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What is Counselling ? Definition, Types & Process

12 January,2024  |  By Brainwonders

What is Counselling

The ability to vividly imagine and experience emotions with profound insight sets humans apart from all other creatures. We respond to situations differently, and various scenarios elicit distinct reactions. In specific situations, our thoughts or emotions can significantly impact our well-being. It is disheartening to reflect on how, in the past, psychological traumas were often overlooked. The advent of new technologies and increased awareness has prompted a shift towards acknowledging and addressing emotional issues. Counselling, a form of talk therapy, plays a crucial role in empowering individuals to confront the challenges they are facing, with the ultimate aim of overcoming them.

Counselling: Definition and Format

A counsellor is a highly trained professional who guides individuals through systematic sessions to help them overcome personal challenges. The types of counselling provided vary based on the client's unique needs.

Counselling, a form of talk therapy, allows individuals to openly discuss their problems with trained professionals in a tranquil and secure environment. While the interpretation of counselling may differ among individuals, it generally involves delving into one's issues to overcome them or gain a comprehensive understanding of one's thoughts.

The role of a counsellor extends beyond mere suggestions; instead, they facilitate detailed discussions to pinpoint the root causes of problems. Additionally, counsellors collaborate with individuals to devise action plans to cope with or triumph over their challenges.

Counselling sessions can take various formats, allowing clients to choose the one that best suits their needs. The following are popular counselling formats:

  1. In-Person: Face-to-face sessions occur in the counsellor's office, requiring a scheduled appointment where individuals can discuss their problems directly. This format remains one of the most widely used in counselling.
  2. Group Counseling: Professionals conduct group counselling sessions, providing a platform for individuals to address shared issues. Joining such groups allows individuals to connect with others facing similar challenges, fostering a robust support network. However, in-person sessions may be preferable for those seeking a more personalized focus on their problems.
  3. Telephonic Sessions: An alternative to in-person counselling, telephonic sessions offer flexibility by allowing individuals to schedule sessions from the comfort of their homes. This format is particularly suitable for busy individuals who may find it challenging to attend in-person sessions, providing a secure environment for discussing problems over the phone.
  4. Online Counseling: Opting not to meet the counsellor face-to-face, individuals can choose to communicate with their counsellor via email. This method allows for thoughtful consideration of the problems to be discussed, providing a level of anonymity. Online counselling is gaining popularity as individuals appreciate its convenience and privacy.

Counselling Process

When an individual seeks counselling, it is often due to serious concerns such as mental health issues, emotional struggles, or family problems. The counselling process is not hurried; instead, it entails a systematic evaluation that follows a detailed approach.

The counselling journey is characterized by a step-by-step methodology, with the counsellor ensuring the client feels comfortable throughout. Let's delve into the five crucial stages of the counselling process.

1: Building a Warm Relationship

The initial focus is establishing a warm relationship upon approaching a counsellor to discuss concerns related to academics, relationships, career, or other areas. The counsellor aims to create a comfortable environment and build mutual trust, ensuring clients feel at ease when sharing their challenges.

2: Analysis

The second stage involves a comprehensive assessment. Here, the professional encourages clients to articulate their problems in detail to uncover the root causes. The counsellor pays close attention to nuances such as speech patterns and reactions to specific questions, forming a detailed understanding of the issues. Once the assessment is complete, the goal is established.

3: Setting the Goal

Following a thorough evaluation of the presented problems, the counsellor moves on to the crucial step of goal setting. Considering the nature of the issues, the counsellor collaborates with the client to define a goal—overcoming the problem or finding a way to reconcile.

4: Plan of Action

With the goal set, the counsellor develops a tailored action plan for the client to implement. For instance, if someone fears public speaking, the expert might suggest practising in front of a mirror. This plan is executed over a specific period, and the counsellor continuously assesses the client's progress. If improvements are noted, the process moves to the final stage; otherwise, adjustments to the plan may be made.

5: Overcoming the Problem

As mentioned in the previous stage, the results of the action plan are carefully evaluated. If progress is evident, and the client starts to experience a sense of relief or relaxation, it indicates the achievement of the goal. This marks the successful completion of the counselling process.

Counselling Skills

Being a professional counsellor requires some core skills to handle client queries and drive the best results for them. The vital skills that a professional counsellor must have are as follows: 

  • Effective Listening: A counsellor must be a patient listener who listens to the client's queries and can handle them intricately. With hearing the issues minutely, getting ahead with the next counselling steps is possible. Therefore, the counsellor has to be someone with good listening skills who fully listens to the client and their details. 
  • A Good Communicator: A counsellor listens to his clients, analyses the problems, and develops a plan of action to achieve a target. It is indeed critical to be a very good communicator to help the person feel comfortable around him and ensure the client is confident while speaking about his problems. Developing a good relationship is very important. 
  • Analysis: A successful counsellor is not only a good listener but a good analyzer, too, who uses his skills and expertise to reach the root of the problem and analyze it. Without analysis, the entire process is in vain as no goals can be set, and the client cannot undergo any action plan. 

Types of Counselling

There are numerous types of counselling, and in this discussion, we'll explore a few of them.

Mental Health Counselling

Mental health counsellors play a crucial role in providing support to individuals experiencing emotional distress, such as fear, anxiety, depression, or frustration. Various causes may lead people to seek mental health counselling, including profound grief, intense anger issues, addiction, family conflicts, eating disorders, and more. After engaging with clients to understand their challenges, mental health counsellors aim to offer strategies for overcoming these situations and nurturing overall well-being.

Career Counselling

Distinct from traditional counselling approaches, career counselling focuses on guiding aspirants towards a successful career based on their interests and skills. The career counselling curriculum is designed to assist individuals in selecting, changing, or leaving a career and can be accessed at any stage of life. Career counselling experts assess aptitude, personality, and interests to recommend the most suitable career options.

Certified Career Analyst is a leading course for becoming a career counsellor in India.

Rehabilitation Counselling

Rehabilitation counselling is designed to help individuals with disabilities achieve their goals and lead independent lives, actively participating in the community. This systematic approach aids people with emotional, physical, cognitive, and mental disabilities in accomplishing life goals and living fulfilling lives. Rehabilitation counsellors provide support to individuals facing psychological disabilities.

Relationship Counselling

Also known as couples therapy, relationship counselling is sought when serious issues impact individuals' love lives. People opt for relationship counselling for various reasons, including the desire for a stronger relationship with their partner or spouse, problems arising from disagreements, unhealthy patterns of behaviour, or external stressors affecting their lives. Relationship therapists assist couples in overcoming challenges and building a foundation for a long-term commitment.

The list of counselling types is wider than these examples, as there are numerous others. I hope this clarifies the definitions and types of counselling for you. Until the next blog, stay tuned for more interesting topics.

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