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Lifespan Theories: Career Development in Childhood and Adolescence

The Super Theory was developed by Donald Super based on his premise that an individual’s self-concept evolves. According to the Super Theory, an individual’s career pathway spans their entire life. According to this paradigm, children’s professional development starts in early childhood while developing their sense of self. The core of the Super theory on career development is the individual’s self-concept, which is influenced by many factors, including biological characteristics, social roles, interactions with others, and the feedback they get from them. In the given case study scenario, the Super theory was utilized in guiding Jill, who, in the given case, was witnessing the dropping of her grades in class. The counsellor identified that he was interested in singing through the use of the theory. This paper will focus on discussing the efficacy of using the Super theory in the career development of individuals across the lifespan.

Donald Super made a significant contribution to career development with a focus on the significance of self-concept in the development of individuals. According to the Super theory of career development, the self-concept alters over time and also through experience and, as a result, career development. He extended the career and life development theory, which indicates the stages of development from three to five and indicates several substages. Super posited that there are various occupational competencies and preferences about different life situations, and as such, there are always changes with experience and time. Super came up with the idea of occupational maturity, which he suggests may or may not be connected to an individual’s age in chronological terms. Conversely, people can go through different phases and change their jobs (Pasha & Abedi, 2020).

The initial step, according to the theory, is the determination of the interests of the child and exposing them to new things. These individual and other stimuli can enhance the curiosity of the child. For instance, in the case study scenario provided, Jill’s exposure to various interests would motivate her to keep trying and discovering new things, which would further enhance her passions. Super indicated in his theory the need to limit disruptive behaviour while facilitating the kids’ development of natural interests and being exploratory. The super theory also shows that the different needs for curiosity and the other caregivers may have the choice of punishment to promote healthy curiosity and inquiry are significant. Jill can be encouraged to be curious about the surroundings to have more exploration and discovery, which would increase the chance of better carer planning (Pasha & Abedi, 2020).

One approach in which children can receive information, as indicated in the Super Model, is with imitation, such as learning from a role model. Jill can be able o gain various traits and drop other traits from individuals whom they considers influential in the development of their self-concept. The super theory enables the evaluation of a client’s background across their period of growth so that they can learn of the different habits that are created in this period, which include a grasp of the world and the needs, attitudes, and self-concept. In the case study scenario, the counsellor uses insight from the self-concept in the creation of her identity through the knowledge of Jill’s dislikes and likes, in addition to the consideration of the sibling and parents’ occupations. Through the use of the theory, the counsellor can guide Jill in the minimization of the range of potential careers (Gough & Neary, 2020).

Individuals within the exploratory phase are more focused on discovering more of themselves and the world. As such, the professional interests of individuals become more precise and make it easy to formulate a clear career plan that can be channelled into practice through the utilization of community schooling. The theory indicates that adolescence is a fundamental time for exploration as it is helpful for the individual to be able to develop their sense of identity and purpose. In the given case study, Jill still needs to mature enough within the career development path, and this is evidenced by the need for more clarity of her professional future while still having a comprehension of skills and interests. As such, in Jill’s case, there is a wide range of directions and options to which she can decide to go, and as such, the counsellor has to comprehend Jill’s lack of clarity and, as such, facilitate her discovery. Through comprehension, Jill’s desire to evaluate and consider the different possibilities for career options, and in education, the counsellor can aid Jill in developing more clarity. Future carer planning can only start after the counsellor has more awareness of career maturity, as indicated by Super theory (Ince et al., 2020).

Future Outcomes

Super theory can aid in the planning of career future options and, as such, can facilitate the development of a more straightforward career choice. Career development, as indicated by Super theory, is a process, and it shows the significance of a thoughtful approach to career development. According to Super’s theory of career development, the various stages of exploration and growth are intrinsic in the knowledge acquisition process, which is helpful in the individual development of their abilities and interests so that it can be related to the needs of their occupations. Super indicated that in the development of their vocational choice, people are in the process of expressing their self-concept, the comprehension of self, which transitions through time (Pasha & Abedi, 2020). The theory indicates that individuals can attain career satisfaction in the work roles that they can show their self-expression, and they are, as such, able to implement and create their self-concept. As such, the super concept is helpful in the carer development process to facilitate a seamless transition in the vocational field of the choice (Howard & Ferrari, 2022).

Super theory indicates that the process of the development of a career is specific to each individual, and various aspects like ethnicity, gender, personality, ability, opportunity and socioeconomic status impact it. At the basis of the super theory are vocational tasks, life stages and self-concept. The lifespan perspective is the recognition that the development of a career does not conclude in young adulthood. Still instead, it is a continuous process that leads to a more enhanced sense of care maturity (Van der Heijden et al., 2020). According to Super’s perspective, career choice should not be considered from a given static place in time but rather as a dynamic process which evolves as an individual moves through the various life stages. Also, Super indicates that there are different elements which impact career development, which he showed, such as social learning experiences, the development of personality and individual values, needs and abilities (Howard & Ferrari, 2022).

With the implementation of the super theory, the counsellor can determine Jill’s professional growth stage, which can facilitate the development of objectives for the mastery of the different activities about the choice of her vocational career. The counsellor can guide Jill in the development of clarity in her future professional choices by helping her develop interests in classes, explore work, and pursue hobbies. Jill can be facilitated to attain vocational maturity through activities promoted by the counsellor that focus on the enhancement of her knowledge, which would be fundamental in the enhancement of her self-concept (Howard & Ferrari, 2022). As such, the counsellor could aid Jill in the swing of her self-knowledge with the knowledge that she has attained in class. As such, Jill would be able to consolidate her position within her class rock. Jill can focus on narrowing down her vocational choices through exploration and discovery, which would eventually result in her adopting a preference. Since the occupational possibility reduces with age, then she would be exposed to different environments, and she would have more background in the consideration of her pattern of life. As such, her vocational choices are relevant discussion topics with her counsellor (Bakke & Hooley, 2022).

Ethical concerns

Various ethical concerns have to be considered when counselling a client on a career development path. One moral principle that has to be considered is autonomy. Autonomy refers to the respect of freedom of choice and the individuality of the client. A counsellor has to ensure that they give the client the freedom to choose what they want to do and how they will accomplish it. It is a crucial aspect for the counsellor to guide the clients to act according to their perspective in making the decision. To enhance the autonomy of the client, two fundamental aspects have to be considered. One is aiding the clients in comprehending how their different choices and values can be understood about the values within society. The counsellor also has to consider the ability of the client to be able to make logical decisions in the case scenario; the counsellor has to consider the age and development stage of the client to be able to make decisions (Van der Heijden et al., 2020).

A second element that has to be considered by a counsellor in the making of their decision is justice, which refers to the equal treatment of individuals. A counsellor has to ensure that they handle all their clients equally with consideration to the diversity in society. For example, in this case scenario, the counsellor should respect the values of the client even though she is a child. Another principle in counselling that the counsellor should consider is goodwill, which indicates the requirement of the counsellor’s obligation of the counsellor to further the promotion of the well-being of the client. Significantly, the counsellor can act in a manner that prevents causing any harm to the client in any way. This can include various aspects such as the undertaking of early intervention measures which would facilitate the protection of the clients. For example, in the case scenario, the counsellor has to provide guidance in consideration of the age development of the child and facilitate Jil to make decisions that are within her best interests (Zacher & Froidevaux, 2021). Additionally, the principle of nonmaleficence indicates the responsibility of the counsellors not to harm another individual. The principle suggests that in the provision of career guidance, a counsellor should ensure that they weigh the potential benefits of their actions about their potential harms to avoid undertaking acts which would be detrimental to the client.

Furthermore, there is a need for fidelity in career development, which is related to the aspects of keeping faithfulness, loyalty and maintaining promises. Clients should be able to maintain their faith in their counsellor and their counselling relationship as they grow. As such, the counsellor must ensure they do not damage the therapeutic relationship, and as such, the counsellor needs to exercise caution (Nota et al., 2020).


The paper indicates the utilization of the super theory of career development in guiding the career path of clients throughout their lifetime. The super theory of career development emphasizes the development of the self-concept through the lifespan, which is practical in career guidance. The super theory can facilitate the guiding of the future career development of an individual throughout the lifespan through the provision of insights on the client’s needs and expectations, ensuring better guidance of clients towards their vocational interests. While the Super theory of career development can facilitate practical career guidance with counsellors, there is a need for counsellors to consider the ethical concerns in guiding individuals throughout their career path.


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Zacher, H., & Froidevaux, A. (2021). Life stage, lifespan, and life course perspectives on vocational behaviour and development: A theoretical framework, review, and research agenda. Journal of Vocational Behavior126, 103476.


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