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Career Decision-Making Difficulties: Assessment and Treatment. Itamar Gati Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Today’s Presentation. Presenting a model and means for locating career decision-making difficulties of individuals Presenting possible treatment of the difficulties . 2.

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career decision making difficulties assessment and treatment

Career Decision-Making Difficulties:Assessment and Treatment

Itamar Gati

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

today s presentation
Today’s Presentation

Presenting a model and means for locating career decision-making difficulties of individuals

Presenting possible treatment of the difficulties 


indeed it is difficult to make career decisions
Indeed, it is difficult to make career decisions:

Quantity of Information:often large N of alternatives and factors, within-occupation variance  information is practically unlimited

Quality of Information:soft, subjective, fuzzy, inaccurate, biased

Uncertainty about:the individual’s future preferences, future career options, unpredictable changes and opportunities, the probability of implementing choice

Non-Cognitive Factors:emotional and personality-related factors, the necessity for compromise, actual or perceived social barriers and biases

Lack of knowledgeabout the process is among the prevalent difficulties



CDM Difficulties of 15,000 surfers on the Future Directions website (Gati & Meyers, 2003)

  • Are you experiencing difficulties in making your career decision?
assessing clients needs involves
Assessing clients’ needs involves

Locating the focuses of the client’s career decision-making difficulties

Appraising the degree to which the client’s preferences are crystallized

Assessing the client’s decision-makingstatus

Acknowledging the client’s career decision-making profile (pattern, style): Interventions aimed at facilitating career decision making should be tailored to the client’s career decision-making profile (pattern, style)



career decision making difficulties
Career Decision-Making Difficulties
  • The first step in helping individuals is to locate the focuses of the difficulties they face in making career decisions
  • Gati, Krausz, and Osipow (1996) proposed a taxonomy for describing the difficulties (see next slide),based on:
    • the stage in the decision-making process during which the difficulties typically arise
    • the similarity between the sources of the difficulties
    • the effects that the difficulties may have on the process and the relevant type of intervention
locating the focuses of career decision making difficulties gati krausz osipow 1996

During the Process

Prior to Engaging in the Process

Lack of Readinessdue to

InconsistentInformation due to

Lack of Information about

Lack ofmotivation







Unreliable Info.

Internal conflicts


Ways of obtaining info.

Locating the Focuses of Career Decision-Making Difficulties(Gati, Krausz, & Osipow, 1996)
empirical structure of cdm difficulties n 10 000
Empirical Structure of CDM Difficulties (N = 10,000)

Lack of motivation

General indecisiveness

Dysfunctional beliefs

Lack of info. about self

Lack of info about process

LoI about occupations

LoI about addition sources of help

Unreliable Information

Internal conflicts

External conflicts

difficulties arising prior to beginning process
Difficulties Arising prior to Beginning Process

Lack of Readiness

  • Lack of motivation – a lack of willingness to make a decision at a certain point in time
  • General Indecisiveness (negative perceptions of self, anxiety related to the decision-making process, diffused self-concept and identity)
  • Dysfunctional Beliefs – a distorted perception of the career decision-making process, irrational expectations, dysfunctional thoughts
difficulties arising during the process
Difficulties Arising during the Process

Lack of Information

  • About the Decision Making Process - how to make a decision wisely and the specific steps involved in the process
  • About the Self (preferences, abilities)
  • About Occupations (alternatives, their characteristics)
  • About Ways of Obtaining Information
difficulties arising during the process1
Difficulties Arising during the Process

Inconsistent Information

  • Unreliable Information – stems from contradictory information about the individual or about considered occupations
  • Internal Conflicts – among alternatives, among factors considered, between an alternative and a preferred characteristics, difficulty in compromising
  • External Conflicts –between the individual’s preferences and the preferences voiced by significant others
the career decision making difficulties questionnaire cddq
The Career Decision-Making Difficulties Questionnaire (CDDQ)
  • The CDDQ was developed - to test this taxonomy and - to serve as a means for assessing individuals’ career decision-making difficulties
  • Cronbach Alpha internal consistency estimate: .93-.95 for the total CDDQ score
the four stages of interpretation
The Four Stages of Interpretation
  • Ascertaining Credibility,using validityitems and the time required to fill out the questionnaire
  • Estimating Differentiationbased on the standard deviation of the 10 difficulty-scale scores
  • Locating thesalient,moderate, or negligibledifficulties,based onthe individual's absolute and relative scale scores
  • Determining the confidence in the feedback and the need to addreservationsto it (based on doubtful credibility, partial differentiation, or low informativeness)
among the salient difficulties is lack of information about the career decision making process
Among the salient difficulties is “lack of information about thecareer decision-making process”

The Distribution of the Three Levels of Difficulties (negligible, moderate, salient difficulty) in the Ten Difficulty Categories and the Four Groups(N = 6192; H-Hebrew, E-English, p-paper and pencil, I-Internet)

research findings
Research Findings
  • Osipow and Gati (1998) - American students(n=403)
  • The correlation between the CDDQ and the CDS was = .77
  • The correlation between the CDDQ and the CDMSE was negative, as expected, r = -.50
  • The total CDDQ scores of students who had not yet made a decision were noticeably higher than the scores of students who had already made a decision.
gati osipow krausz and saka 1998 95 pairs of counselors counselees
Gati, Osipow, Krausz, and Saka (1998) 95 pairs of counselors - counselees
  • The median correlation between the counselor’s judgments and the counselee’s self-reports in the 10 difficulty categories of the CDDQ was .49 (range .27 -- .67).
  • The lowest agreement was in the difficulty categories involving a lack of information
lancaster rudolf perkins and paten 1999
Lancaster, Rudolf, Perkins, and Paten (1999)
  • The correlation between the total CDDQ score and the CDS was = .82
a cross cultural perspective
A Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Good fit of the empirical data to the theoretical structure was found across cultures
  • The structure of difficulties is similar as well across cultures
  • Much variance is found among individuals in each group; only a little variance in career decision-making difficulties is attributable to cultural differences
differences in the cddq means between canadian and israeli career counselees r 98
Differences in the CDDQ Means between Canadian and Israeli Career Counselees (r =.98)
the cddq can be used for
The CDDQ can be used for:
  • Initial screening of clients(e.g., in terms of the 3 major categories or the 10 difficulty categories) and directing them to various interventions (face-to-face, Internet-based guidance systems)
  • Locating the focusesof clients’ career decision-making difficulties (“needs assessment”)
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of career interventions (e.g., before/ after)
locating the focuses of clients career decision making difficulties
Locating the Focuses of Clients’ Career Decision-Making Difficulties
  • Client B (#615) is an 18-year-old Caucasian woman who is a business school freshman.
  • Her CDDQ results showed the following salience:
    • general indecisiveness, ways of obtaining information.
    • dysfunctional beliefs, lack of information about the CDM process, the self and occupations, unreliable information, internal conflicts
    • lack of motivation, external conflicts,

(Gati & Amir, 2010)


Testing the effectiveness of intervention: MBCD’s Effect (Cohen’s d)on Reducing Career Decision-Making Difficulties(Gati, Saka, & Krausz, 2003)

implications for counseling
Implications for counseling
  • Interpretive feedback provides an initial diagnosis of the client’s difficulties and needs and facilitates focusing on those that most deserve attention and intervention.
  • Filling out the CDDQ again after a while can be used to test the effectiveness of the intervention.
  • It is crucial for Internet-based assessment of career decision-making difficulties, where no expert counselor is available.
assessment of career decision making difficulties involves
Assessment of Career Decision-Making Difficulties involves:
  • Measuring the difficulties
    • computing the 10 difficulty scale scores
    • computing the 3 major cluster scores
    • computing the total CDDQ score
  • Interpreting the Client’s difficulty profile
    • locating salient,moderate, or negligible difficulties
    • evaluate confidence of interpretation
the next step treating the difficulties
The Next Step: Treating the Difficulties
  • Difficulties differ in:
    • their sources (cognitive, emotional)
    • severity
    • Implications (length of intervention, prevents making decisions or leads to a non-optimal one)
  • Based on these
    • order of treatment
the four steps in dealing with the difficulties
The four steps in dealing with the difficulties
  • Verify its existence
  • Identify its sources
  • Plan an intervention
  • Treat it !!
lack of readiness lack of motivation
Lack of Readiness: Lack of Motivation
  • Primary assessment – temporary or chronic-avoidant?
  • Locate the source (locus of control, uncertainty, lack of career decision-making self-efficacy)
  • Discuss the costs and benefits of postponing the decision
    • inform client that not making a decision is also a (sometimes legitimate) decision
    • present the importance of going through a systematic process and illustrating the different implications of making or not making a decision
lack of readiness general indecisiveness
Lack of Readiness:General Indecisiveness
  • Determine sources (negative perceptions of self, anxiety, diffused self-concept and identity)
  • Possible treatment:
    • Discuss previous experience in decision making
    • Reinforce previous good decisions
    • Identify factors involved in indecisiveness and treat them separately
lack of readiness dysfunctional beliefs
Lack of Readiness:Dysfunctional Beliefs
  • Identify, understand and change dysfunctional beliefs into functional ones by using CDDQ, CTI and CBI
  • Discuss the fact that the decision needs to be based on known facts and specifically:
    • The resilience of the world of work
    • The importance of choosing out of genuine interest
    • The collection of more information about relevant occupations
lack of information about the process
Lack of Information about the Process
  • Present the PIC Model:
    • Prescreening – sequential elimination, relevant aspects and considerations, use CACGS
    • In-depth exploration – information sources for each stage, distinguish between structured and “soft” information, computer-assisted systems
    • Choosing – Assess whether various choices can be actualized, rank options and choose
lack of information about the process cont
Lack of Information about the Process (cont.)

Awareness to

  • The various aspects or factors that need to be considered
  • The role of career counselors


  • The uncertainty involved in the decision
  • The need / the role of compromise
lack of information about the self
Lack of Information about the Self
  • Clarify client’s preferences (importance of specific aspects, optimal level and compromise levels)
  • And client’s abilities (general cognitive and specific abilities)
  • Discuss with the client's his or hers past experience and achievements
lack of information about careers
Lack of Information about Careers
  • What are the options (educational, occupations, jobs)
  • What characterize them (and what distinguish among them)
  • What are the relations among education, training, occupations, and jobs
lack of information about the additional sources for help
Lack of Information about the Additional Sources for Help

Inform client about additional sources of

help about:

  • career decision making process,
  • self (preferences, abilities, personality)
  • career alternatives
using the information unreliable information
Using the Information:Unreliable Information
  • Explore whether unreliable information is about:
    • self (preferences or abilities) or
    • career
    • locate specific contradictions in information
  • Treating contradictions about self: help client discover client’s skills, interests and important considerations and successful past experiences
  • Treating contradictions about alternatives: guide to relevant and reliable information sources
using the information internal conflicts
Using the Information:Internal Conflicts
  • Assess whether the conflict is about preferences or actualization problems
  • Discuss the need to compromise and recommend framing preferences in terms of aspects rather than alternatives
  • If the conflict is about problems of actualization - discuss options, assess the probability and costs of actualizing the plans, help to assess the cost of compromise, and construct an alternative plan.
  • Help the client decide what to choose as an occupation and what as leisure activity
using the information external conflicts
Using the Information: External Conflicts
  • Identify clients’ significant others anddiscuss different factors for their importance (client, relationship, decision, social context and culture-related)
  • Suggest to reconsider importance of others, rephrase conflicts in terms of aspects or factors considered rather than alternatives (e.g., medicine vs. law helping people vs. money)
to sum up
To sum up
  • Career choices are based on decision-making processes, therefore career counseling is also decision counseling
  • Locating individual’s career decision-making difficulties is a core component of the assessment of their needs; it shapes the counseling process
  • Measuring career making-decision difficulties is not enough – it is important to interpret them
for further information www cddq org itamar gati@huji ac il
For further