What is Directive counselling?

In this blog we will discuss the concept of Directive Counselling in psychology, the advantages and disadvantages of directive counselling, steps in the process of directive counselling as well as the role of the therapist in a directive counselling approach. 

What is Directive counselling?

Directive Counseling was a concept founded by E.G. Williamson – counselor centered Counseling i.e. Counselors play a major role. This article will start by explaining what counseling is, moving on to directive counselling and then discussing steps, advantages and disadvantages, as well as the counsellors role in directive therapy. 

Counseling is an accepting, trusting and safe relationship, in which clients learn to discuss openly what worries and upsets them, to define behavior, to acquire essential social skills and to develop the courage and self‐ confidence to implement the desired new behaviors. 

What is counselling? 

Counseling is a process of helping individuals or groups of people to gain self- understanding in order to be themselves. Counseling is a reflection of a professional relationship between a trained counselor and a client. 

Olayinka (1972) defined it to be a process whereby a person is helped in a face-to-face relationship while Makinde (1983) explained counseling as an enlightened process whereby people help others by encouraging their growth. 

Counseling is a process designed to help clients understand and clarify personal views of their life space, and to learn to reach their self-determined goals through meaningful, well-informed choices and a resolution of problems of an emotional or interpersonal nature. It believes that every human individual has the potential for self- growth, self-development and self-actualization.

What is directive counselling?

Directive Counseling was a concept founded by E.G. Williamson – counselor centered Counseling i.e. Counselors play a major role. They direct the counselee to think by informing, explaining, interpreting and advising.

One of the main goals is to replace the individual’s emotional behaviour with purposeful intellectual behaviour. The counsellor, on the other hand, avoids giving authoritarian advice. Counsellor-centered is another name for this method.

The following are the main assumptions on which directive counseling is based:

  • All of our efforts should be focused on the problem of the counselee.
  • Client’s incapability of solving the process-: The counselor does not possess the capability for solving the problem always.
  • Competency in giving Advice-: The counselor possess the best training experience and information. He is more competent to provide an advice to problem. Counselor is more competent than the counselee and hence he plays a more active role than the client. He is said to be the pivot, the centre or leader of the situation.
  • Counseling objectives as problem solving situations-: The objective counseling are achieved through problem solving situations.
  • Counseling as an intellectual process -: A client’s intellect is not destroyed as a result of mal-adjustment. Hence counseling is primarily an intellectual process .It stresses upon the intellectual aspects of a person instead of emotional aspects of the personality. Counseling is primarily an intellectual rather than emotional process and hence the intellectual aspect is given more weight than the emotional aspect.

Advantages and disadvantages of Directive Counselling 

Demerits of directive counselling 

  • In this process the client is more dependent. He is also less able to solve new problems of adjustment.
  • As the client is never independent of the counselor, it is not an efficient best guidance.
  • Unless and until a person does not develop some attitude through experiences, he cannot make any decision himself.
  • The counselor fails in serving the client to commit the mistakes in future

Merits of Directive Counselling 

  • In this process the client is more dependent. He is also less able to solve new problems of adjustment. 
  • As the client is never independent of the counselor, it is not an efficient best guidance. 
  • Unless and until a person does not develop some attitude through experiences, he cannot make any decision himself.

Steps of Directive Counselling 


It includes the collection of information about a person by asking a series of questions, conducting a psychological case study, going through records and other documents going back to the person’s childhood.


After data collection, the information is organized in a logical manner to determine the qualifications, assets, potentials, liability adjustments, habits, or cultural backgrounds of those observed.


Diagnosis is a process which involves deciphering the nature of a problem and deriving the core of the matter at hand. It strongly influences your solution as it determines if a customer has a real issue that you need to resolve or whether they just have a preference that merely exists as an opinion.


Prognostic is an older word for predicting the future development of the problem. It means to predict or forecast what might happen in the future based on observation. For example, prognosis is one’s chance to be able to survive his problem with its cause described accurately by observing how it develops at different speeds, which kind of symptoms exist and then determining whether they get worse or improve over time.


It is carried out in order to help the individual adjust and re-adjust in respect to his or her situation. During counselling, the individual’s attitudes and interests are taken into account. It encourages the individual to establish a life cycle in which a positive effort leads to achievement, and success leads to further positive efforts and motivation.

Follow -up

The sixth step in directive counselling is follow up, which is extremely important. As an individual may be able to overcome immediate problems through counselling, issues may continue to arise or the original problem may re-occur; the responsibility of the counsellor is crucial during this step in order for them to make sure that they are able to make the client fully aware of their strengths, weaknesses and faults.

An example where a more directive approach is appropriate:

“Mary, my Research Leader is fantastic at winning grants. I think she’s got the biggest research income in the Department this year. She’s shown me some of the grant applications that she’s written and explained how she does it. She’s asked me to contribute to the one she’s currently writing – I draft a section, then she sits down with me and goes through it and I have another go!”

This example of directive mentoring provides an opportunity for a less experienced researcher to benefit from the knowledge and advice of a successful senior colleague. Insights can be gained from the directive approach that might not be possible, or that might take far longer to reach, using a non-directive approach.

Role of the counsellor in Directive Counseling

The counsellor plays the vital role in this counselling process. He is the pivot of the process and the leader of the situation. The counsellor does most of the talking problems and individual is not the focus. 

The counselee in fact, works under the counsellor and not with him. The counsellor tries to direct the thinking of the counselee or client by informing, explaining, interpreting and sometimes advising also.

The counsellor collects all possible information about the pupils or counselees and analyses them for an adequate understanding. He summarizes and organises the data so as to understand the abilities and limitations, adjustment and mal-adjustment of the pupils. He formulates conclusions about the nature and causes of his problems. He predicts the future development of his problems.

He prescribes what the pupil should do to solve his problems and follows the consequences or effects of his prescription. Directive counselling is also called the prescriptive counselling because the counsellor prescribes the solutions or the course of action for the pupils.

According to Myers, “Counselling means a relationship between two persons in which one person provides special assistance to the others.” This captures the essence of directive counselling. 

The counselor is a professional who is trained to help a counselee to achieve a particular purpose, whether it is to change a behavior, a feeling, a thought, a habit or an attitude. 

The counselor will help a counselee to achieve this purpose by giving the proper advice. Counselors have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for a counselee to open up and share. In order to do so, the counselor should be sensitive, respectful and non-judgemental.


This article aims to give the reader a better understanding of what directive counseling is and how it can help you in your life. Also, we will provide some examples of this type of counseling and how it can help you.

Many people struggle with their mental health and need assistance and the help of a therapist. If you are looking for a therapist and want to know what to look for, you should read this post on the different types of counseling available. Knowing this information will help you find the counseling style that is best for you.