Unit 2 – Applying Career Theories and Models


Discussion 1: Career Counseling Models

Career development is an integral part of human development (Zunker, 2015).  According to the diamond model and multiple diamonds, when one diamond closes, it gives chance for another to open.

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Unit 2

Applying Career Theories and Models


This unit provides an opportunity for you to continue to develop your comprehension of career counseling and consultation. You will continue to review key theories and establish how to manage the needs of clients across their life span while maintaining positive relationships. In addition, you will apply your knowledge about career counseling theory and relationships to a case study.


To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:

  1. Explain career development as an integral subset of human development.
  2. Describe the applicability of a career counseling theory to a client scenario.
  3. Describe the key components of a chosen career counseling theoretical framework.
  4. Analyze potential challenges and solutions to applying a career counseling theory to a case.
  5. Analyze research findings to support the use of a chosen career counseling theory in a client scenario.

Learning Activities

Unit 2 Study 1



Use your Career Counseling text to complete the following:


Optional Readings

Use the Library to read one of the following articles related to your specialization area:

  1. Walker, J. V., & Peterson, G. W. (2012). Career thoughts, indecision, and depression: Implications for mental health assessment in career counseling. Journal of Career Assessment, 20(4), 497–506.
  2. Anctil, T. M., Smith, C. K., Schenck, P., & Dahir, C. (2012). Professional school counselors’ career development practices and continuing education needs. Career Development Quarterly, 60(2), 109–121.
  3. Harrington, T., & Long, J. (2013). The history of interest inventories and career assessments in career counseling. Career Development Quarterly, 61(1), 83–92.

Career Diamond

The Career Diamond
My name is Patricia Andersen; I have been involved in career counseling for some 35 years. The career diamond started getting developed in a career seminar I taught, where I was trying to get interns to come to terms with what is different about career theory and what they really think they need to be doing with the clients. It is a life-long dream of mine, a mission of mine to try to help people really understand how career is similar to counseling in general. I was taught that but I was not really taught how and I am hoping that that is what this is going to be as a contribution.

I am going to talk about the Diamond model, and why it was developed, and how we use it, and what I think it represents. The overall concept is that career counseling and career development overtime is a process it starts with exploring where an individual in trying to deal with career decisions expands the sense of self. And we started this because we saw so many clients who saw career choices as linear as a very step-by-step decision, and often did not understand when the counselor would ask a question about tell me about yourself or what things you like or something that those answers would be very curt and not fully really understanding that we needed to spend time in self-exploration and so forth.

So we wanted a model that would demonstrate the process in an easily understandable way. And so we thought a model would help grad students, who are in training to be career counselors, could understand the process and then understand how they use their counseling skills to make career counseling similar to other forms of counseling.

The diamond starts with A where the client is aware that they need to be beginning some considerations about career. And after awareness, it is important for us to be able to get across the clients that the clients will begin to expand a sense of self and a sense of the demand characteristics or the externals. This is a time when we want to be open to all kinds of possibilities about ourselves and about potential occupations or potential externals that we are going to be working with.

At this point in time the matches that we are making between the self and careers are very broad. We do not need to have very detailed information or a sense that somehow all of every requirement. It has to be met or something, but it would be a broad kind of match.

We began expanding and seeing many possibilities, as we reach the peak of the diamond, the clients often feel like they are getting confused like those enough possibilities out there and that continuing to expand is overwhelming. And so, what I do with clients then is try to show the similarities between the matches that they have made suggesting their pattern, their career patterns, and help clients create a vision. What do I need in my occupation? What are some of the occupations that look like they might fulfill that need?

The vision here is kind of vague, and again, it does not have to be real detailed. But it does need to contain core themes that the client truly validates. And it does have to have some critical values and interest in the vague vision. At that point, we are ready to go into the deciding phase. And here is where we are hitting the nitty-gritty, the compromises that the clients are going to need to make. It is time for the client to begin to set some priorities, what is most important to me? What am I like, and what are things that I could let go off, and what are things about myself that I do not necessarily need to express in a career but I need something else that is really important.

And here we need to come to terms with more detailed kinds of information about occupations or about the realities we are going to have to do. This is a narrowing process. This is more typical decision-making process. And that basic model, this is not a new theory in any sense. It could be called maybe a meta-theory and that it tries to take into account many of the different career theories. But the real point is that you will not be able to as a client or as in your counseling sessions be able to go from awareness to decide without this expanding and narrowing process that process is what helps people come to full terms with things.

Career Development and Multiple Diamonds
The other advantage of this picture that we have created with the diamond is that it is particularly helpful in today’s kind of economy where a lot of changes are expected to be made, because as soon as one diamond closes, the diagram also shows another diamond begins to open up, so that across the career lifespan, there is going to be multiple diamonds that as a person, say, a person makes a decision to take a particular type of job that is the new occupation that they have decided to show. As soon as they start that, the person is going to start expanding again. They are going to start being aware of themselves in this world, and they are going to start to be aware of general things and they are going to make some kind of an adjustment. And they are going to have a new vision or a new picture of themselves within this career. And as they established themselves and so forth, this is going to get more and more detailed and more and more truly an integration between themselves and the occupation at that point. But they may decide, well, there is some of this that I have to be in this occupation and I really do not want and there is more of it than I am willing to tolerate.

So I may decide to open up another diamond yet to start exploring other possibilities; how can I take the strengths that I have been able to show on this occupation and apply it to maybe do a different setting for that occupation or in a different way, or the person maybe downsized, when this becomes an absolute necessity. The point being is that at each transition, the person will go through the same process and that will be a multiple diamonds across the lifespan.

Using the Career Diamond with Clients
In terms of even using the diamond with clients, I use it to explain this process sort of in the way I am doing it with you, and I would like to try to get the client to own the picture, and to get a sense of the process by saying, here is where I think I am. I think I have a pretty clear idea of some of these things about myself, but I do not have a clue as to what that means in terms of what kind of jobs I might want or something, or yeah, I have done all these research, but it all is kind of dull, and I am not quite sure how to make a decision, which indicates maybe they have not really looked at themselves very clearly. But to literally making acts on the top of the diamond with the self and on the bottom of the diamond with the external kind of demands and then only idea that they still need to participate in a process of expanding and narrowing kind of thing.

Downsizing and the Inverted Diamond
Because career counseling so much integrates the person on what they are going through in emotionally like in a downsizing or something that with the client, who has been downsized like that, I would deal with the self and not even attempt a full diamond process until the person kind of settles into recognizing what has happened to them and dealing with those emotions and stuff. But I would clearly offer the hope that look, we are going to go on a process here where you are going to be able to adjust to these kinds of major changes in your life consistently. You will be able to get control of this because you will understand the process.

And it may be that we need to make some practical kinds of decisions without assuming that we are going to be able to have time to fully examine where we are and what we want. And that is where I have the inverted diamond, where the self ends up on the bottom and the demand characteristics are on the top and the self is kind of getting squished down. They are not able to participate in a process like what we are talking about. So, I literally show that to a client and say, we are going to deal with this in practical terms right now; your feeling that you are getting pushed into something that where you really do not have full control. But in making these practical decisions, we will be able to flip it back around and the self will be in control again.

So the inverted diamond works well with people who were feeling that kind of crunch that I am just under the gun, I will not be able to survive unless I get the next job. Okay, we can do that, but we also want to see it as an opportunity for you coming to terms with how you are going to manage this over time.

Career Counseling with Adolescents
It is also important to recognize that not all clients are ready to make a full decision, particularly like adolescents who are doing this for the first time, they may not be ready to really do the work where they are integrating occupational demands and setting personal priorities. The career self-concept is not fully set and their awareness that the external world is not fully there.

However, they can do the kind of general matching that the self-directive search would suggest and have a kind of vision and they can be made aware that this is sort of a vague vision that may not be what you really want, permanently or overtime. So it is okay for you to spend some time now that you have started the process out there, continuing to explore and continuing to come to terms with some of this and basically to let the client have time to kind of ripen their concepts and so forth. And for counselors, not to be pressed that kind of make a decision that is supposed to be life-long when they are not really ready to do that. So that is what we needed to repeat.

Discussion 1: 1 page needed with minimum of 250 words and 2 references.

Career Counseling Models

In this unit you explored the applications of career counseling models. For this discussion, explain how career development is an integral part of human development. Then describe how your knowledge in this area will influence your work with clients or students in your specialization, using your unit readings, the Career Diamond media piece (linked In Resources), and at least one article to support your perspective.


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