Career selection is a complicated process that largely impacts a person’s entire life. Decision-making is associated with a range of factors, including relationships between its members, role models, and the system of specific values. This paper aims to explore the case of the Vargas family, in which the intention of Veronica meets her father’s resistance and refusal to support her medical education. In order to better understand how counseling can help in this particular situation, the client’s worldview and genogram will be clarified, and the theories of career will be applied accordingly.
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The main multigenerational theme in the given Vargas family is a conflict that is represented between several members of the family. First, the grandmother of Veronica’s father does not accept her mother, which is clear from her attitude to her. Second, George, the father of the teenage girl, does not realize the potential of his daughter, and they end up screaming in the counseling center. Second, it seems that George unconsciously copies his mother’s behavior and acts as the authoritarian leader of the family, who cannot admit that other members can have their own opinions. The conflict also exists between the mother of Veronica, Sarah, who supports her daughter’s aspirations, and George.
In view of the identified relationships between different generations, Veronica experiences stress and embarrassment. As a counselor, it is possible to assume that the girl’s worldview is quite unstable and pessimistic. She does not understand how the counseling center can assist her, and her perceptions of help are associated with no benefits for her. Observing multiple conflicts, Veronica is likely to be vulnerable to stressful situations and depression. In addition, her world outlook is comprehensive since she has a boyfriend and friends and is engaged in social responsibility by volunteering at the local hospital. The girl can be characterized as a conscientious and purposeful person, who has family problems that impede her harmonious development and career building. Such challenging factors as intolerance and a lack of mutual respect and listening in the family also impact Veronica’s viewpoint adversely.
Additional Information Required
While the most important information is presented in the case, the counselor should ask about Veronica’s goals and objectives related to her career choice. It is critical to ensure that she clearly understands her future responsibilities and overall needs for working as a pediatric oncologist. More to the point, the Strong Interest Inventory (STI) should be offered to her to reveal career interests and abilities through assessing various fields of personality, such as investigative, social, realistic, enterprising, artistic, and conventional.
This test would be useful to identify the factual abilities of the client, which can be used to select a strategy for facilitating the current situation in the family. In addition, the counselor needs to meet with Veronica individually to ask about any factors that stimulate her to the identified carrier, which will be useful to comprehend her inner motivation in short- and long-term periods. The details about her relationships with her parents and siblings should also be collected to prevent similar situations with other children of the family.
Applying Career Theories
There is a range of theories that are used by counselors and employers to understand the factors that drive a person to select one or another career. While some people are confident in their choice, others can be hesitant and affected by others likewise in the case of Veronica. The developmental career theory also referred to as career development theory was elaborated by Super and later Savicka (McMahon, 2016). It implies that self-concept tends to change with time and experience, which is the basis for a career model. There are five key stages in the development of self-concept, including growth (age 0-14), exploration (15-24), establishment (25-44), maintenance (45-64), and decline (65+) (McMahon, 2016). The way people consider and think about themselves alters throughout the mentioned stages, and it is the paramount force that identifies career perceptions.
The trait and factor theory is another fundamental framework that promotes the basic premise of utilizing individual traits in order to match a person with occupation. The first concept of this theory is traits that are relatively stable patterns of behavior, feeling, and decision-making (Atli, 2016). A factor is the second concept that can be defined as the constellation of traits inherent to an individual’s thinking, acting, and feeling. The author of this theory, Holland, developed the STI divisions, and information received from Veronica can be applied to match her career choice with her personality (Atli, 2016). In the case of the client, additional tests should be conducted to present their results to the father and clarify whether her choice is appropriate or not. For instance, the DISCOVER tool by the American College Testing Program can be applied.
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The social cognitive theory (SCT) by Bandura implies that a person observes others and learns from them, which serves as the career path motivator. The majority of both positive and negative views regarding a career are collected from childhood and adolescents, and an individual’s self-efficacy forms the link between the desired outcome and his or her thoughts about personal capabilities. According to Bandura, people are likely to choose the career directions that seem to more promising to them, while they already have or able to acquire the required capabilities (McMahon, 2016).
The meaning of this theory is that people who strive to become pediatricians have the potential to develop necessary skills since their self-efficacy is the key motivator.
The applicability of the career development theory to Veronica lies in the fact that the conflict with her father can be explained by using it. In particular, the identification of roles is presented by the theory, where the client is at the stage of exploration, and George’s position is maintenance. For Veronica, it is essential to explore new roles and experiment, looking for more knowledge and skills and focusing on opportunities. In turn, the maintenance stage means that a person securely established his or her career and stagnated. George insists on the career of a nurse for his daughter since he cannot admit that any other point of view can be correct.
For this military man who devoted his entire life to the service, it seems to be impossible that Veronica can choose a job that contradicts his concept of self. In other words, it is the task of the counselor to explain to George that every person has a particular concept of self with regard to career.
While all of the components of the developmental career theory are relevant to Veronica, the trait and factor theory has such a disadvantage as the emphasis on the environment in which a person lives. The vocational guidance movement can be misled due to the unconducive family context of Veronica, and it should be taken into account by the counselor while recommending one or another intervention. The critics also note that the given theory fails to pay attention to changes in one’s lifespan, gender differences, and cohesiveness. At the same time, it is stated that the trait and factor theory contributes to better career success and satisfaction if the traits are job responsibilities coincide. By applying this theory to the Vargas family, the counselor can determine the occupation that would best suit Veronica, which can be a trigger for George to reconsider his categorical resistance.
Speaking of the applicability of the SCT theory to Veronica, it is essential to state that the extent to which a person is convinced that his or her actions are related to the achievement of a result, the beliefs in self-efficacy will be related to the expectations of these results. Bandura, however, states that self-efficacy perceptions do not always meet the expectations of the results, especially in situations when outcomes are partially or completely beyond human control.
Moreover, the study by Agllias (2016) shows that belief in personal effectiveness predicts behavior better than expectations of results. The critics of the SCT began to emphasize that what exactly people report about them. Nevertheless, one still needs to see if detailed verbal self-reports and favorable conditions created for receiving self-reports can cope with the fact that a person often does not suspect what processes are happening in his or her inner world.
An adolescent’s professional trajectory is essentially impacted by the family model and the relationships between its members. In this case, the mother is involved in her daughter’s solution to become the pediatrician oncologist even though she encourages Veronica secretly. The evidence demonstrates that parents who are simulative and affectionate towards their children are more engaged in their decision-making processes (Agllias, 2016). On the contrary, George seems to be insensitive to Veronica’s aspirations, which shows a lack of securing attachment and, as a result, misunderstanding and non-productive conflicts between them.
A lack of motivation to study, poor well as a poor choice of the profession often cause low academic performance, leading to missing lessons. In the given case, a poor choice of profession encourages Veronica to retrain in order to avoid psychological discomfort or the impossibility of career growth. Professional counselor guidance can serve the individual, family, and society in several fields. Firstly, it should help Veronica and her father to know themselves better and identify possible types of activities and how to combine them. Secondly, it would ensure the effectiveness of matching the individual with the demands of the labor market. Thirdly, professional support contributes to the development of the economy through the efficient use of human resources. Fourth, it enhances the sense of social justice and cohesion as the counselor would select the work based on abilities, opportunities, and interests.
The first suggested recommendation is conflict resolution therapy that intends to teach people the skills they need to work in collaboration to address tense situations. Responsive listening is the core of this intervention, and it is assumed that Veronica and her parents should learn to recognize each other’s aspirations to work together (Falloon, 2015). Conflict resolution skill training consists of the following steps: the expression of initial positions, discovery of essential concerns, and implementation of a mutually designed plan of action. The skill-building activities should be integrated across all the sessions with the counselor.
Family therapy is the second intervention that can be recommended for the Vargas family due to its focus on communication as a way to resolve personal conflicts between the family members. To aid this family in improving their relationships, the counselor can set the goals of establishing healthy boundaries and furthering understanding of each other. At least five sessions should be planned to explore the problems and boost empathy between the parents and their daughter through the application of the social cognitive theory techniques. In particular, anger management and constructive dialogue-building skills should be promoted (Falloon, 2015).
It is important that the family members openly speak to and forgive each other, understanding their triggers for conflict. Trust in her father’s experiences as well as the idea of explaining and supporting her personal position are essential for Veronica. Considering that the client’s conflict is inextricably connected to George’s grandmother, each of the contributing factors should be addressed.
Significant Cultural Factors
The differences in social, cultural, and religious values in an intergenerational perspective largely affect the Vargas family. It is noted that George’s grandmother, who is 88 years old, condemns him for not visiting the church and marrying Sarah. George’s wife is from a Jewish family, yet both spouses do not prioritize religion and prefer not to engage in related activities. The fact that Sarah is referred to as “that women” reflects the attitude of the older generation to younger ones. At the same time, this conflict is observed by Veronica, who tends to copy her father’s behavior and enter the conflict with her parents.
It should also be stressed from the cultural point of view that Georg’s worldview does not correspond to that of his daughter, who seemingly spends too much time on education instead of entertainment. Veronica hopes that her father is proud of her behavior and ideas, yet the difference in overall attitudes to the life of a young girl leads to the conflict.
The counselor’s personal cultural values and biases can affect the client through cultural similarity. It is the most common failure when the counselor associates his or her experience with that of the person he or she consults. Pedersen, Lonner, Draguns, Trimble, and Scharron-del Rio (2015) specify that less experienced and younger counselors are more likely to adjust their practice with regard to cultural similarity with a client. In this case, the counselor should be aware that the cultural values of the Vargas family should prevail over his or her personal issues.
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To conclude, it is essential to emphasize that this case presents the conflict between Veronica, who want to change her major and become a pediatric oncologist, and her father, who insists on a nursing career. It is found that the Strong Inventory Test is needed to identify the underlying abilities of the client and understand the family conflict better via the developmental career theory, the trait and factor theory, and SCT. Based on the critical analysis of the given case, the implementation of conflict resolution therapy and family therapy are recommended to teach the family conflict resolution skills, such as responsive listening, communication, and constructive dialogue.
Agllias, K. (2016). Disconnection and decision-making: Adult children explain their reasons for estranging from parents. Australian Social Work, 69(1), 92-104.
Atli, A. (2016). The effects of trait-factor theory based career counseling sessions on the levels of career maturity and indecision of high school students. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4(8), 1837-1847.
Falloon, I. R. (2015). Handbook of behavioural family therapy. New York, NY: Routledge.
McMahon, M. (2016). Career counselling: Constructivist approaches (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Pedersen, P. B., Lonner, W. J., Draguns, J. G., Trimble, J. E., & Scharron-del Rio, M. R. (2015). Counseling across cultures (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.