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Career Theory and Practice

Career Theory and Practice
Learning Through Case Studies

Third Edition
Additional resources:

July 2014 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Designed to help readers apply career development theories to their work with career counseling clients, Career Theory and Practice: Learning Through Case Studies links major career development and choice theories to a fictional case client. Authors Jane L. Swanson and Nadya A. Fouad use this case study approach throughout the book to provide an integrative thread that illustrates similarities and differences between the featured theories. The Third Edition has been updated and substantially expanded to be a primary text for a graduate course in Career Development and Counseling.

Part I: Fundamentals
Chapter 1. Career Counseling: An Overview
Chapter 2. Cultural Contexts and Career Counseling
Chapter 3. Testing and Assessment
Chapter 4. The Case of Leslie
Chapter 5. The Delivery of Culturally Responsive Career Counseling
Part II: Theories
Chapter 6. Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities and Work Environments
Chapter 7. The Theory of Work Adjustment
Chapter 8. Super’s Developmental Theory
Chapter 9. Gottfredson’s Theory of Circumscription and Compromise
Chapter 10. Social Cognitive Career Theory
Chapter 11. Other Emerging Approaches
Part III: Applications
Chapter 12. Ethical and Professional Issues Integrating Career Development in Different Settings
Chapter 13. Information about World of Work
Chapter 14. Integration with Non-Career Issues
Chapter 15. Summary
Appendix A. Leslie’s Profiles
Appendix B. National Career Development Association’s Code of Ethics
Appendix C. Sample O*Net Summary (Mental Health Counselor)


Instructor Teaching Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • A Respondus electronic test bank is available and can be used on PCs. The test bank contains multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter and provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding. Respondus is also compatible with many popular learning management systems so you can easily get your test questions into your online course.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
  • Lively and stimulating ideas for class activities that can be used in class to reinforce active learning.

Jane L. Swanson and Nadya A. Fouad do a masterful job of bringing theory to life through the lived stories of actual career clients. I very much appreciated the book’s format, the examples, the discussion questions, and the richly developed case examples.”

Mary J. Heppner, University of Missouri, Columbia, commenting on the First Edition

“The case study method is very effective. Students can see firsthand how the theories are interpreted and applied. Often they get a better understanding of their own lives and career history.”

Anne Zachmeyer, Rochester Institute of Technology

“Theory discussion is complete and usable for students; the quality of the text is strong.”

Meredith J. Drew, Centenary College

This textbook is a simple read that provides a great introduction for career counseling. The authors offer a variety of vignettes throughout the book that gives students/readers an opportunity to apply the theories they are learning to the case studies. The case study on Leslie was throughout the book and was built upon with many chapters to give the reader additional material for helping this client. I would have personally liked to see a variety of case studies throughout the book. I do believe students reading this book will have applicable and relevant tools to apply the information learned to the real world of counseling. Rebecca N.

Mrs Rebecca Jan Noz
School of Leadership & Education Studies, University Of San Diego
June 20, 2018

This text provides very concrete exercises and addresses career counseling theory in a multi-cultural aspect that is more comprehensive and current than other texts.

Dr Deborah F Moses
Human Services Dept, Metropolitan State University
July 18, 2017

This easy to read book provides a good overview of career theories and management models earthed in case studies. Recommended for students, especially at postgraduate level, who want to understand where their careers fit in to the big picture

Mr Rob Edward Wood
Student Services, Southampton University
June 10, 2015

Detailed presentation of career theory and its practical perspectives

Mr Christian Lystbaek
Institute of Business and Technology, Aarhus University
March 25, 2015

Great length, case study approach, good multicultural material, right amount of theory and counseling application. Like the new features and chapters.

Dr Sue Motulsky
Division of Counseling & Psychology, Lesley University
January 14, 2015
Key features


  • A new chapter introduces students to the field and history of career development and career counseling.
  • A new chapter on contextual influences emphasizes intersectionality of dimensions of diversity.
  • A new chapter on career interventions and professional issues in various settings includes K-12 schools, colleges, and private practice and provides ethical dilemmas in each setting.
  • A new chapter covers the integration of work and mental health issues in counseling.
  • An expanded chapter on assessment includes practical applications.
  • A new chapter covers emerging theories.
  • A new chapter includes up-to-date occupational information.


  • A blend of theory, practical examples, and specific cases helps readers apply a wide range of career development theories to counseling clients.
  • Approaches to integrating work and mental health are proposed.
  • The authors draw on their experiences as practitioners, researchers, and teachers to provide a realistic overview of the field of career counseling and development.
  • "Counselor Cognitions" guide readers in forming hypotheses about clients.
  • "Personal Reflections" features help readers in their own career development.
  • Societal issues that influence career and work decisions, such as the role of the economy and the changing nature of the workforce, are discussed.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4

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