Sample Essay on Career Counseling Theory


With regard to my future career, I envision myself working in a clinic that deals with children with mental disorders. In this clinic, I see myself being a mental health counselor responsible for helping children cope up with their mental health conditions. Although I do not envision myself dealing with extreme mental cases, I envision myself dealing with minor mental cases that relate to future careers. In this regard, I envisage myself learning about children, listening to them talk about their mental conditions and working with them to ensure that they change their mentality towards life for the benefit of their lives (McLeod, & McLeod, 2014). As part of what I intend to do with what I have learned from this course, I will evaluate two career development theories namely Super’s career development theory and Holland’s theory. With the help of these theories, I will illustrate what I will do to help these children choose the right careers in their lives. In addition, I will highlight the strategies that I will utilize in this clinic. The first part of the paper will evaluate the theories while the second part will evaluate my personal practice in this clinic. The last part just sums up the theories and what I intend to do with them as a counselor.

Career theories
Super’s theory

This theory assumes that people have different personalities, interests, abilities, self-concepts, values and needs. The theory also assumes that these factors play significant roles in determining the types of careers that people choose in their lives. According to this theory, different careers require different personality traits and abilities. In addition, the theory assumes that self-concepts change with time; thus, careers change continuously in one’s life time. With regard to this theory, career pattern is influenced by factors such as mental ability, career maturity and parental socioeconomic level among other factors.

Based on the above assumptions, the theory claims that career development depends solely on the extent at which an individual can identify and implement self-concept. Although this theory basis its argument on self-concept, it acknowledges the fact that the interests of a person play significant role in determining future careers. Accordingly, if a person is exposed to new aspects of life that he/she has not been exposed to before, that person is likely to unlock his/her self-concept and develop a new career. Unlike Holland’s theory that claims that a person can only develop careers in specific areas of interest, this theory acknowledges the fact a person can change career so long as self-concept is developed. In this regard, the theory considers career development to have five distinct stages namely growth, maintenance, establishment, disengagement and exploration (Niles, & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2013). During growth stage, a person learns about the world of work as interests and abilities are developed. During the exploration stage, one puts what he/she has learned into practice with the likelihood of implementing one or two career choices. On the other hand, during the establishment stage, one gains work experiences in a particular career of choice while during maintenance stage, one becomes more established in a particular career as he/she seeks ways of increasing skills or improving working conditions. Finally, during disengagement stage, one explores new ways of spending life away from an existing working environment.

One unique aspect about this theory is that it can be instrumental during economic changes or when situations force one to re-consider career direction. Accordingly, people that studied before technological advancement can study computer courses to enhance their careers. According to Super’s life space, there are nine primary life roles namely leisurite, homemaker, parent, citizen, student, child, worker, pensioner and partner. All these life roles are played in different theaters such as school, community, home and work (Strauser, 2014). Nonetheless, in the recent past, it has become noticeable that different roles can be played in different theaters. For example, a student can study from home online rather than going to school. In addition, a person can work from home rather than going to a specific place of work.

Holland’s theory

This theory assumes that both people and the work they do have unique characteristics and that these characteristics can be measured. The theory also assumes that people are satisfied doing jobs that fit their characteristics. Based on these assumptions, the theory has three concepts. The first concept claims that each person can be described using two or more of the six persona types identified in the theory. The said persona types include conventional, artistic, investigative, social, realistic and enterprising. The concept further claims that a person can determine his/her persona types using both formal and informal assessment instruments. With regard to persona types, people are attracted to either to two or three areas of interest meaning that a person with RES code has a realistic personality, but he/she has interest in both social and enterprising types. The second concept claims that environments such as schools and jobs can be coded using the six attributes that are used to code people in this theory. Nonetheless, unlike people who rate themselves, only experts can rate occupations based on their descriptions. The third concept claims that people of the same persona type enjoy working in the same environment (Strauser, 2014). This simply means that people enjoy working in occupations that fit their personalities. It also means that people are likely to be productive if they work in the environments they like spending most of their time.

Over the years, Holland has established that the six categories of occupations that people belong to can be expressed in a unique way in a hexagon as shown below.


Holland has also established that despite the fact that letter R can be placed anywhere on the hexagon, the order of the letter should follow a unique formula clockwise in the form of R, I, A, S, E, C. With reference to this notation, the theory is sometimes referred to as RIASEC theory. A unique aspect about this notation is that the job categories that are next to each other are almost alike. For instance, people that belong to S job category have characteristics that are almost similar to those in A and E job categories. According to Holland, this is part of consistency of his theory and it reflects the versatility in these jobs. Conversely, job categories that are directly opposite each other on the hexagon differ significantly from each other. As a result, people on these categories do not have anything in common. This means that people that are investigative will not enjoy working in enterprising jobs. It also means that conventional people will not enjoy working in artistic jobs (Niles, & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2013).

With regard to this theory, after a person takes an interest inventory, the scores should be plotted on a graph paper to determine the shape of the profile of that person. The graph illustrates the difference among the six persona types; thus, the better the differentiation of the plot the easier it is to determine the career of the person taking the interest inventory. On the contrary, the close the points of the plot, the harder it is determine the career of the person taking the interest inventory (Nauta, 2010). This means that it is rather challenging choosing a career for a person with interest in almost all of the six persona types, but it is easier choosing a career for a person with interest in two or three of the persona types.

Personal practice

With regard to super’s theory, I will try my level best to identify the interests, personal traits and abilities of the children that I will deal with. Then I will try to help these children to develop their self-concepts by exposing them to different aspects of life. After exposing children to these aspects, I will encourage them to develop their careers on continuous bases as their self-concepts develop. My focus as I work with these children will be on the growth stage and exploration stage. With regard to this stage, I will try to help children to develop the right attitudes and behaviors in their lives so that they can enhance their self-concepts. The rationale of doing this will be to influence the children in the right direction without misleading them in any way so that they can choose they careers effectively. In addition, I will try to help the children explore the different careers they might be interested in. Although I will not try to influence children in choosing their careers, I will try to provide them with resourceful material that can help them make the right decisions. With regard to exploration stage, I will try to help children develop idealistic ideas about their future careers by telling them to imagine themselves in the professions of their choices (McLeod, & McLeod, 2014). Depending on the age of the children, I will not lead them into specifying their careers, but I will ensure that they understand each of the careers. The purpose of doing this will be to help the children dream about a variety of career futures without necessarily focusing on one career at this point. By doing this, I will be trying to implement Super’s theory that advocates for continuous career growth at all stages of life.

In relation to Super’s theory, I will expect that as children grow up and meet different people, their concepts will be influenced in one way or the other so that they can make informed decisions about their careers. I will also expect that as children learn more about work and develop interests in other areas of life their career choices might change. Accordingly, I will not be definite as I advise children on developing their career choices.

On the other hand, as a person tasked with helping the children deal with recurring life experiences such as anger, fear and despair, I will try to encourage children to choose careers that are in line with their interests. According to Holland’s theory, this will enable children to choose careers that fit the environments they would like to find themselves in the future (Hughey, & Nutt, 2009). In order to identify the areas of interests of the children, I will interview each of them on an individual basis. After interviewing them, I will plot their interest inventories on graph papers and use the plots to advice the children. With regard to Holland’s theory, doing this will help me to identify the personality traits of the children easily. For the children that will have well-differentiated plots, I will not anticipate problems advising them the types of careers they might choose. However, for the children that will be having less differentiated plots, I will have to think critically as I advise them. This notwithstanding, I will use the experience that I have gained in this course to advise these children in the right way.

With regard to Holland’s theory, I will strive to ensure that the children understand the six personality types. First, I will ensure that they understand that realistic people love working with their hands using tools and equipment. Second, I will ensure that they understand that investigative people love working with abstract concepts and ideas (Niles, & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2013). In addition, I will ensure that these children understand that investigative people love mathematics and science related subjects taught in schools. Third, I will ensure the children understand that artistic people are imaginative and spontaneous in their careers. Furthermore, I will ensure that they understand that these people are talented in art related subjects and they love entertaining people.

Fourth, I will ensure the children understand that social people love teaching and counseling other people because their interests are in helping people to solve problems (Brown, 2011). Fifth, I will ensure that the children understand that enterprising people love to work with people too, but their motives are to sell items, influence and manage people. Sixth, I will ensure the children understand that conventional people love to keep the world in order and that they are skilful in managing people. More importantly, I will ensure the children understand that conventional people are orderly and emphasize on details. Although my intention of doing this will not be to influence children in particular careers, I will do it so that it can be easier for them when choosing their future careers.


Having identified what each of these theories entails, it will be easier for me to work with children from different backgrounds. My focus will not be to influence children in any way, but it will be to help them to make the right decisions as they choose their future careers and cope up with their mental conditions. It is my belief that as I learn to listen to people and understand myself more, then it will be easier for me to help children solve their mental problems and choose the right careers. Furthermore, it is my belief that I will be able to put theoretical teachings into practice and help children develop their careers as their bodies develop too. The challenges that I might face in my career will help me to develop my career as Super envisages. This means that as I put into practice what I have learned from this course, I will also be enhancing my skills in counseling. Nevertheless, this does not mean that I intend to change my career in the future because I strongly believe in what Holland’s theory says about career development.


Brown, D. (2011). Career information, career counseling, and career development. New York: Pearson education.

Hughey, K., & Nutt, C. (2009). The handbook of career advising. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

McLeod, J., & McLeod, J. (2014). Personal and professional development for counselors, psychotherapists and mental health practitioners. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

Nauta, M. (2010). The development, evolution, and status of Holland’s theory of vocational personalities: reflections and future directions for counseling psychology. Journal of counseling psychology, 57(1); 11-22.

Niles, S., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (2013). Career development interventions in the 21st century. New York: Pearson education limited.

Strauser, D. (2014). Career development, employment, and disability in rehabilitation: From theory to practice. New York: Springer Publishing Company