Book Review—Cognitive Information Processing: Career Theory, Research, and Practice

edited by James P. Sampson, Jr., Janet G. Lenz, Emily Bullock-Yowell, Debra S. Osborn, and Seth C. W. Hayden

I don’t know how to make this choice. While working in a university career center, I have heard these words of distress countless times from students who were feeling the unbearable weight of making a decision that they saw as having the power to shape their future, their lives, and their identities in significant and lasting ways. Fortunately, during a vocational psychology course, I studied cognitive information processing (CIP) theory, the pyramid of information processing, and the CASVE cycle, which gave me the confidence and competence to navigate the complicated decision-making process with students who felt emotionally and mentally overwhelmed by academic and career choices.

The need to make occupational decisions is universal. Cognitive Information Processing: Career Theory, Research, and Practice provides a comprehensive exploration of CIP theory, which serves as the theoretical framework for understanding the cognitive processes that affect how individuals interpret and utilize career-related information to guide their career choices.

Drawn from both cognitive and counseling psychology, CIP theory underscores the various mental processes involved in career decision making, including information gathering, self-awareness, and goal setting. As a career intervention, CIP theory is intended to assist individuals with career-related problems by enhancing their understanding of both problem solving and decision making. One tool used to accomplish this goal is the CASVE cycle. With each letter representing a step in the decision-making model, readers are guided through a structured process that helps them make informed choices. By following this model, individuals can be supported in avoiding impulsive decisions, minimizing risks, and increasing the likelihood of achieving their desired outcomes.

Published in 2023, this book focuses on integrating theory, research, and practical applications, making it an invaluable resource with applicability across a multitude of domains. Educators and researchers studying vocational behavior and aspiring to understand the future direction(s) of CIP theory would benefit from consulting Chapter 21. Likewise, practitioners seeking evidence-based career interventions and individuals navigating the complexities of career decision-making will discover instrumental guidance in the chapters dedicated to understanding occupational, educational, and training choices, as well as those exploring the psychological and developmental factors influencing an individual’s readiness to make career decisions. For employment agencies and government policymakers aiming to establish career-focused initiatives, Chapter 16 offers both a comprehensive blueprint and essential resources for developing and executing successful career services programs.

One of the book’s strengths, as stated above, is its integration of theory with practical applications. Each chapter provides insights into how CIP theory can be translated into effective career counseling interventions. The authors lay out the discussion of complex factors that affect career decisions in a straightforward and digestible manner. Practitioners and individuals will find a set of easily understandable concepts that will equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to inform effective and satisfying academic and career decision making. Through case studies, reflective exercises, practical guidelines, and summaries offered at the end of each chapter, readers will find that these skills can also be applied to a myriad of decision-making opportunities.

In addition to its theoretical and practical contributions, this book’s attention to the impact of systemic inequalities and cultural factors on career opportunities and outcomes is also notable. The authors expertly promote a culturally sensitive approach to career counseling that recognizes, respects, and affirms the diversity of individuals’ identities, values, and beliefs. They further emphasize the significance of an inclusive and empowering counseling atmosphere that fosters clients’ self-awareness and agency while making career choices. Case examples and reflective activities are presented to encourage readers to examine their own biases and assumptions that may hinder a culturally competent approach to career counseling.

Cognitive Information Processing: Career Theory, Research, and Practice is published through Florida State Open Publishing as an open-access resource. By making the book available for free, the authors have eliminated the financial barrier to accessing this invaluable asset aimed at equipping readers with theory-based knowledge of vocational behavior and career interventions. This accessibility benefits students, educators, researchers, practitioners, and anyone wanting to establish cost-effective and evidence-based career development intervention programming that helps individuals to make informed career decisions across their life span.


Sampson, J. P., Jr., Lenz, J. G., Bullock-Yowell, E., Osborn, D. S., & Hayden, S. C. W. (Eds.). (2023). Cognitive information processing: Career theory, research, and practice. Florida State Open Publishing.

Reviewed by: Nikkie Bailey, MS, LCSW

Book Review—Designing and Implementing Career Interventions: A Handbook for Effective Practice (2nd ed.)

by James P. Sampson, Jr., and Janet G. Lenz

While the importance of developing and implementing career interventions is widely recognized, there is less clarity as to how to initiate this process. The second edition of Designing and Implementing Career Interventions: A Handbook for Effective Practice addresses this issue by offering a comprehensive approach to career intervention implementation. Dr. James P. Sampson, Jr., and Dr. Janet G. Lenz detail each step of the design and implementation process in a succinct but thorough manner.

The centerpiece of the handbook is its “Eight-Step Model for Implementing Improved Career Interventions.” This model takes into account every aspect of the intervention process, from evaluation to training to implementation. The model’s depth helps both experienced and inexperienced career service providers to address aspects of the intervention process that are often overlooked. The model is dynamic in that it can be tailored to best address the needs and makeup of a specific organization. The authors emphasize that the model is not intended to be a one-size-fits-all approach and that “no two organizations are likely to create the same implementation plan.” For this reason, staff members incorporating this model can be sure that they are covering the necessary bases in their intervention plan while not abandoning their organization’s unique style.

The authors encourage the reader to adopt as much or as little of the model as they need, depending on factors such as organization size, typical client concerns, and available technology. In a similar vein, the handbook is useful for staff members in a variety of roles, both in person and virtual, and the authors provide recommendations regarding which sections of the handbook are most relevant based on the specific position that the staff member occupies within their organization. The text’s appendices include tools, such as a Career Intervention Plan and Implementation Checklist, that can help staff members to translate the teachings of this handbook into daily practice. Supplemental resource suggestions, such as career assessments, information guides, and career service professional standards, are also provided throughout the text.

Along with presenting the eight-step model, the authors provide additional guidance on how to effectively implement an intervention plan. They highlight the significance of career theory, research, professional standards, and policy in the intervention process, and they discuss how the interconnection of these aspects contributes to improved career interventions. The handbook also stresses the importance of collecting evaluation and accountability data. The authors discuss various evaluation techniques  and the specific situations in which to utilize each type of evaluation. In addition, a five-step model of accountability provides an outline for staff members seeking to monitor the impact of their interventions. This discussion of evaluation and accountability is helpful for career service organizations striving to implement evidence-based practices, as the enactment of these practices often leads to additional funding opportunities.

The section on cognitive information processing (CIP) and Holland’s RIASEC theory provides an outline of how career interventions can be tailored based on the theoretical orientation of a particular organization. Career staff members not trained in CIP or RIASEC theory may not be familiar with the specific CIP or RIASEC terminology mentioned in this chapter, but they can still come away with an understanding of how career theory, in general, can be integrated with practice. This chapter also highlights the various modalities—such as assessment, psychoeducation, and modeling—that staff members should consider when designing and implementing interventions. This discussion of the myriad techniques available in the intervention process reminds the reader that career interventions can take many different forms in a range of settings.

Another strength of the handbook is its recognition that intervention design and implementation is not done in a vacuum. Throughout the text, the authors encourage the reader to consider how leadership and collaboration affect the efficacy of career interventions. They provide examples of effective and ineffective techniques related to leadership and staff beliefs, as well as the outcomes that are likely to result from the application of those techniques. The inclusion of these interpersonal considerations can help career service leaders to embrace and navigate the inevitable change that occurs in organizations.

Overall, this handbook is a valuable tool for career service practitioners in a variety of settings and roles, and its methods can easily be adapted to align with the values and needs of specific organizations.


Sampson, J. P., Jr., & Lenz, J. (2023). Designing and implementing career interventions: A handbook for effective practice (2nd ed.). National Career Development Association.

Reviewed by: Danny Chiarodit, MS

Book Review—College Counseling and Student Development: Theory, Practice, and Campus Collaboration

edited by Derrick A. Paladino, Laura M. Gonzalez, and Joshua C. Watson

College students today face unique complexity in their world, distinct from the experience of any prior generation—such is the premise of College Counseling and Student Development: Theory, Practice, and Campus Collaboration as it undertakes both to resource and orient today’s college professionals. The text leverages the collective expertise of a diverse group of authors to supply a range and depth of information pertinent to the topic.

Several core chapters set the tone by describing the three waves of student development theory. The contributors provide relevant research and critique, helping developing professionals to consider the multiple possible frameworks from which to conceptualize students. The book appears well-suited to an audience of student counselors who can relate its material to personal experience and their observations of peers’ learning processes in the class environment. The text offers a holistic presentation of college counseling—development of the field, theory, neurobiology, ethics, key diagnostic presentations, and treatment models—reinforcing master’s-level readers’ learning from other courses.

College Counseling and Student Development also ushers developing professionals into the myriad expressions of the college counselor role. Chapters detail university to community college distinctions for each topic; track variance in triage and referral procedures; and spotlight a range of campus initiatives, such as suicide prevention outreach and other population-specific needs. Frequent case examples and application questions enable readers to visualize the differentiation of potential professional roles, for instance, academic advisor vs. career counselor. However, the text also engages the audience of administrators of college counseling centers (CCCs) through targeted resources for effective design of center structure and an organized approach to topics such as crisis policy.

As part of the book’s conceptualization of students, it briefly references a family systems view. A few chapters identify families as key contextual influences on students during their transition into college and young adulthood and consider possible engagement of the parental relationship within student affairs. Even so, the majority of the work frames students individualistically rather than systemically through the highlighted theories and models of treatment. This approach may overlook fully engaging readers of the family systems viewpoint.

However, College Counseling and Student Development appears comprehensive in its content as a whole. A strength of the text across topic areas is its diversity-focused lens, such as examining the distinct experiences of multiheritage students on campus. Similarly, in their presentation of research, the authors prioritize a social justice perspective. They acknowledge areas of possible bias within historic theories, describing how current models seek to supply the gap, including theories specific to college women’s development as learners.

The editors help readers navigate the extensive information innate to the topic through the text’s visual organization, multi-chapter student case studies, and explicit chapter goals. Early chapters on interlocking departments, roles, and resources within the college system establish clear definitions for various terms, though readers may still occasionally find themselves needing to refer back to these initial descriptions for clarity. Although the text format presents as lacking pictures, other than occasional charts, chapters engage readers through self-reflection exercises, transforming a rote perusal of the book into one that integrates reader experience.

College Counseling and Student Development lends itself well to an initial reading, and then as ongoing reference material for new professionals who may review theory frameworks and treatment models as they engage in the hands-on application of their work. The wealth of practical resources includes templates for development of outreach programs, such as student education on eating disorders, hotline numbers for mental health crisis support, and links to articles and webinars for further professional development. Additionally, the book shares free as well as membership-based resources for a variety of CCC demographics and administrative team needs—from behavioral intervention team training and risk evaluation tools to mental health assessments and models of treatment.

The details the authors provide develop readers’ appreciation for the unique niche of, and resources available to, CCCs. This information may encourage professionals to consider what off-campus, outpatient centers can glean from the advances in this micro-community model. Moreover, the text invites counselors on and off campus to conceptualize the students sitting across from them within the college microcosm, considering their challenges, resources, and cultural experiences, distinct from the average community member.

The book underscores the increasing complexity and frequency of mental health issues for the college population. It subsequently challenges the disparity of priority for college counseling in mental health education programs, which lack adequate orientation of counselors for service to this population. The book’s perspective sets a precedent for counselors, administrators, and educators alike to evaluate their respective roles in responding to this discrepancy. As a whole, College Counseling and Student Development: Theory, Practice, and Campus Collaboration represents a comprehensive text, rich with information and resources, orienting and beckoning developing counselors and administrators to the college counseling milieu.


Paladino, D. A., Gonzalez, L. M., & Watson, J. C. (2020). College counseling and student development: Theory, practice, and campus collaboration. American Counseling Association.

Reviewed by: Ellie S. Karle, NCC

Book Review—Surviving and Thriving in Your Counseling Program

by Julius A. Austin and Jude T. Austin II

This is the book I wish I had when I started graduate school.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The authors of this book present the material in an authentic voice that makes the reader feel accepted and understood at whatever stage of the process they are at in the counseling program. The authors readily present their own fears and expectations when they began graduate school. They are humble and honest about things they wish they had done differently, and they embody a calm and considerate approach with a welcome addition of humor.

The authors begin with an informative section that touches on all the normal concerns and fears you may have as a student just starting a counseling program, and the book progresses through every stage of a counseling program from your first year all the way through graduation and your first job. The authors touch on core concepts in each section, common fears, and resources for success. They even provide perspective on pursuing a doctoral degree and skills for choosing where you would like to start your first job after graduation.

The book’s structure makes it flow easily from chapter to chapter, giving light to the gradual progression of course work and your own personal development and self-care. In each chapter, the authors blend in voices and stories from people currently in the profession. Sharing examples, struggles, development, and successes helps to give credibility to the process and normalize expectations and concerns.

The authors also provide a section on emotional maturity in the book. I found this section to be a welcome addition in that it defines several examples of emotional immaturity and characteristics of emotionally mature students. This section provided insight into emotional stability, emotional intelligence, and the self-awareness that is beneficial to success in a counseling program.

In addition to this, the authors also provide a section on dealing with setbacks and managing conflicts. Both sections contain valuable information to consider, and I don’t believe these topics are discussed frequently enough without judgement in other texts. Setbacks and conflicts are bound to happen in any setting. Normalizing this and looking at skills and reflections to approach these conflicts are a welcome addition to strengthening the effectiveness of this text.

Overall, I think this book is valuable, and students should consider reading this book in full when considering entering into a counseling program. This book would have also been beneficial as an assigned text during my first semester of graduate school. It is an easy and informative read that does an excellent job of reflecting on all those questions that either I was too scared to ask, only asked in my small group of equally confused classmates after class, or quite honestly, didn’t even have enough information to know I needed to ask.

This book gives amazing insight into not just the information about a counseling program, but also manages to grasp how it changes you as a person and how it changes your perspectives, your family dynamics, and your own value system. It normalizes the stress of a graduate program but also highlights the journey and the beauty of those outcomes.


Austin, J. A., & Austin, J. T., II (2020). Surviving and thriving in your counseling program. American Counseling Association.

Reviewed by: Megan Ries, NCC

Book Review—Becoming a Counselor: The Light, the Bright, and the Serious (3rd ed.)

by Samuel T. Gladding

Dr. Samuel T. Gladding’s third edition of Becoming a Counselor: The Light, the Bright, and the Serious offers a genuine and insightful reflection of his experiences both as an individual and as a counselor.

In Becoming a Counselor, Dr. Gladding (PhD, NCC, CCMHC, LPC) describes his experiences in counseling through a series of vignettes. These brief but comprehensive stories are cohesively told through his personal lens as a counseling professional. These vignettes range from Dr. Gladding’s impressions from his experiences growing up in Decatur, Georgia, to teaching within a counseling program, to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The book is divided into 17 sections, which contain a series of vignettes and stories pertaining to the section’s specific theme of counseling and Dr. Gladding’s experiences. Each section begins with a poem, composed by Dr. Gladding, which gives a brief glimpse into what the following section will entail. The third edition expands on previous editions to include an additional 35 vignettes, as well as an introduction that explains Dr. Gladding’s personal worldview. In this introduction, Dr. Gladding specifically acknowledges his own biases and experiences that shaped him as a counselor, providing crucial self-disclosure prior to delving into his personal experiences.

Limitations for Becoming a Counselor include the highly personal nature of the majority of these vignettes. Although the themes established within this volume assist with generalizing this knowledge outside of Dr. Gladding’s experiences, this book tends to take an autobiographical tone, rather than an educational one.

Nonetheless, fellow mental health professionals can use this book as a useful tool to guide their own journey through professional development and leadership. Dr. Gladding’s conversational tone guides the reader toward a deeper understanding of seemingly superficial events.

The primary strength of this book is within the universality of its themes. Through interweaving brief stories about his experiences, Dr. Gladding shares both ordeals and successes in vignettes that can easily be incorporated into a class lecture. Practicum or internship courses would doubtlessly find short stories detailing Dr. Gladding’s experiences as useful material to discuss within the classroom. Another strength of this book includes its organization of seemingly enormous and intimidating topics, such as finding success in academia, and then taking the teeth from these topics by including fun, good-humored titles for the individual vignettes. Although many books are professional in nature, it is rare to find one that also carries a sense of humor. However, Dr. Gladding does not shy away from the more serious topics of counseling.

If you read this book, you will undoubtedly find it difficult to put it down. This book reads more as a story than a text at times, which will more than likely lead to you finishing it by the end of the day.

Although not entirely educational in nature, Becoming a Counselor carries lessons from an autobiographical standpoint that many counselors can value. This edition was one of Dr. Gladding’s final works prior to his passing in December 2021. Within the latest edition of his book, Dr. Gladding encourages the reader to carry a level of levity, insight, and seriousness as both a counselor and an individual through their own experiences.


Gladding, S. T. (2021). Becoming a counselor: The light, the bright, and the serious (3rd ed.). American Counseling Association Foundation.

Reviewed by: Katie Michaels, MA, NCC, ALC

Book Review—Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems in Therapy

by Beatriz Sheldon and Albert Sheldon


Beatriz Sheldon, MEd, and her partner, Albert Sheldon, MD, describe their novel therapeutic approach, Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems (CIMBS), in this new publication. Throughout the book, references are made to the Sheldons’s 20 years of working together, 15 years of clinical experience, and 10 years of training other practitioners in CIMBS therapy. The authors emphasize that they “are practical, empirical therapists” (p. xvii). The book is seeded with references to scientists who inspire the duo, especially Daniel J. Siegel, Joseph LeDoux, Antonio Domasio, and the late Jaak Panksepp. It must be noted that CIMBS therapy as laid out in this text contains no peer-reviewed qualitative or quantitative studies; instead, the authors utilize vignettes to discuss their methods.

The brain systems referred to in CIMBS are organized into sections much like those of the triune brain model, with an additional peripheral system in the heart, lungs, and intestines. What the triune brain model labels the lizard brain relates to the primary level, the mammal brain is the secondary level, and the human brain is the tertiary level. The Sheldons assign awareness, attention, authority, autonomy, and agency (the “A Team”) to the conscious tertiary level. The secondary level holds nonconscious, inhibitory systems of fear, grief, shame, and guilt. The primary level, also nonconscious, contains the systems of safe, care, connection, sensory, assertive, play, and seeking.

The patient accesses the hidden strengths of the nonconscious mind via the CIMBS therapist’s use of techniques like Transpiring Present Moment, Go the Other Way, and Initial Directed Activation. Transpiring Present Moment is reminiscent of Fritz Perls’s emphasis on the “here-and-now.” Go the Other Way asks the patient to avoid getting bogged down in traumatic memories and instead reach for personal strengths. The CIMBS therapist cultivates the therapeutic alliance using the Therapeutic Attachment Relationship, which includes physical postures that suggest safety, reminding us of Egan’s SOLER stance taught in many counseling programs. This intervention also recommends intense focus on the patient’s micro-expressions as a guide to their conscious and nonconscious processes. Ultimately, the patient will integrate all 20 brain systems effectively and reach Fail-Safe Complex Network, a new, durable neural structure generating improved mental health.

Although the authors refer several times to the text’s internal contradictions or incongruence, the writing has the same appeal as the work of the Sheldons’s mentor, Dan Siegel, who wrote the Foreword. The book asks readers to lean on their intuition, often reminding them to “trust the process.” Nicola Swaine has provided line drawings to clarify central concepts, much as Siegel uses a curled fist to describe the triune brain. The authors relate that this text was written expressly to provide an overview of the Sheldons’s 16-part CIMBS training series (recorded and live) for students and trainees, who will find the glossary and bibliography especially useful.

In the Foreword, Siegel refers to the “cross-disciplinary framework known as interpersonal neurobiology . . . [using] universal principles discovered by independent pursuits of knowledge” (p xii). It would be useful to know which principles are considered universal in this book. Psychology sits forever on the fence between hard and soft science; some declarations of fact are based on microscopic studies of physical structures, and some are useful models that are at least partly philosophical. This text contains both. Neurologists have observed neural repairs and rerouting; thus, neuroplasticity is a demonstrable fact. The Sheldons describe 20 brain systems while noting that “one could certainly make the case for more or fewer systems” (p. 26). Clearly the number and definition of these brain systems can be thought of as helpful metaphors, a bit like Marsha Linehan describes a “wise mind” that is not a physical structure existing in the brain.

Professional counselors who like eclectic methods and enjoy pulling inspiration from many sources will appreciate CIMBS and this flagship text. The authors caution practitioners not to use CIMBS for patients who struggle with borderline personality disorder or dissociative, bipolar, or psychotic disorders. Although the Sheldons encourage clinicians to practice with their highest-functioning patients, the wise professional counselor will first disclose methods and procedures to patients.


Sheldon, B., & Sheldon, A. (2021). Complex integration of multiple brain systems in therapy. W. W. Norton.
Reviewed by: Christine Sheppard, MA, LCPC, NCC
The Professional Counselor