Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

The Relationship between Vocational Self-Concept Crystallization, Ego-Identity Status, and Occupational Indecision, as Mediated by Rational or Experiential Processing/La Relation Entre la Cristallisation Du Concept Professionnelle De Soi, L'état De L'ego-Identité, et L'indécision Professionnelle Par L'entremise Du Traitement Rationnel Ou Expérientiel

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

The Relationship between Vocational Self-Concept Crystallization, Ego-Identity Status, and Occupational Indecision, as Mediated by Rational or Experiential Processing/La Relation Entre la Cristallisation Du Concept Professionnelle De Soi, L'état De L'ego-Identité, et L'indécision Professionnelle Par L'entremise Du Traitement Rationnel Ou Expérientiel

Article excerpt

The Cognitive Information Processing (CIP) model of career development (Peterson, Sampson, & Reardon, 1991; Peterson, Sampson, Reardon, & Lenz, 1996) was developed in response to the needs of both counsellors and their clients to understand how individuals process information in conjunction with the task of making occupational decisions. Peterson et al. (1996) proposed that cognitive inputs in the form of self-knowledge and occupational knowledge are processed using a set of generic information-processing skills, and that the stages of processing culminate in the execution or implementation of a plan of action aimed at rectifying the identified problem.

The nature of the CIP approach is unique (Zunker, 2002) in that it provides a useful and easy model for how occupational decisions should be made and describes how its components can be applied to career counselling. The CIP model is founded on solid psychological theory supported by a considerable body of research evidence (Jepsen, 2000). Despite the fact that Peterson et al. (1991) developed the theory more than 20 years ago, research evaluation of the model since then has been relatively slow. Additionally, the individual cognitive differences that moderate the decision-making process have not been investigated at any length, as indicated by the bibliography provided on the website dedicated to the theory (Sampson, Peterson, Reardon, & Lenz, 2014).

Experienced counsellors will recognize that even when the same information is provided, clients vary greatly in their ability to make an occupational decision. This variability leads to the question: What are the factors that allow some university students to make occupational decisions easily and with confidence, while others flounder and experience significant levels of anxiety as they struggle? The research described here considers how much of the variability in occupational indecision could be attributed to each of vocational self-concept and identity. In addition, it was expected that the crystallization of self-knowledge in the form of vocational self-concepts and a vocational identity and their relationship to occupational indecision would be influenced by the tendency to think rationally or experientially.

DEVELOPMENT OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE

What we believe about ourselves is largely determined by our past experiences and the episodes they have created in memory. Our sense of self or identity is highly dependent on explicit memory for past episodes. This sense of self or understanding of who one is requires access to memories of personally relevant experiences (Klein, 2001). Hart and Fegley (1997) have conceptualized the self as being represented in memory at three different levels. At the highest level, the self-concept is a theory with a set of assumptions about the nature of self in relation to the world. At the next level, the self is made up of many interrelated schemas, and at the most specific level, the self is derived from and represented as specific personal episodes in memory. While all semantic self-knowledge is episodic in origin, over time personal facts from these episodes can be recalled in the absence of memory of the original episode (Haslam, Jetten, Haslam, Pugliese, & Tonks, 2011). The episodes stored in memory contribute to semantic self-knowledge about what we look like, think, feel, want, and do, and to autobiographical knowledge about events in which the individual participated (Haslam et al., 2011; Kihlstrom, Marchese-Foster, & Klein, 1997).

Some of the many cognitive tasks that we engage in daily may require contentspecific information from episodic memory alone or from semantic memory alone, and other tasks may require content-specific information from both of these memory systems; self-trait description is one task that requires both (Klein, Cosmides, Tooby, & Chance, 2002). Theories of trait judgement assume that the individual has a database of experiences from which trait judgements can be made. …

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