Career development interventions

Reference Book: Niles, S. G., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (2017). Career development interventions (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. ISBN: 9780134286303.

Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey: pp. 63–83, ch. 5

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This module/week’s Discussion Board Forum centers on the presentation, “Happenstance Theory Demonstration.” After viewing the presentation, choose 1 question below to post to the discussion board.

· How does Krumboltz identify the factors that are influencing the client’s decision making? Give specific examples.

· What are some of the specific worldview generalizations that the client holds and how does Krumboltz handle these?

· Compare and contrast Krumboltz’ Happenstance theory to Holland’s trait and factor theory. Which do you prefer and why?


Reply thread must be 150-200 words. Each thread must include at least 1 citation in current APA format.


Reply to Robin

Happenstance vs. Holland Theory

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John Holland’s “Trait and Factor” theory relies on cognitive thinking and problem solving. He lends heavily to the idea that every vocation requires a certain set of personality traits and that people enjoy working in settings with others who are like them (Niles & Harris Bowlsbey, 2017). Assessments determine that a person is 1 of 6 different personality types, and based off this information a job can be acquired that best fits a person’s unique abilities. When people work in environments that lend to their personal skills, they are more likely to feel successful and satisfied. While an assessment-based approach considers a multitude of factors, and is often thorough and extensive in understanding the makeup of an individual, there are some elements that lack in this approach. It limits an individual to their specific test results, which could cause a person to be biased against their untapped potential. Additionally, always planning leaves little room for the unknown and the unexpected positives that might arise from chance encounters. Unknown events can take place in a job which would require the person to be out of their specific element (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2017).

The “unknown” is the backbone of the Happenstance theory. It relies less on specific skills and talents, and doesn’t necessarily push finding a specific vocation based on tests or assessments. Happenstance instead emphasizes unpredictable events and chance occurrences could lead to finding one’s dream vocation (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2017). Krumboltz does a great job of getting Cassie to see life through the eyes of Happenstance Theory by asking her to first imagine her dream job, but also to consider what would happen if that dream job turned out to be one which she ends up hating. He presents the idea that even though she’s spent time and energy gaining education and training for something that didn’t work out, she should view this as a positive event because it is a learning experience (Microtraining Associates, 2009). The skills gained from one vocation can always be applied to another.

For this reason, I tend to enjoy the idea of Happenstance, because it mirrors the ideas presented by Barbara Fredrickson in her “Broaden and Build” theory (Murdock, 2008). Fredrickson also emphasizes flexibility, open mindedness and positive emotions as contributing factors to enhancing one’s abilities. Holland’s Theory only tells us what we are on paper, not what we could possibly become in reality. Krumboltz also emphasizes the concept to Cassie that one should always be a lifelong learner and the concept of mastery does not exist. Proverbs 12-1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” One who thinks they know everything-even about themselves, will cease to grow. If someone limits themselves to their assessment results in trait and factor they would never explore their untapped potential. We should not limit ourselves in such a way or allow ourselves to be categorized when our potentials as God’s children are truly limitless.



Microtraining Associates (Producer). (2009). Creating More Satisfying Lives: A Live Demonstration of Happenstance Career Theory [Video file]. Retrieved from Counseling and Therapy in Video: Volume I database.

Murdock, N. L. (2008). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Niles, S. G., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (2017). Career development interventions (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

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