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Handbook for Using the Self-Directed Search®: Integrating RIASEC and CIP Theories in Practice

Robert C. Reardon, PhD, and Janet G. Lenz, PhD

Help your clients become career problem solvers and decision makers
Qualification level:
A degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in psychology, counseling, speech-language pathology, or a closely related field plus satisfactory completion of coursework in test interpretation, psychometrics and measurement theory, educational statistics, or a closely related area; or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests. Close

Comprehensive Reference for Career Professionals using the Self-Directed Search and RIASEC Theory


Robert Reardon and Janet Lenz's book incorporates John Holland's RIASEC theory with cognitive information processing (CIP) theory, which studies four aspects of the career choice process: self-knowledge, options, decision making, and executive processing, or "thinking about thinking."

  • Designed for professional counselors, psychologists, career development facilitators, career guidance technicians, librarians, social workers, and graduate students learning to be career counselors.
  • Strives to help professionals better serve their clients by helping them become career problem solvers and decision makers, which can have an affect on their ability to make good career decisions.
  • Includes four case illustrations, 29 figures, 14 tables, and 13 appendices.
  • Features a variety of worksheets and forms that can be reproduced for use with clients:
    • Tests: Matching RIASEC and SDS Concepts/Terms, CIP Practitioner Self-Test, SDS Practitioner Self-Test.
    • Worksheets: Individual Learning Plan (ILP), Calculating the Iachan Agreement Index for Any Pair of Three-Letter Codes, Occupational Exploration Activity.
    • Exercises: Guide to Good Decision Making, Career Information Follow-Up, SDS Case Analysis (with four completed case illustrations along with SDS and CIP Case Analysis Worksheets for each).

Learn more about the synergy created by RIASEC and CIP theories to help your clients find a career they love!


What career professionals are saying about the SDS Handbook


All in all, the Handbook is the single most comprehensive source and resource for John Holland and the RIASEC theory. It covers much of the research and practical work of the Florida State University authors and their colleagues and graduate students. It forced me to think about the Holland theory in more multifaceted and complex ways. I highly recommend this book for people who are using Holland-based assessments to help them unravel the various facets of using interests in career decision-making and the career development process and apply the results less superficially while working with students or clients. It is also great for career counseling graduate students who may be required to know the Holland theory in a more profound and academic way.

—Janet Wall, EdD, Career Development Specialist, NCDA Fellow

Source: Wall, J. (2017, Fall). [Review of the book Handbook for using the Self-Directed Search: Integrating RIASEC and CIP theories in practice, by R. C. Reardon & J. G. Lenz]. Career Development Network Journal, 33, 36–37.


There is little else to do but rave on about the virtues and resources offered in the Handbook. Janet Lenz and Robert Reardon are to be commended for doing such a fantastic job in producing and editing the Handbook. No career center, counselor's, or practitioner's shelf should be without one. John Holland would be proud, and rightly so.

—Peter Manzi, EdD, School of Counseling, College of Social and Behavioral Science, Walden University, Minneapolis

Source: Manzi, P. (2016, April). [Review of the book Handbook for using the Self-Directed Search: Integrating RIASEC and CIP theories in practice, by R. C. Reardon & J. G. Lenz]. NCDA Career Convergence Web Magazine.


Suggesting the integration of two theories (RIASEC and CIP) is a major contribution for providing career practitioners with the means and the process when working with adults...In summary, the Handbook is a useful resource for career practitioners and others who use the SDS in their practices. For those who have studied RIASEC theory and the SDS, the Handbook is a comprehensive update and review.

—Dale Furbish, EdD, Senior Lecturer, Master of Career Development, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Source: Furbish, D. (2016, December). [Review of the book Handbook for using the Self-Directed Search: Integrating RIASEC and CIP theories in practice, by R. C. Reardon & J. G. Lenz]. Journal of Employment Counseling, 53, 187–189.


Through explaining SDS administration and interpretation, Reardon and Lenz effectively link RIASEC and CIP theories to practice. This theory-to-practice linkage was achieved with clever decisions to limit “referencing, statistics, and academic detail to make content more palatable for practitioners and students (Preface, p. iii)." According to the authors, "we were especially mindful that counselors are primarily SAE (Social, Artistic, Enterprising) types (Preface, p.iii)." As a result, the writing style is refreshingly personable and enriching. Additionally, a myriad of tables, figures, and case studies are presented throughout the book. There are 29 figures, 14 tables, and 13 appendices to help facilitate SDS interpretation. Table 3.2 describes career interventions for certain Holland types (p. 24). Other examples include a table for SDS indicators and diagnostic signs, and guidelines for using the SDS in conjunction with the CIP approach is found under Appendix J. 

—Matthew L. McClanahan, MEd, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Professional Vocational Evaluator, East Carolina University, North Carolina

Source: McClanahan, M. (2017, September). [Review of the book Handbook for using the Self-Directed Search: Integrating RIASEC and CIP theories in practice, by R. C. Reardon & J. G. Lenz]. The Professional Counselor.