf, 2006, p432).

In the second part of this discussion board post we are to apply these decision-making theories to the client’s we work with daily. I work in the health-care field, which is fairly prescriptive in its decision-making approach. This is because, when it comes to health-related knowledge, we are usually left to rely on the “experts”. The doctors inform patients of a diagnosis and provide their recommended options. When faced with a critical decision that can have a profound affect on one’s well being, we usually rely on their judgment. It is difficult to question their abilities and judgment until after the fact when we notice an issue of malpractice has occurred. For example, when patients are given the facts of the diagnosis, they are allowed to examine the options. With this information, they synthesize information, analyze options and provide a personal evaluation of which fits best. This is very cognitive in nature, as I see it.
Having said this, it is usually the job of nurses and social workers, to address the spiritual matters pertaining to a client’s decisions. For example, prior to a surgery, nurses are required to have clients fill out a consent form indicating they understand what is happening and decide to follow-through with the doctor’s recommendations. Struggling with personality reality concerns, as Miller-Tildeman describes, is often related to one’s mortality and the lasting personal consequences of a health-related decision. What will my level of independence be? What will my life expectancy be? Bigger picture questions, are often addressed by nurses and social workers, which help the client’s come to terms with the life-altering consequences of such decisions.


Sharf R.S. (2006). Applying career development theory to counseling. 6th Ed. Belmont
CA: Thomson.

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NCE – Self-Efficacy

QUESTION: “…many children in residential treatment, as well as adults, experience low efficacy as a result of many ‘failures’. How will this low self-efficacy impact the career choices of both children and adults…”

Sharf, (2006), defines self-efficacy as “people’s judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances” (p396). Additionally, our textbook notes that our interests and outcome expectations are influenced by our beliefs of self-efficacy (Sharf, 2006). In other words, our perceptions of, “what is possible”, is a reflection of how we view ourselves. In the question above, we are asked to consider how low efficacy impacts the career choices of both adults and children. If a person doesn’t get to experience a sense of self-efficacy, they haven’t had a chance to learn the true breadth of their capabilities.

Understanding the importance of context in which self-efficacy develops can be a useful starting point in career counseling for individuals in the above example. The background influences of a socioeconomic status, cultural values, or gender expectations on an individual’s influence our perceptions of self-efficacy in ways we don’t often realize. Utilizing this insight as a way of understanding how we form a sense of self-efficacy, allows one to question it with a more critical eye. This might be a useful first step in situation as described in the above question.

QUESTION: “… How can you build up someone’s sense of self-efficacy without setting them up for more disappointment?”

As stated above, a useful first step will be helping the client understand of the background context in which a person’s sense of self-efficacy develops. With this mindset in place it is possible to then re-examine how past career choices reflect our sense of self-efficacy. For example, how has one’s self-efficacy determined their understanding of outcome expectations? How are their interests influenced by self-efficacy? How do these concepts define their career goals, and actions (or lack thereof)? Finally, focusing more directly on the proximal influencers we have more control over can help build a sense of self-efficacy. For example, if a client addresses financial barriers to education through student loans, a sense of possibility and self-efficacy develops. As I consider the application of these concepts to the above example, the process starts with a readjustment in the client’s thinking. The critical final component involves taking action to actively rebuild one’s sense of self-efficacy based on new experience.


Sharf R.S. (2006). Applying career development theory to counseling. 6th Ed. Belmont
CA: Thomson.

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NCE – Super’s Model


This brief paper utilizes Super’s view of career maturity to an adolescent familiar to me. I provide an over of my assessment of this individual in terms of Super’s 5 components of career maturity and how this model can help assess the child’s needs.


​Super’s Model of career development provides useful insights from a life-span perspective. Many of the insights contained in this theory are based on key figures in developmental psychology including Piaget and Erickson (Sharf, 2012). For example, according to Super’s theory adolescent career development at first arises from curiosity and fantasy play (Sharf, 2012). Additionally, an adolescent’s progression toward career development is moved forward by an increased capacity for abstract thinking and drive towards identity development (Sharf, 2012). As a result, adolescent career development is centered on developing interests, and abilities while exploring various career paths. According to Super, adolescent maturity as it pertains to career development encompasses five key factors, which I will utilize to assess an individual I know personally in the remainder of this paper.

Career Planning

​The first subscale of career maturity for adolescents requires an assessment how much time they take to explore various career options (Sharf, 2012). The individual I am utilizing for this paper is an adolescent male relative, whom I am very close to. He is 15-years-old and a sophomore. Thankfully, he is a very bright boy who studies hard and does very well in school. Additionally, his development is also very reflective Erickson and Piaget’s insights. As a result, due to greater levels of abstract thinking our conversation have deepened significantly. He is definitely asserting independence as well. My goal, has been to encourage the development of real life skills. Therefore, I set clear parameters for him, and give him room to figure his way to fulfill them. This has resulted, in the development of a solid work ethic, and good study skills. Regarding the career planning subscale, this individual is currently working on narrowing down his interest areas. He has chosen to enroll in advanced science and math classes, and hopes to start focusing on getting some college pre-requisites out of the way while in high school. Finally, in order to explore his creative side, his is taking drawing classes at the Joslyn.

Career Exploration

The second subscale of career maturity focuses on their degree of desire and willingness to engage in the process of exploration (Sharf, 2012). In this respect, it reflects their overall attitude toward work. I am aware of adolescents on all ends of the spectrum regarding this specific subscale. As a result, I have come to the conclusion that this subscale not only reflects maturity level but an individual’s hopes for the future. Individuals who are not willing to engage in the process of exploration, in my experience often uninspired. The specific individual I’m focusing on for this assignment, has expressed his concerns about going to college and then finding out he can’t get a job. He also doesn’t want to go to school just “to go to school” to waste our money and his time. It is his hope, to find a way to make a living doing what he loves. In this respect, he is focused on narrowing down his interests with a goal of developing some direction before he begins college.

Decision Making

​The third subscale of career maturity assesses an adolescent’s decision-making process. This requires examining how they make use of the information they have available. This individual is very pragmatic in his decision-making. He is very aware of the idea that college doesn’t always produce a marketable skill. He is not wanting to get a college degree that doesn’t yield some meaningful job prospect once he is done. Additionally, he is well aware of the costs, and is very mindful of this. I’m hoping to help that once this individual turns 16 that he can find a job, and learn more about the value of a dollar, so this idea is driven home further.

World-of-Work Information

​The fourth subscale of career maturity assesses how well they realistically understand the specific job duties associated with their career interests and understanding of the process of applying for jobs (Sharf, 2012). Regarding the individual in question for this assignment, I do believe he has a bit of work to do. His levels of understanding regarding the job duties associated with a career are limited. Additionally has never applied for a job before. Jobs for 15-year-olds are very limited. Having said this, it is my belief that this individual needs to focus on narrowing down his interest areas, before beginning to explore a specific career. I’m considering summer time activities that might provide him these opportunities. The goal is simply find opportunities to explore things related to his interests, and see what piques his curiosity. For example, UNO has a career exploration program through its engineering program. CHI / Alegent Health has a career exploration camp for medical professions. These are ideas I’m running by him currently.

Knowledge of Preferred Occupations

The final subscale of career maturity assesses an adolescent’s understanding of how preferred occupational areas correlate with their own abilities and interests (Sharf, 2012). Essentially, this subscale requires a degree of self-understanding alongside a basic knowledge of key occupational areas. Currently, the individual I’m focusing on for this assignment, has a sufficient degree of self-understanding. He knows what he likes and doesn’t likes. Additionally, he is taking time to continue exploring these interest areas. At the same time, he isn’t as knowledgeable of specific career areas. In order to begin correlating interest and abilities with specific career areas, it will be necessary for him to further define his specific interests.


Sharf R.S. (2006). Applying career development theory to counseling. 6th Ed. Belmont CA:

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NCE – “SSI” Method


This brief paper provides a series of self-assessments utilizing the Strong Interest Inventory and SSI Method.


This paper reviews two separate assessments. The first utilizes the results of the Strong Interest Inventory, based on Holland’s six types of personalities as it pertains to career choice (Sharf, 2006). The second assessment focuses on utilizes “The SSI Method of Assessment” (Author, 2015). This methods requires an individual to a self-examination from three perspectives: (1) personal strengths, (2) areas of improvement, and (3) insight and self-understanding (Author, 2015).

Strong Interest Inventory

According to the results of a Strong Interest Inventory, I display interests in two broad occupational areas: the artistic theme and social theme (Prince, 2015). My STD score for the artistic theme is 64 and 54 for the social theme (Prince, 2015). The results of my Strong Interest Inventory describe these levels of interest as high and moderate respectively (Prince, 2015). Additionally, I display little interest in the realistic, enterprising, and conventional occupational themes with STD scores ranging from 34-39. (Prince, 2015). Finally the Investigative Theme sits in the mid-range between these extremes with a STD score of 40.

Overview of Artistic Theme

Sharf, (2006) describes the artistic personality as “creative communicators” (Prince, 2015) who prefer a free and unstructured atmosphere. The artistic environment is ideal for this temperament since it encourages self-expression and creativity (Sharf, 2006). The results of my Strong Interest Inventory add that work activities common in the artist field include music, writing, performance and the visual arts (Prince, 2015). The strongest basic interest areas within this Artistic Theme, according to my results include “Visual Arts and Design” (Prince, 2015) with an STD score of 68. The area of “Writing and Mass Communication” (Prince, 2015) follows this basic interest area with an STD score of 63. As strong as this personal interest area is, I’ve always made time for creative pursuits. However have preferred not to focus on this area as a career, since I prefer it to exist as a free form of self-expression.

Overview of Social Theme

​According to the results of my Strong Interest Inventory, the Social Personality is described as “Empathetic Helpers” (Prince, 2015). They are interest in helping others through teaching and other personal services. The Social Theme Environment encourages the values of kindness, generosity, and friendship and social responsibility (Sharf, 2006). It’s interesting to note that my current profession as a C.N.A. is classified within this profession. Additionally, my future career aspirations as a Mental Health Counselor fall within this category.

Top Occupations

​Interestingly, I find little personal interest for those occupational areas listed at the top of the Strong Interest Inventory. Surprisingly, this inventory provided the following suggestions: Librarian, Photographer, Technical Writer, Art Teacher, Musician, Translator, Mental Health Counselor, Speech Pathologist, Artist, and Reporter (Prince, 2015). On the one hand, I have no interest in being a technical writer, translator, speech pathologist, photographer, or librarian. At the same time, I do consider myself an amateur artist who is working towards a career as a mental health counselor.

Personal Style Scales

While my work style involves a balance combination of both independent and collaborative work (Prince, 2015). I enjoy research and reading as an effort that involves learning for its own sake (Prince, 2015). My leadership style involves developing personal expertise in the context of my work rather than direction (Prince, 2015). Finally, my risk taking and team orientation are skewed towards caution and independence respectively (Prince, 2015).

SSI Method of Assessment

​This section of the paper utilizes the SSI Method of Assessment, which focuses on three key areas: Personal Strengths, Areas of Improvement, and Insights (Author, 2015). I utilize these three key areas to provide a personal career counseling assessment that can help me as I progress toward a career in Mental Health Counseling.

Personal Strengths

Career Counseling requires several key strengths, including empathy, self –care, and the ability to apply theories in the form of clinical judgment. This clinical judgment, in my opinion, involves applying insights from these theories in a way that merges objective standards with subjective understanding. I feel my strengths in this area involve an orientation toward empathic engagement with others and a priority towards self-care. As a C.N.A. and Psychiatric tech, the marriage of these two strengths is essential if I desire to give the best to others. Finally, as I progress towards LMHP licensure, I work to apply the insights gained through coursework.

Areas of Improvement

I can continue to improve my skills and knowledge by working to apply what I learn throughout my personal and professional life. As a mother and healthcare worker, I spend the majority of my time caring for others. This provides many opportunities to apply the insights learned from others. Foremost amongst these is the need of self-care in order to prevent compassion fatigue.

Insights Gained

I’ve learned that I give to others on the basis of who I am as a person. For this reason, the insights gained from the assessments utilized in this paper are useful from the standpoint of personal development. As a person who aspires to a career as a mental health counselor, it is my hope to engage in this learning process as one of personal development. This involves improving my level of self-care and understanding.


Author. (2015). SII Method of Assessment. Retrieved from:

Prince, J.P. (2015, December, 16). Strong interest inventory profile with college profile. Retrieved from:

Sharf R.S. (2006). Applying career development theory to counseling. 6th Ed. Belmont CA:

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NCE – Parson’s Steps…


This brief paper will utilize Parson’s Steps of Career Guidance as founding concepts for Trait and Factor Theory. Firstly, I will list my values, interests, and achievements. Next, I describe how this information fits with the occupational goals discussed last week. Research is included on key aspects of my future occupation as


Chapter Two of our textbook describes the work of Frank Parson’s, whose work underlies Trait and Factor Theory (Sharf, 2006). Parsons believed that vocational guidance involved a series of steps that begins with self-understanding and obtaining information on potential career options (Sharf, 2006). By correlating individual traits with factors related to success in a potential occupation, an individual is able to make an informed career decision. This paper provides an overview of these initial steps of Parson’s vocational guidance process. It then concludes with an application to one’s work environment in order to satisfy the job’s requirements as well as one’s personal needs.

Step One: Gaining Self-Understanding

​My decision to enter the counseling field is the result of a long research process. I decided on this field after entering completing several years of counseling as a client. In the initial phases, I engaged in a thorough self-assessment of personal interests, aptitudes, achievements, values, and personality traits. What follows an overview of what I learned about myself as a result of this process.

Aptitudes & Achievements

Sharf, (2006) states that while academic achievement pertains to how much an individual has learned, aptitude tests reveal a person’s future probability of success. While I was an academic underachiever growing up, I am currently maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Regarding academic aptitude, the results of a WISC-R assessment at the age of 9, indicates my overall IQ is 111, in the high normal range. Finally, a review of my academic history indicates my strengths are English and the social science.

When applying the concepts of aptitude and achievement to my career background, I feel that my current job doesn’t allow me to apply utilize the full range of my abilities. In other words, my level of achievement doesn’t adequately measure up to my overall raw aptitude. While this does frustrate me, I’ve learned to accept this sacrifice as the result of a concerted effort to put my family first.

Personal Interests

​While I am less interested in careers that pertain to the subject of math and science, I’ve always had a strong interest in the visual arts field, and social services. In college, I majored in Sociology and Psychology and enjoyed learning all aspects of human nature. My current career choice, is the result of a balanced consideration of both pragmatism and passion. While I will always enjoy art as a hobby, the social services field has always been my career focus.

Personal & Work-Related Values

Sharf, (2006) suggests that a values assessment should consider both work-related and personal values. My job history indicates that I seek a deeper purpose in my work and am not motivated primarily by my paycheck. Additionally, while my job provides financial security, autonomy, it lacks opportunities for personal development, creativity, and ability utilization (Sharf, 2006 p36).

Myers-Briggs Personality Type

The results of an old Myers-Briggs type indicate I am an INFP personality type. According to Sharf (2006), my primary cognitive functions include introverted feeling and extraverted intuition. A review of literature on Myers-Briggs typology provides a good overview on my basic temperament and nature (Briggs Myers, 1982; Kiersey, 1998; Robards, 1986). In fact it is also interesting to note that, every MBTI resource I’ve read lists counseling and writing as top career choices for my type. For example, Robards, (1986) states: “the combination of intuition with feeling forms the very cornerstone of your personality: a temperament we call the Empathist” (p. 13). This insight is confirmed by Kiersey’s description of the INFP as “Healers” (Kiersey, 1998).

Step Two: Occupational Information & Requirements

​As I mentioned in last week’s paper, my decision to become a therapist is the result of a carefully decision-making process in which I fully explored all options. In fact, I decided to enter the counseling field after completing my own therapy. A review of my values, interests, aptitudes, and temperament, all indicate this career field is an ideal fit. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the counselor’s involves working with a highly diversified population in a range of settings (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010, p206). Additionally, there are many types of counselors including school counselors, vocational counselors, mental health, substance abuse, and family counseling (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). While specific requirements vary from state to state, a Masters degree is required. Finally, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicates the projected job growth rate between 2012 and 2012 is at 29% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). This is promising news, in light of the fact that the average job growth rate for all professions is at 11% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). Finally, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2015) states that therapists make an average of $25,000 – $60,000 yearly.

Application of Work Adjustment Theory

The work adjustment theory focuses on how individuals adjust to their work environment in order to satisfy work requirements while addressing personal needs (Sharf, 2006). This matter is an ongoing issue in my current job as a Psych. Tech / C.N.A. As someone who is exposed to individuals in acute stages of physical and mental illness many of Sharf’s (2006) adaptive performance skills pertain to my situation (p116). For example, I’m engaging in proactive behaviors in order to make adjustments in my schedule and work environment where possible (Sharf, 2006). Additionally, I’m constantly adjusting my personal responsibilities and self-care needs so I have time to work through the stress and physical exhaustion associated with my work. Finally, the tolerant behaviors described in our textbook include finding a deeper meaning in the experiences (Sharf, 2006, p116). This essentially involves utilizing the introverted feeling function as I commit to the idea of providing good care to patients (Sharf, 2006, p116). This deeper meaning provides me strength to face my workday. I’m grateful for this background of adapting coping skills since it will prepare to address a new range of stressors associated with my future career as a therapist.


Briggs Myers, I. (1982). Introduction to type, (3rd Ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press, Inc.

Keirsey, D. (1998). Please understand me II: Temperament, character, intelligence. Del Mar,
​CA: Prometheus Nemesis.

RoBards, M.J. (1986). Insight: A perspective on personality. Laguna Beach, CA: Leadership

Sharf R.S. (2006). Applying career development theory to counseling. 6th Ed. Belmont CA:

Us Dept of Labor. (2010).Occupational outlook handbook 2010-2011. US: O’Reilly.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, (2015, November, 07). Occupational
​Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and
​Family Therapists, Retrieved from:​service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm

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