Reflecting on Career Theories

By Anahita Kadkhoda

I remember the first time I was introduced to career theories. It was my first class as part of my Master’s program in Career Counselling. In all honesty, I was quite apprehensive about the course.

I was worried about having to remember all the boring historical information about long deceased theorists and their complicated philosophy about careers. I had done my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and had been introduced to theorists like Freud, whose ideologies still confuse me, and found many had little practical application.

However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. My professor had a great way of telling stories; he introduced the theories using language that made sense. He always asked us to consider what else may have been going on in the Western cultures, where many of the theories had originated from. He asked us to consider various influences including socio-economic, political, and gender. Considering these factors, made it easier to understand the purpose of the theories that were introduced.

Career theories have been mainly categorized as follows:

  1. Trait Factor
  2. Typology
  3. Sociological
  4. Developmental

But what influenced the various theorists and what purpose did these theories serve? What types of career development theories have been influential in years past? What are some of the emerging theories and how might they be relevant in my work?

It is important to understand the career theories that may be considered traditional, or foundational, as well as the emerging theories. By enhancing your understanding of career theories, you will better understand the process of career development and each client’s context. From there you can develop tools and techniques to help clients achieve their career goals.

If you are interested in learning more about career development theories and how they can help you conceptualize a client’s career concerns, join me for the 2 week Career Development Foundations, Emerging Theories, and Models course starting September 10, 2014 at Life Strategies.

[This is dedicated in memory of my professor Dr. Gregory Jackson]

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