Practice and research in career counseling and development--2009.

Author:Hartung, Paul J.
Position:Annual Review

A review of the 2009 career counseling and development literature indicates that the field remains vital, vibrant, valid, and viable precisely 100 years after its founding. Using the field's 4 fundamental traditions of person-environment fit, life-span development, social cognition, and constructivism-social constructionism as lenses for considering articles across customary topical areas, the review examines the 2009 career counseling and development literature to consolidate knowledge about advances in theory, assessment, and intervention. The review concludes with a general discussion and the author's top 10 favorite articles for 2009, with encouragement to the reader to develop a personal favorites list.

In 1909, the posthumous publication of Frank Parsons's book Choosing a Vocation effectively spawned counseling as a profession. One hundred years later, 2009 commenced the second century of career counseling and development. The field today remains a counseling subspecialty rooted in the early 20th-century vocational guidance movement to assist people in "making [the] greatest decision" (Parsons, 1909, p. 5) of their lives. Although some may rightly argue about the supremacy of occupational choice relative to other life decisions, and even the very opportunity of such choice for many people (Blustein, 2006), few would argue about the universality and centrality of work as a source of sustenance and, potentially, an instrument of self-development and social contribution.

1909 to 2009

Continuing to conceptualize, study, and foster the role of work and career in human life 100 years after the field's founding, career counseling and development professionals today build theory, conduct research, and provide services useful to people across the life span as they explore, choose, prepare for, enter, adjust to, advance in, and leave occupational roles and construct their lives through work and other domains of human activity. Meanwhile, in the world of work, striking parallels exist between the times of 1909 and 2009. Pressing social, political, and economic conditions and sweeping transformations brought about then by urban growth and industrialization and now by information technology and globalization require individuals to adapt to radically and rapidly changing occupational structures (Savickas & Baker, 2005). Moreover, then as now, counseling professionals seek innovative ways to effectively and inclusively foster the career development of all people across the life span, consistent with the mission of the National Career Development Association (NCDA) and The Career Development Quarterly (CDQ), the association's revered journal. The once-fledgling field of vocational guidance in the early 20th-century United States stands today as a profession within an international community of practitioners and researchers facing the challenge of remaining viable and relevant for workers in the contemporary globalization and information age (Savickas, 2003; Savickas & Baker, 2005).

2009 in Review: Process and Format

Situated within this context of contemporary life and consistent with its past, a considerable body of scholarly literature continued to inform career counseling and development in the 1st year of its second century as a profession. Marking its commitment to advancing its own mission and that of NCDA, CDQ has, since 1989, annually published commissioned reviews of the career counseling and development literature. These reviews aim to consolidate knowledge in breadth about career counseling and development that is useful to practitioners, researchers, educators, and students. I join with previous reviewers in feeling very honored and humbled by the immense yet privileging task of reviewing the 2009 literature concerning practice and research in career counseling and development. In so doing, it was my aim to uphold the rich tradition and responsibility incumbent on writing the CDQ annual review as my predecessors have done so wonderfully. I owe my predecessors a great debt for having charted a clear course for conducting the annual review.

Mindful of the goal of this review and striving for comprehensive coverage, I identified upwards of 350 articles, books, and book chapters for potential review that, because of their content (based on title and abstract), appeared to be particularly useful for career counseling practice. Holding true to the process outlined by previous reviewers, I collected and read all of the articles published in 2009 in the four primary journals associated with career counseling and development in the United States: CDQ, Journal of Career Assessment, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Journal of Career Development. I also scanned the tables of contents of relevant counseling and psychology journals that typically contain articles dealing with work and career development and selected relevant articles for inclusion. These journals included Journal of Counseling & Development and relevant American Counseling Association (ACA) division journals such as Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, Professional School Counseling, and Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin. This group also included relevant American Psychological Association (APA) journals such as Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Counseling Psychology, and The Counseling Psychologist. Given the international scope of career counseling and development, I also scanned the tables of contents and selected articles for possible review from various journals outside the United States, including Australian Journal of Counseling and Development, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, and International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance. Finally, I conducted searches of PsycINFO and ERIC databases to identify additional works suitable for review.

From the voluminous 2009 published literature, I then selected 222 articles, books, and book chapters for review on the basis of their potential CDQ reader interest and counseling use. This process and space limitations unfortunately required the exclusion of many works that did not meet these criteria because of judged idiosyncratic interest and limited practice implications. My goals in reviewing articles were to provide coverage representative of the field's breadth and to sufficiently highlight the most salient aspects of each piece to pique interest and lead readers directly to the source works. All literature cited in the present review dates to 2009 unless otherwise noted.

Traditions and Topics

To both engage the reader in the rich foundations of the field and recognize the broad array of topics it encompasses, I organized the review in a way that was mindful of core traditions and according to topical themes. Career counseling and development enjoys four distinct traditions that emerged from four distinct milestones in its 100-year history. First came the early 20th-century vocational guidance movement with its emphases on individual differences and matching people to occupations. The differential tradition still serves today as the keystone of career counseling and development for fitting workers to jobs. A second milestone occurred at mid-20th-century with the advent of the developmental perspective on careers that added the notions of life-career stages, career patterns and trajectories, and worker as one of many life roles. The developmental tradition provides the archway to contextualized life-span perspectives on career counseling and development for fitting work into life. The last quarter of the 20th century witnessed a third milestone with the rise of the social-cognitive behavioral perspective on careers emphasizing learning, personal agency, and career thoughts and beliefs. The social-cognitive tradition offers a unifying perspective on career counseling and development in a framework of experiential, mental, motivational, and behavioral processes for shaping work and career. The most recent milestone has been the contemporary proliferation and advancement of constructivist-social constructionist and narrative approaches to career that emphasize life themes, relationship, story, and meaning making. The constructivist-social constructionist tradition affords a comprehensive, holistic, contextualized perspective on career counseling and development for creating self in work and career.

I used these four perspectives--individual differences, individual development, social learning, and constructivism-social constructionism--collectively as an overarching conceptual lens through which to view the literature in terms of predominant traditions reflected in the articles reviewed. I then assembled and reviewed specific works according to major topical areas customarily used in previous reviews and with the goal of answering the perennial guiding question implicitly posed by CDQ to authors of the annual review: "How can the research published last year be useful to counselors?" I ordered the major sections as follows: professional issues, career theory and concepts, career assessment, career intervention, career development: life-span perspectives, international perspectives, and reviewer picks: 2009. Many articles could be classified according to multiple sections and subsections and were considered where deemed most fitting.

Professional Issues

Career counseling and development deals with a host of professional issues. These issues involve its history as well as a range of factors that affect individual development in work and career. The 2009 literature focused substantially on further recording and reflecting on the field's past. It also attended appreciably to issues of well-being, life-role balance, and context regarding work and career development.


Pioneers. A favorite quote of mine asserts, "It is the mark of a mature profession to know its heritage" (H. Borow, 1964, p. 45). In my estimation, no one knows the...

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