An Ecological Model - University of Missouri

An Ecological Model
Hannah Gillis
Jeni Shannon
Xinting Zhao
• Overview of Ecological model
• Development and Multicultural perspective
• Applications
• The more things change, the more they
remain the same
– Increasingly enters the labor force
– Succeeded in career
– The overall pattern of gender and race
discrimination remains similar
• Relatively few, poorly paid occupations
• Largely responsible for home and family
Feminist Analysis
and Counseling
• The person is political
– Individual behavior understood within the
sociopolitical environment
• The non-hierarchical nature of the
counseling relationship
– Client and counselor have equal worth
• The placement of women’s issue within a
larger sociopolitical context
The Ecological Model
• B = f(P * E)
– Behavior is a function of persons interacting in
their environment
– Identified subsystem influencing behavior as
nested within one another
• Individuals influence and are influenced
by, their environments, through their
thinking process
– How people construe what happens to them
• Meaning Making
The Ecological Model
• Career behavior can be thought of as
determined by the interrelations between
subsystems in a larger ecosystem
• Interrelationships occur simultaneously on
multiple levels, so that a focus on any one level
of interaction is by definition a limited picture of
the dynamics shaping career behavior at any
one time
• The ecological model of career development
recognized that by their very nature, humans live
interactionally in a social environment
The Ecological Model
• Every person has both a biological sex and a
race, There factors decisively shape an
individual’s career throughout life, as he or she
encounters opportunities or roadblocks because
of the biological sex or race.
• Although individuals of the same biological sex
or race ma encounter similar circumstances
because of their demographics, each career
path is unique because of individual
circumstances, and the unique interactions of
their subsystems
The Ecological Model
• Clients bring their ecosystems into counseling
primarily through conveying how they
understand and react to it
• Even when individuals are alone, their career
behaviors are strongly influenced by the action
of others, whether indirectly (law) or internally
(self-concepts influenced b precious interactions)
• Individuals also shape the environment around
them in complex ways
Ecological Model
• Ideological components of a given society
– Norms, Values, Customs
– Race/Gender Stereotyping; Class Bias; Structure of
• Sociolcutural Context and Dynamics
– Intersection between race and gender
• Convey appropriate/inappropriate career options
based on cultural or gender context
• Institutionalized discrimination
• Linkages between subsystems that
directly influence the individual
– Formal and informal structures such as:
One’s neighborhood
The media
School system policies
Social network
• Interactions between two or more
– e.g. The relations between:
• An individual’s school and environment
• Work and home
• Home and peer group
• Interpersonal interactions within a given environment
– Influence individual’s aspirations, confidence, risk-taking
– i.e. home, school, or work setting
• Direct interactions with individuals and groups through
diverse life roles in a woman’s immediate environment
• Influences:
Expectations of others
Support from others
Nature and demand of personal role commitments
Sexual harassment
Individual Variables
– Interests
– Values
– Abilities
– Self-Identity
– Occupational Self-Concepts
– Race and Gender Identity
– Sexual Orientation
– Centrality of Relationships
Meaning Making
• How a woman understands who she is and what
happens to her within her ecosystem
– Any cognitions pertaining to a woman’s experience
– Interpretive process to make sense of life events
• Important in variability of career patterns
• Unique perceptions and responses to
• Integrated mental map of self
Early Development
• Young children understand race/gender
ideologies as they apply to occupational choices
• Macrosystem Impact
– Theory of Circumscription and Compromise
– Perceptions of appropriate occupations into
acceptable sex- and race-typed career options.
• Mesosystem Impact
– Parents and teachers interact to influence girls’ career
• Exosystem Impact
– Neighborhood
• Microsystem Impact
– Role models
• Develop sense of identity and question where you fit in
the occupational world
• Macrosystem and Microsystem
– Macrosystem pledges equality in educational opportunity
– At microsystem level, reinforced sexist and racist views
– Differential treatment of boys and girls at different levels of
educational experience
– Teachers educated in a macrosystem that reinforced the
development of sexist and racist ideologies
• Mesosystem Impact
– Interaction of parents and teachers to assure girls’ access to
same treatment
• Exosystem and Microsystem Impact
– Adolescents strongly influenced by peers (Exosystem) and the
media (Microsystem)
Late Adolescence into Adulthood
• Gender and racial discrimination limit educational
opportunities and the workplace for late adolescent and
adult woman
• Macrosystem Impact
– Discrimination in hiring and salaries
– Sexual Harassment
– Glass Ceiling
• Microsystem Impact
– Uniformity myths limit women’s possibilities
• Individual Level
– Race and Gender identity
– Centrality of relationships
The Multicuture Issue
• Multiple identity career issues
– Compounded discrimination
– Perceives not be understood about issues
related to race
– Working collaboratively with men of color that
share an understanding of race issue
Lesbian and Bisexual Women
• Bias and benefit
– Discrimination at the macrosystem and
– Bias in vocational testing
– Endorse nontraditional gender role attitudes
– Nontraditional careers
– Social communication/support
– Not need to accommodate men
Relevant Issues for Women Today
Gendered Violence
Extreme Cost of Child Care
Threat of Loss of Choice
Role Strain
Unequal Pay
Discrimination and Stereotyping
Role Models
Relevant Issues
• Gendered Violence
– Intimate Partner Violence
• 1 in 4 women (MCADSV, 2006)
– Rape and Sexual Assault
• 1 in 6 women (RAINN, 2008)
• 1 in 4 college women (RAINN, 2008)
– Stalking
• 1 in 12 women (NCVC, 2008)
– Sexual Harassment
• 12,510 files in 2007 (EEOC, 2008)
Relevant Issues
• Extreme Cost of Child Care
– Average Costs in 2007
• $10,920 for 4 yr old children
• $14,647 for infants (naccrra, 2008)
• Threat of Loss of Choice/Sex Education
– Republican VP Candidate
• Outlawing abortion (even in case of rape)
• Funding abstinence-only education
– Republican Presidential Candidate
• Against funding of birth control and sex ed
• Overturn Roe vs Wade (, 2008)
Relevant Issues
• Role Strain
– Majority of housework (heterosexual
– Managing parental and work responsibilities
• U.S. one of five countries without paid maternal
• One of worst in terms of support of breastfeeding
and paid sick days (, 2007)
Relevant Issues
• Unequal Pay
– 45 years since the Equal Pay Act
– 2005, women made 77 cents on the dollar
Census Bureau)
– Year out of college, women made 20% less
than male counterparts (American Association of University Women
Educational Foundation study in 2007).
Relevant Issues
• Discrimination and Stereotyping
– Uniformity Myths
• Women care more about taking care of children,
significant others
• Women are more relational and less interested in
technical jobs
– Based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability,
• Role Models
– Diverse lifestyles
Case Study: Jeanetta
• Role Strain
– Young, single mother
– Lack of maternity leave
• Choice/Sex Education
– “Didn’t want to get pregnant”
• Extreme Cost of Child Care
– Neighbor
• (Possible) Gendered Violence
– “Fighting”
• Unequal Pay
• Discrimination and
– Fast food and waitress
– Having kids, gender, ethnicity,
• Welfare system
– 10 months until cut-off
Job Skills
Lack of child support
What do Career Counselors Utilizing
the Model Think??
• Recognize assumptions in traditional
career counseling
• Acknowledge and respect the diversity of
career patterns and clients!!!
• Understand the intertwining role of the
individual and the environment
– It’s all about CONTEXT!!!
• Realize the importance of changing
What do Career Counselors Utilizing
the Model Do??
• Establish a non-hierarchical relationship with clients
– Relationship is “demystified” and jargon eliminated
– Empowerment and Active Collaboration
– Self-Disclosure
• Conceptualize using Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) subsystems
– Microsystems, Mesosystems, Exosystems, and Macrosystems
– Go through this WITH the client
• Note the barriers AND strengths!!! Enhance self-efficacy!
• Talk about coping skills to navigate systems
• Educate and support
• Serve as advocates
– Talk with clients about how to AFFECT CHANGE
– Work towards systemic change (social justice work)
– Help when needed
Application to Jeanetta’s Case
• Establish an egalitarian relationship
– Describe nature of career counseling and roles
• Normalize concerns
– Use reflective listening skills to demonstrate empathy
• Difficulty of navigating the system
– Focus on strengths
• Abilities as a mother
– Use self-disclosure
• Single parent
Application to Jeanetta’s Case
• Go through subsystems
– Macrosystem: The Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Act (PRWORA); racial, sexual, and class
– Exosystem: Availability of Community Resources (job
training, affordable child care, transportation)
– Mesosystem: interrelationships between children’s
fathers and violence in neighborhood; family feels
about her role as single parent
– Microsystem: single parent, relationships with family,
children’s fathers, violence in neighborhood, church
Application to Jeanetta’s Case
• Empower Jeanetta by assisting her in learning about the welfare
– What counts as “self-sufficiency” training
• Help Jeanetta locate information about job availability and career
options in community
– Jobs within walking distance or bus line
• Talk about interviewing skills, effective communication, career
• Look for child care
– Church options
– Seek child support
• Decrease isolation
– Encourage to pursue individual counseling, church involvement
– Career Group modality!!!