Assignment: Contextualist and Chaos

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Assignment: Contextualist and Chaos

Assignment: Contextualist and Chaos


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Assignment: Contextualist and Chaos
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Assignment: Contextualist and Chaos Theories and Their Applications

Contextualist and Chaos Theories and Their Applications: Young and Associates, Savickas and Bloch

Learning Objectives

Identify and describe the philosophical basis (postmodernism) of the theories in this chapter.

Articulate each theory presented in this chapter and describe its applications.

Basic Tenets of postmodern thinking:

Post modern thinking, often referred to as constructivist theories, are a relatively new addition to the theories of career choice

These theories depart radically from the assumptions of the theories based on positivist philosophy

Assumptions that underpin these theories:

Human behavior is nonlinear and thus cannot be studied objectively

Cause and effect relationships cannot be determined

Individuals cannot be studied outside of the context in which they function

Research data cannot be generalized to other people or groups

Research is not a value-free process

The stories (or narratives) that students tell are legitimate sources of data

Research is goal-free

Career counselors focus on the stories, use qualitative assessment procedures and help clients construct career goals

The self develops in continuous interaction between the individual and her or his contexts

Some postmodern theorists accept the idea of the objective self; others reject the idea

Young, Vallach and Collin (2002) A contextualist theory of career

Contextualism for these theorists is the process of weaving parts of one’s context (environment, reference groups, etc.) into the structure of self.

Career-related behaviors are goal-directed results of the individual’s construction of the context in which he or she functions.

Goal oriented series of behaviors

Young et al break action into 3 parts:

Observable behavior

The internal processes that cannot be observed

The meaning or results as interpreted by the individuals and others who observe the action

Joint actions, such as those in career counseling, occur between people

Actions take place in a series of sequential steps that occur in a social contact from which the actor cannot separated.

Young and colleagues indicated that an essential aspect of career counseling is interpretation, which involves making sense of the client’s experiences.

Savickas’ Career Construction Theory (1995, 2002, 2013)

Incorporates portions of Holland’s and Super’s theories giving them a constructivist interpretation.

Acknowledges the influence of Alfred Adler

Believes that the construction of self occurs primarily through a reflective process

Savickas’ 5 step approach to career counseling






Chaos Theory of Career Development and Spirituality

Although chaos theory is a field of mathematics, psychologists and counselors may rely upon this theory to suggest approaches to dealing with families, work groups and organizations.

Assumptions of Chaos Theory

Small effects can cause large reactions

Complex open systems are unpredictable, primarily because we cannot know the initial conditions from which these systems evolved

Open systems are characterized by turbulence which adds to their unpredictable nature

Feedback about the system to the participants in a open system makes it more unpredictable.

Fractals are complex patterns that repeat themselves recursively—that is, the new pattern grows out of the old.

Bloch’s (2005) ideas to illustrate chaos theory –elaborated by listing the characteristics of adaptive entities (clients)

Have the ability to maintain themselves even though their shapes (life spaces) may change

Are open systems taking energy from the environment

Are parts of networks

Are parts of other entities

Are dynamic and ever-changing

Go through transitions

Behave in non-linear ways

React so that small changes may bring about large effects

Move through transitions

Chaos Theory and Career Counseling

Bloch and Richmond (2007) identify 7 themes that clients may manifest during the counseling process.

They are change, balance, energy, community, calling, harmony and unity

Brief Solution-Focused Career Counseling (BSFCC)

Relationship development – counselors may describe themselves as coaches or facilitators

Client presentation of issue

Search for exceptions

Client identifies personal strengths and past successes

In follow-up sessions, revisit the goal and develop a plan to move toward resolution

Ask second order questions

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