Introduction to Counselling: (A Complete Guide)

Counselling is a process involving a counsellor and a client. When both of them sit together to probe the problems or issues related to emotional or stressful issues of the client.

In this article we will discuss Introduction to Counselling. 

When a counsellor plays his role to help the client to find out a solution of his problems from a different angle.

This can enable the client to clearly concentrate his behaviour, feelings and experiences in an order to help him bring a positive change in him.

The process of counselling is basically a relationship of trust between client and counsellor. Privacy and secrecy has immense importance for the counselling to be successful.

A counsellor before conducting a session elaborates his policy about confidentiality to patients.

Counselors may, however, can disclose the particular information to concerned law enforcement authorities if there is a risk to life.

History of Counselling

Roots of counselling are found back from the time of tribals. In tribes people usually come together to discuss their dreams, ideas, experiences and problems.

With the advancement of time religion came into the play and it offered a type of counselling to the people.

This type of counselling was usually provided by the churchmen. These churchmen used to listen to the people and tried to provide a solution to their problems.

This trend still exists. 

A german neurologist named Sigmud Freud, in the 1890’s, proposed a theory which is called psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis enabled people to share their problems with a psychoanalyst.

Psychoanalysts used to be trained individuals who had expertise in interpreting the subconscious. Subconsciousness is a key part of our brain about which we don’t have an awareness but it does influence us in our daily routine.

It was Sigmund Freud who is considered to be a key player in the development of counselling and he is considered a key figure in shaping the history of counselling.

But until the 1960’s the word counselling was uncommon.

As the 2nd world war concluded, counselling started gaining popularity in America in the 1950’s.

There are many therapies about which we hear today or have knowledge have their origins back to very prominent psychiatrists and psychologists.

These psychologists and psychiatrists developed most therapies and theories which nowadays are nowadays known as schools of therapy. 

A lot of major developments took place in the field of counselling since the 1950’s.

There has been a lot of research which has helped us in making a better understanding of the factors which enable us to think and act in a particular manner.

However, it is still not possible for most psychologists and psychiatrists to understand what actually distinguishes human beings from each other and how they are all unique.

It is very much important to understand that counselling has witnessed a lot of development since the time of Sigmund Freud with many new approaches and ideas coming into existence from late 1800 to date.

Counselling History Timeline

Professionally, counselling started to take place in the 20th century when people from the medical field along with psychologists started to probe into what factors are behind causing mood swings, depression and how possibly they can be treated.

Following are important landmarks happened in the history of counselling:

  •  Sigmund Freud, in 1886, in pursuit of developing psychoanalysis, started his professional practice in Vienna.
  • Carl Rogers,in 1951,in his book Client-Centered Therapy, presented his work on person-centred approach.
  • Fritz Perls, Ralph Hefferline and Paul Goodman, in 1951, in their book named Excitement and Growth in Human Personality, presented Gestalt Therapy. 
  • Abraham Maslow, in 1954, discovered humanistic psychology and after that he presented his notorious theoryHierarchy of Needs.
  • Albert Ellis, in 1955, presented his work about cognitive behavioural therapy. He,then later, denoted this therapy as REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). 
  • Viktor Feankl, in 1959, presented his book named Man’s Search for Meaning. This book was written by him when he was a prisoner during world war II in National Socialist German Workers’ Party concentration camps. He described his experiences as a prisoner there. The book has also presented Logotherapy which is an existential approach to counselling.
  • Aaron Beck, in 1967, presented his therapy named as cognitive behavioural therapy. He stated that our emotional well being depends on our thinking style.

Post Modern Approaches to Counselling

Following are three different types of approaches to postmodern therapies.

Narrative Therapy

Michael White and David Epston proposed this therapy between the time of 1970’s to 1980’s.

According to them, our unconscious human behaviour is shaped by our unconscious processes and cultural influences.

Solution Focused Therapy

In the late 1970’s, American researchers, Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg proposed this theory.

This therapy is basically future focused and goal oriented. This therapy enables the patients to replace their problems with solutions.

Collaborative Language systems

During the 1980’s Harlene Anderson Harry Goolishian proposed this therapy.

According to them a therapist and client get into a conversation to work on the difficulties of the client.

Types of Counselling

Following are the types of counselling which are in trend these days:

Marriage and Family Counselling

In their daily life routine people come across a lot of difficulties and issues especially when they are married or living with family.

Sometimes it becomes very difficult for them to get rid of their troubles in their lives. This ensues conflicts with their families or their parents. 

To help people with such kinds of issues in these settings marriage and family counselling comes into play to enable individuals to deal with their issues.

Counsellors build trust with them by making them realise that their privacy and confidentiality will be strictly followed.

Thus counsellors help them and suggest them viable solutions which can help people to minimise their issues. 

Educational Counselling

A freshly graduate student or a student who just jad finished his school, finds it hard to get a clue about which career to choose.

This is not an unusual thing among students. Moreover, even those who are employed usually get to feel like this in the midst of their careers. This is not something about which someone should be worried.

An educational counsellor helps such individuals to choose their right careers.

Usually counsellors conduct sessions and seminars in order to create awareness among students where these counsellor discuss various options and get to know about the interest areas of their clients and provide them a better solution according to their wills and choices.

Rehabilitation Counselling

Rehabilitation counselling is for those people who are struggling to cope up with their negative emotions and who are physically challenged.

Moreover, counsellors also help individuals to get and maintain their employment and also help them to live a balanced life independently.

This helps their clients to minimise their weaknesses and raise their strengths.

In short, counselors provide individuals assistance in maintaining and leading an independent life.

Mental Health Counselling

Mental health issues are becoming increasingly common.

Awareness regarding these issues has enabled individuals to recognise the symptoms and then seek help from a mental health professional.

These professionals help individuals to get rid of the issues which are causing them mental distress and destroying their mental health.

These mental health issues include, depression, PTSD, ADHD, Bipolar disorder, and more.

These issues are mainly focused in this type of counselling to resolve above mentioned issues for a better and healthier lifestyle.

Substance Abuse Counselling

This type of therapy is applied on those clients who are addicted to drugs and other substances.

This helps them in treating their addiction and breaking them from using alcohol or drugs. In this type of counselling the client discusses the causes of addiction and helps clinician to reach to the root cause.

Thus, counsellor suggests to his client the strategies to cope with his addiction which can eventually bring a positive change in his life.

Furthermore, the counsellor suggests to his client some practices which are helpful in recovery.

Objectives of Counselling

Following are the main objectives of counselling;

Improving Relationships

A lot of people come across problems related to their relationships owing to a poor self image.

Similarly, an individual who is lacking adequate social skills due to which they become defensive in their relationships.

There can be some sort of problems in families, friends or even in marital life as well.

In these sort of circumstances a counsellor plays his role and will try to help his client to bring an improvement in his life and will let him know the effective methods of interpersonal relationships.

Promoting Decision Making

Counselling also focuses on empowering the people to get an ability to make important and critical decisions when facing difficult circumstances without being influenced by outside circumstances.

Counselling can be helpful for people in obtaining information, and bringing clarity in emotional concerns that may be related to the decisions involved.

Thus, individuals will be able to get a better understanding of their skill set and interests.

They will also get to know about the emotions which often get involved when they are making important decisions or choices.

Facilitating Clients Potential

The purpose of counselling is also to enhance the freedom and independence of an individual by handing out the control of their environment and also analysing their reaction and response to their environment.

Counsellor will be helping his client to get to know how to reduce and minimise the excessive use of substances and how they can take care of themselves in a better way.

The counsellor will also aim to help in how to overcome their sexual dysfunction, Compulsive gambling and obesity, anxiety, drug addiction, depression and shyness.

For the therapy to work effectively, it is very important that a counselor and his client have a strong, reliable relationship.

If for some reason, a client is unable to trust his counselor and upon up about his issues, the counselor then uses the technique of immediacy.

Facilitating Behavior Change

Many researchers believe that the objective of counselling is to bring a change in behaviour that will help an individual to enhance his productivity.

Counselling teaches people unconditional positive regard.

Rodgers, in his research, indicated that a changed behaviour is a requirement of counselling sessions.

Although, some behaviors may not be able to get emphasis in this process.

FAQs about Counselling 

Q1. What is Counselling?

Counselling is considered to be a type of talk therapy which enables individuals to tell their problems to counsellor and then counsellor suggests viable solutions.

Q2. What are the stages of counselling?

There are three basic stages of counselling; initial stage, middle stage and last stage.

Q3. What are the types of counselling?

Following are the main types of counselling;

Marriage and Family Counselling

Educational Counselling

Rehabilitation Counselling

Mental Health Counselling

Substance Abuse Counselling

Q4. Why is counseling important?

Counselling provided by highly trained professionals can significantly impact a person’s mental and physical health and can provide him with solutions to his problems.

Q5. What are the components of counselling?

First component of counselling is to develop a relationship between clinician and client.

Secondly, getting a clear picture of the problems of the client.

Thirdly, identification of issues and setting up the goals for treatment.

Fourthly, implementation of interventions. Lastly, planning, termination and following up.