Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

THE CAREER THOUGHTS INVENTORY (CTI) AND CTI WORKBOOK: A Purposeful Integration of Theory, Research, and Practice in Career Assessment and Intervention

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

THE CAREER THOUGHTS INVENTORY (CTI) AND CTI WORKBOOK: A Purposeful Integration of Theory, Research, and Practice in Career Assessment and Intervention

Article excerpt

Why Consider Integration of Theory, Research, and Practice in Career Assessment?

Professional associations for career practitioners and counselors, such as the National Career Development Association (NCDA), National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and the American Counseling Association (ACA), have created ethical codes to guide practice and ensure clients' safety. The standards in these ethical codes inform various aspects of service delivery and each code contains a section related to the responsible and ethical use of assessments. Ethical codes emphasize the importance of selecting valid, reliable, and appropriate assessments for clients; attending to multicultural influences on the assessment process; and responsible administration and interpretation. The information contained within the assessment sections of ethical codes help practitioners understand best practice for using career assessments. However, some career practitioners, depending on their professional affiliation, credentials, and level of training, may still feel some uncertainty and lack confidence when trying to decide which assessments to use. This situation is exacerbated by the wide variety of career-related assessments available (Osborn & Zunker, 2015; Wood & Hays, 2013). One way to distinguish strong assessment choices is to evaluate the degree to which assessments integrate theory, research, and practice.

Counseling and psychology training programs have long taught students that using a theory to guide service delivery is best practice (Sampson, Bullock-Yowell, Dozier, Osborn, & Lenz, 2017). Other non-counseling career practitioner training programs, such as the Global Career Development Facilitator training from the Center for Credentialing and Education, also emphasize the need to know and understand career development theory to inform practice (Suddarth & Reile, 2012). Career development scholars have further asserted that using career development theories in practice helps career practitioners better design and understand the possible outcomes of their interventions (Sampson et al., 2017; Zunker, 2015) and that career practitioners should use career assessments that fit with their theory of choice (Osborn & Zunker, 2015). Theoretical frameworks help practitioners in conceptualizing client problems and determining appropriate courses of actions/interventions to use in the helping process (Niles & Bowlsbey, 2016). Furthermore, in a world where evidence-based practice is becoming the norm, practitioners can have more confidence in their choice of interventions when the theory, assessments, and resources used are research-supported (Rottinghaus, 2017). This article presents the Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI) and its accompanying CTI Workbook as tools that successfully integrate theory, research, and practice in career service delivery.

Cognitive Information Processing Theory

Prior to using any career assessment, it is important to consider the theory on which it is based (if any). The Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI) is an assessment tool based in cognitive information processing (CIP) theory (Sampson, Peterson, Reardon, Lenz, & Saunders, 1996a). The CIP theory-based approach aims ".. .to help persons make an appropriate current career choice and, while doing so, to learn improved problem-solving and decision-making skills that they will need for future choices." (Sampson, Reardon, Peterson, & Lenz, 2004, p. 2). Key elements of CIP theory, which guide career counseling and services interventions, are the Pyramid of Information Processing (Appendix A), representing what is involved in a career choice, and a five-step decision-making model called the CASVE (pronounced "kah-SAH-vee") cycle (Appendix B). Building on the work of cognitive psychologist Aaron Beck (1976), CIP theory includes a focus on dysfunctional or negative thinking (Sampson et al., 2004). CIP theory encourages practitioners to explore clients' negative career thoughts in the context of the Pyramid of Information Processing and CASVE cycle to help them overcome cognitive barriers to career problem solving and decision making. …

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