Career Counseling Theories

Name of the theory Developers of the theory Main tenants or description of the theory (25–50 words)
Vocational Types Theory John Holland This theory postulates that an individual has to choose their field of expertise based on their particular personality type. Holland presented six kinds of personalities, including artistic and enterprising, and provided professions and areas of study most appropriate for them (Putri & Sari 2018).
Social Cognitive Theory Robert Lent, Steven Brown According to this theory, individuals’ career choices depend on their self-efficacy belief, which constitutes their confidence to perform certain jobs successfully. Outcome expectations and personal goals also play an important role in the occupational decision-making process since they determine a person’s career choices (Lent, & Brown, 2019).
Trait and Factor Theory Frank Parsons This theory states that people must choose their professions after first assessing their individual traits, abilities, talents, and then analyze the job market and available options’ requirements. Based on this information, they can determine occupations which match their particular personality profiles and guarantee successful performance (Agunzi et al., 2020).
Planned Happenstance Theory John Krumboltz The theory’s idea is that a person should pursue flexibility in their professional life and not always plan in advance since the environment may interfere with it. The best career decision for people is to explore new opportunities and stay optimistic in the face of changes (Valickas et al., 2019).
Developmental Self-Concept Theory Donald Super According to the theory, every person undergoes different life stages, which transform their career preferences to better reflect their personal goals. As people age, they experience changes in their understanding of their self which translates into their occupational decisions (Ahmad, 2018).

Interrelationships between Work, Mental Well-being, Interpersonal Relationships, and Life Roles

People’s work ultimately has to grant them satisfaction, and therefore, when choosing the right occupation, everyone has to consider various factors, including mental health, communication with others, and personal role in life. Stress is a serious problem faced by individuals in any professional field, and a prolonged period of exposure to it may lead to severe consequences for mental well-being. As a result of their challenging situations at work, people may develop anxiety and depression, which can inhibit their performance and potentially affect their physical health. Thus, it is extremely important to seek balance and choose professions which people can handle mentally. Relationships with others are another crucial component which has to be considered by a person seeking a job which gives them pleasure. Some individuals tend to be sociable, enjoy helping others, and easily establish a good rapport with people, which allows them to perform well at a greater number of jobs since communication is often the key to success.

Nevertheless, some persons may experience difficulties finding common ground with others and even talking to people around them. This automatically eliminates some professional paths for them and narrows their career choice. Thus, every individual must be cognizant of their communication competencies and abilities to function in an environment with other people. Moreover, a person has to choose a job which does not interfere with their life roles. Therese is an issue of finding the appropriate work-life balance, which would present an opportunity for a person to have a satisfying profession and a chance to have time with their family. Nevertheless, people can combine their life roles with their jobs, for example, a mother of a young child can work as a babysitter and care for other person’s children together with her own.

What are Some Spproaches for Conceptualizing these Interrelationships according to the Theories You Chose?

The career counseling theories also explore factors such as mental well-being, interpersonal relationships, and life roles when addressing the process of occupational decision-making. For example, the Social Cognitive Theory takes into consideration the mental health aspect of a person facing a choice of their future job. Specifically, the theory addresses the concept of self-efficacy, which is important for every individual since it determines their confidence in their ability to perform a job (Lent, & Brown, 2019). There are situations when a person lacks self-efficacy in a certain field but is still forced to work in it, this may lead to problems with their mental health since they will experience considerable stress.

The issue of interpersonal relationships is best addressed by the Trait and Factor Theory, which claims that choosing a job implies carefully assessing one’s abilities and talents. According to this theory, a counselor must help their clients gain an understanding of their personalities, which also implies recognizing their capacity to establish relations and successfully maintain communication with others (Agunzi et al., 2020). Nevertheless, there is a variety of professions which do not require being a sociable person and allow one to devote the majority of time at the job to working alone. Applying this theory can help more thoroughly approach the process of choosing the right career and make a decision which will be informed.

Every individual has a number of life roles they perform, and as people age, such roles tend to increase in number and become more difficult. This aspect is rarely addressed by career counseling approaches, but the Developmental Self-Concept Theory does explore this issue. Based on the fact that the theory assigns certain professional preferences to particular life stages, it helps make career decisions which are consistent with life roles (Ahmad, 2018). For example, a person in their forties is more likely to have children and thus has a need to spend time with them, which directly affects their occupational choices. Thus, the theory presents an opportunity allows an individual to take into consideration their life roles and see how they match professional options which are available to them.


Agunzi, M. N, Momoh, G., Mallum, Y. A. (2020). Trait-factor counselling approach on senior secondary student’s career choice in Kogi state, Nigeria. KIU Journal of Social Sciences, 6(3), 215–222. Web.

Ahmad, F. (2018). Learning-based career development theories are more livable than sociological and psychological career development theories: A need to converge the available career development theories. Electronic Research Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 1, 1–4.

Lent, R. W., & Brown, S. D. (2019). Social cognitive career theory at 25: Empirical status of the interest, choice, and performance models. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 115, 1–14. Web.

Putri, R. D., & Sari, S. P. (2018). Implementation of John Holland’s career theory in guidance and counseling. ENLIGHTEN: Jurnal Bimbingan Konseling Islam, 1(2), 126–132. Web.

Valickas, A., Raišienė, A. G., & Rapuano, V. (2019). Planned happenstance skills as personal resources for students’ psychological wellbeing and academic adjustment. Sustainability, 11(12), 1–11. Web.

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