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What is Counselling?

What is Counselling?

Counselling is a concept that has existed for a long time. We have sought through the ages to understand ourselves, offer counsel and develop our potential, become aware of opportunities and, in general, help ourselves in ways associated with formal guidance practice.

In most communities, there has been, and there still is, a deeply embedded conviction that, under proper conditions, people can help others with their problems. Some people help others find ways of dealing with, solving, or transcending problems.

In schools, if the collaboration between teachers and students is good, students learn in a practical way. Young people develop degrees of freedom in their lives as they become aware of options and take advantage of them. At its best, helping should enable people to throw off chains and manage life situations effectively.

Unprecedented economic and social changes have, over the years, changed the ways in which we manage our lives. Consequently, not all the lessons of the past can effectively deal with the challenges of modern times. Effective counselling, especially in institutions of learning has now become important. Boys and girls, and young men and women need to be guided in the relationships between health and the environment, earning skills, knowledge, and attitudes that lead to success and failure in life.

The need for counselling has become paramount in order to promote the well-being of the child. Effective counselling should help to improve the self-image of young people and facilitate achievement in life tasks. Counselling should empower girls and boys to participate fully in, and benefit from, the economic and social development of the nation.

(a) Counselling has to do with feelings.

(b) Counsellors are people who help others express, understand and accept their own feelings.

(c) This process helps people to:

  • feel less anxious,
  • make decisions,
  • take actions, and
  • grow and change.

People solve their own problems. Counselling gives no advice, only helps people to be able to face their problems, examine their options, understand their feelings and choose alternatives that seem best to them.

The main tools of the counsellor are:

  • empathy
  • active listening
  • reflecting feelings
  • asking good questions
  • affirming and accepting

Counsellors create conditions where clients can become better acquainted with their thoughts and feelings by hearing themselves talk about them.

It is difficult to think of a single definition of counselling. This is because definitions of counselling depend on theoretical orientation.

Counselling is a learning-oriented process, which occurs usually in an interactive relationship, with the aim of helping a person learn more about the self, and to use such understanding to enable the person to become an effective member of society.

Counselling is a process by means of which the helper expresses care and concern towards the person with a problem, and facilitates that person’s personal growth and brings about change through self-knowledge.

Counselling is a relationship between a concerned person and a person with a need. This relationship is usually person-to-person, although sometimes it may involve more than two people. It is designed to help people to understand and clarify their views, and learn how to reach their self-determined goals through meaningful, well-informed choices, and through the resolution of emotional or interpersonal problems. It can be seen from these definitions that counselling can have different meanings.

Counselling is provided under a variety of labels. For example, there are instances where counselling is offered when a relationship is primarily focused on other, non-counselling concerns. A student may use a teacher as a person with whom it is safe to share worries. In such a situation, the teacher uses counselling skills but does not engage in an actual counselling relationship. The teacher counsels but is not a counsellor.


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