A personal construct theory approach to the vocational counselling of young people in the context of the careers service

Towner, Michael Antony (1988). A personal construct theory approach to the vocational counselling of young people in the context of the careers service. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f931

Abstract

Generalised theories about the processes involved in making a vocational choice have frequently proved inadequate in explaining individual decision-making. Consequently such perspectives have often been ignored by those practising vocational guidance.

A research project was carried out to explore the practical application of some aspects of George Kelly’s (1955) 'Psychology of Personal Constructs’, in order to see if it could offer an improved level of insight into the process. The research took place over a period of several years within the context of a local authority Careers Service. The technique of repertory grids was used, in the form of an interactive computer program, which provided a practical aid for use by careers officers in their work.

A pilot investigation demonstrated that not only was this approach of value to the vocational guidance practitioner in understanding the individual client, but also to clients themselves in gaining insight into their own decision-making processes.

Subsequent work in the research extended the use of the grid technique within the wider context of personal construct theory. A number of careers officers were involved in exploring further application of aspects of the theory, since it was demonstrated that it could help to explain many of the individual exceptions to other theoretical frameworks. Additionally it offered the potential for a more coherent use of counselling skills for assisting planned personal development. Some implications for the work of the Careers Service, and for careers education in schools, were considered subsequently.

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