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Definition of Counselling

The Collins Dictionary of

Sociology defines counselling as
“ the process of Guiding a
person during a stage of life
when reassessment o be made
about himself or herself and
his or her life course”.
Counsellors are professionally
trained and certified to perform
counselling. Their job is to provide
advice or guidance in decision-
making in emotionally significant
situations by helping clients explore
and understand their worlds and
discover better ways and well-
informed choices in resolving an
emotional or interpersonal
Context and the Basic concept of Counselling

Counselling is affected by the context and the surrounding

factors. They are explored here as part of basic concepts of
counselling that are very important to consider.

Peers as Context – Friend’s attitude, norms and behaviours

have a strong influence on adolescents. May personal issues
are often introduced to the individual by their peers. Parents
can have much influence over their adolescent children. Critical
family issues involve family roles, both positively and negative
influence that peers have on the adolescents’ issues.
Neighbourhood as Context- the interactions
between the family and its neighbourhood
as immediate context are also important to
consider. A Family functions within a
particular neighbourhood. He behavioural
problems in this particular neighbourhood
require that families work against crime and
social Isolation that may impact them.
This is much easier in the countryside communities
where a community network of parents, teacher,
grandparents, and civic leaders exist and where a
sense of collaboration in raising the children of the
community forms part of shared ethos. For this
reason neighbourhood context is an important
consideration in counselling. It can both introduce
additional strengths or challenges to parenting and
resource that should be considered when working
with families.
Culture as Context- Culture provided meaning and
coherence of life to any orderly life such as community or
organization. Various sectors of community families, peers
and neighbourhoods are all bound together by the cultural
context that influences them all as individual members.
Therefore, the cultural is a major consideration in
counselling. Extensive research on culture and the family
has demonstrated that so much influence on the individual
child and family is exerted by the cultural context
Culture- is the source of norms, values, symbols,
and language which provide the basis for the normal
functioning of an individual. Understanding the
cultural context of a client makes it easier for a
counsellors to appreciate the nature of their
struggles as well as their cultural conditioning that
informs certain personal characteristics such as
degree of openness to share personal concerns, self-
revealing, making choices and personal
determination for independence.
Counselling as context- the National Institute of Health
recognizes counselling itself as a context. Regardless of
a therapeutic approach in use, the counselling
situation in itself is a context. There is a deliberate
specific focus, a set of procedures, rules, expectation,
experiences and a way of monitoring progress and
determining results in any therapeutic approach( Corey
1991). Counselling can therefore be affected by the
counselling context.
1. Client Factor. The client factors are everything that a
client brings to the counselling context. Or she is not a
passive object receiving treatment in the manner of a
traditional-patient situation. The clients bring so much to
the counselling context and therefore I remains
imperative that they are considered as an active part of
the process. Very often , the expectations and attitude of
the client define the result of a counselling process and
experience. The success or Failure of the counselling
process depends so much on the client.
2. Counsellor Factors- The personality, skills and personal
qualities of a counsellors can significantly impact the
outcomes of the counselling relationship (Vellemen 2001).
The counsellor’s personal style and qualities can make
the intervention successful. The conditions for self –
restoration or experience of self-empowerment in a client
are some qualities that a counsellors usually brings about.
The experience of positive and negative conditions can be
attributed to the counsellors. This may be amplified or
aggravated by the choice of counselling methods that the
counsellors uses in his or her practice; this makes
counselling both a science and also an art.
Contextual Factors. The context in which counselling takes place
can define the outcomes. Counsellors are therefore concerned
with the environment and atmosphere where to conduct the
sessions. There are ideal context and not ideal ones. For example ,
physical noise and distance trigger the feeling of emotional safety
of the client. A noisy place can be a distraction that prevents
healing. A place where a client feels strongly fearful can provide a
blockage from genuine engagement with counselling process and
procedure. A client has to feel comfortable and positive. Ideally,
counselling should take place in a quiet, warm, and comfortable
place away from any distraction. Unless the counsellors and client
talk in comfort and safety, there is no way steps of healing can
commence and yield desirable outcomes.
4. Process Factors- the process factors constitute the actual counselling
undertaking. Velleman (2001) presents the following six stages, which for him
apply to all problem areas in the process of counselling.

A. Developing trust- this involves providing warmth, genuineness, and empathy.

B. Exploring problem areas- this involves providing a clear and deep analysis of
what the problem is, where it comes from, its triggers, and why it may have
C. Helping to set goals- This Involves setting and managing goal- directed
D. Empowering into actions- this means fostering to achieve set goals.
E. Helping to maintain change- this means providing support and other
techniques to enable the client to maintain changes.
F. Agreeing when to end the helping relationship- This implies that assurances
are there that guarantee the process is being directed by the client and toward
Principles of counselling

Advice- Counselling may involve advice-giving as one of the several

functions that counsellors perform. When this is done, the requirement is
that a counsellor makes judgements about a counselee’s problems and lays
out options for a course of action. Advice-giving has to void breeding a
relationship in which the counselee feels inferior and emotionally
dependent on the counsellors.

Reassurance- Counselling involves providing clients with reassurance,

which is a way of giving them courage to face a problem or confidence that
they are pursuing a suitable course of action. Reassurance is a valuable
principle because it can bring about sense of relief that may empwer a
client to function normally again
Release of emotional Tension- Counselling provides clients the opportunity
to get emotional release from their pent-up frustration an other personal
issues. Counselling experience shows that as persons begin to explain their
concerns to a sympathetic listener, tensions begin to subside. They become
more relaxed and tend to become more coherent and rational. The release
of tensions helps remove mental blocks by providing a solution to the

Clarified thinking- Clarified thinking tends to take place while counsellors

and counselee are talking and therefore becomes a logical emotional
release. As this relationship goes on, other self- empowering result may
take place later as a result of development during the counselling
relationship. Clarified thinking encourages a client to accept responsibility
for problems and to be more realistic in solving them.
Reorientation- involves a change in the clients emotional
self through a change in basic goal and aspiration. This
requires a revision of the client’s level of aspirations. This
requires a revision of the clients’ level of aspiration to bring
it more in line with actual and realistic attainment. It
enables clients to recognize and accept their own
limitations. The counsellor’s job is to recognize those in
need of reorientation and facilitate appropriate