Type: Exploratory
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Counseling is one of the types of a psychological assistance (along with psycho correction, psychotherapy, psychological trainings, etc.), singled out from psychotherapy. Counseling as a profession is a rather new area of a psychological practice singled out from psychotherapy. This profession arose in reply to the needs of people who do not have clinical disorders, however, looking for a psychological assistance. Therefore, counselors face, first of all, the people experiencing difficulties in an everyday life. The range of the problems is really wide: difficulties at work (dissatisfaction with work, the conflicts with colleagues and heads, and the possibility of dismissal), disorder of private life and disorder in a family, a bad progress at school, a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, painful fluctuations of decision-making, difficulties in setting and maintenance of the interpersonal relations, etc. On the other hand, counseling as a young area of psychological practice has no strictly outlined borders.

Main Body

Brief history and development of this aspect of the counseling field in general.

This professional activity arose in reply to the needs of people who looked for a psychological assistance without having clinical disorders. For this reason, the experts in the psychological consultation help, first of all, the people experiencing difficulties in an everyday life, activity, communications, etc.

Counseling is substantially filled with various theories – psychological, psychotherapeutic, philosophical, social, psychological, and actually with counseling. The emergence of the theory of counseling is under the influence of social, historical and cultural factors (the distinction in cultures in which theories are created). The founders of the theories quite often create the theories, solving own problems, thus expressing or reflecting own identity, having a strong interest in record and transfer of ideas.

Assessment and diagnosis are integrally related to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy, and both are often viewed as essential for planning treatment. Regardless of their theoretical orientation, therapists need to engage in assessment, which is generally an ongoing part of the therapeutic process. Assessment should not precede and dictate intervention; rather, it is woven in and out of the therapeutic process as a pivotal component of therapy itself. This assessment may be subject to revision as the clinician gathers further data during therapy sessions. Some practitioners consider assessment as a part of the process that leads to a formal diagnosis”.

Introduction of your topic and its importance to the field of counseling.

There is a set of the definitions of counseling. It is possible to distinguish two main approaches to counseling. In the first case, a broad functional view on counseling is used. Counseling is any form of a psychological process concerning content, process or structure of a task or a series of tasks at which a counselor is not responsible for the fulfillment of the final aim of obtaining a harmony, but he helps those who are responsible for it.

The second approach considers counseling to be a special professional service and distinguishes a set of characteristics which it should possess. Counseling is a psychological assistance rendered for the people who urgently require it. Counselors are the specialists who help the clients to reveal their inner problems, analyze them and give recommendations for the recovery of those problems and promotion of their solution. The above-mentioned two approaches can be considered to be complementary.

There is a five-step model of counseling:

1. A contact with a client.

2. Analysis of the client’s problems.

3. Identification of a definite inquiry.

4. Result formulation.

5. Psycho correctional work – how to achieve the planned result in practice.

The purposes of the psychological consultation depend on a definite psychological school. Some of them are mentioned below:

–  Behavioral direction in counseling sets the change of a human behavior as a goal;

–  Existential direction in which the purpose of counseling “consists in clearing, shading and understanding of life”. The assistance for a client is directed at the change of life with the help of the insights. This process means the judgment of the purposes and intentions of a person, and also the general attitude to life.

In general, the purpose of counseling is to help a client to solve his or her problems, to realize and change the ineffective models of behavior, to make important decisions, to solve the arising problems, to reach the goals, and to live in the harmony with oneself and the world around.

Counseling (with a number of exceptions) pays a great attention to the achievement of a condition of a psychological comfort and preservation of a psychological health (both of a client, and a counselor); a great value is also given to the increase of an individual responsibility of the clients for a course of their own life, and, finally, the possibilities to live without the aid of a counselor.

The purpose of the psychological consultation, owing to the mutual activity in the course of consultation as a counselor and a client in different theoretical traditions, is a uniform joint creativity of both subjects at the same time; its understanding (for example, the depth of understanding), and the ways of the attitude to this purpose which can differ because they occupy the various positions in counseling.

One of the most general definitions of a main objective of a psychological consultation is the rendering of a psychological assistance. At the same time, a further specification of this purpose is a rather difficult activity. For example, the question: “What does it mean to help a person?” is not very simple. The answer to it does not depend on the theoretical position which is occupied by a counselor, to be exact on its valuable basis. On the other hand, various communities, as well as their members, have various basic valuable orientations, and the purposes of a psychological consultation should be defined according to these valuable orientations.

The purpose of a psychological consultation, practically regardless of an approach which is used by a counselor, consists of listening and understanding of a client; these two facts lead to the positive changes. In other words, the provision of a client with the possibility to express own thoughts and worries and to talk frankly are the anticipated results of counseling.

  1. Major themes relevant to your topic.

Traditionally, there are such types of counseling:

  • Individual psychological consultation.
  • Family psychological consultation.
  • Group psychological consultation.
  • Professional (career) psychological consultation.
  • Multicultural psychological consultation.

The division of the counseling into the above-mentioned spheres is made according to the direction at the spheres of live of a personality.

There are a number of the criteria, testifying that the purposes of counseling are reached. The main of them are:

1. Satisfaction of a client. In particular, satisfaction should not necessarily be understood only in such a manner that a client feels better than before the counseling. The satisfaction of a client is one of the criteria indicating that the help was rendered effectively; however, a lot of things are defined by the character of a client’s problem. For example, if a client endures a grief or a loss, a counselor tries to facilitate his grief. In other situation, the simplification of an emotional condition cannot be the main objective of a counselor, moreover, a client can start to endure the problems more sharply and more painfully as in certain cases the feeling of own responsibility, coming together with the understanding of a situation, cannot be easy or pleasant experience.

2. Acceptance of responsibility for the events by a client.

3. A discussion of the important elements of counselor identity, function, and ethics related to your topic.

Counselor is a physical or legal body, an expert in the sphere of psychological assistance, who possesses knowledge, analytical and diagnostic skills, capable to apply them for the problem-solution of a client.

Counseling is both activity and profession. Its goal is to help people in solving their personal psychological problems. Counseling is widely applied in the developing countries where the assistance to the psychological problems of people became habitual. The involvement of a professional counselor became one of the important aspects of a human life.

Counseling is an activity that includes any piece of advice, forecast, or recommendation in the sphere of the client’s interests. It is reflected in the changes of the client’s behavior, conducted by the joint actions of the object and the subject of counseling – a client and a counselor. 

Counseling differs from psychotherapy though there are no definite boundaries between the two terms. In particular, the majority of counselors do not consider the use of the relations of the help (psychological consultation) rather effective for a client to have constructive changes, and believe that it is necessary to use the whole repertoire of the impacts (psychotherapy), in addition to the help relations.

Counseling is, as a rule, a short-term process (seldom exceeds 5-6 meetings with a counselor), while the process of psychotherapy can last much longer (up to hundreds of meetings during several years). 

A qualified counselor builds up his activity on the principles representing a set of characteristics, key rules and methods of counseling activity. There are the following principles of a counseling activity:

  • Competence
  • Reputation
  • Ethical norms
  • A client’s interests
  • Wide personal interests
  • A change of system
  • Personnel involvement
  • Psychological character
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Specificity and objectivism
  • Effectiveness
  • Mutual relations

In relation to a client counselors are subdivided into external and internal. The internal consultants consult using own knowledge and communications. The external consultants have the experience of solving similar problems of other clients; they know various methods of diagnostics, problems-solving and introduction of the recommendations; they have observed the professional etiquette (confidentiality of the received data, etc.).

According to the American Counseling Association, counselor training should contribute to  knowledge of different cultural groups, skills in counseling people from diverse cultures, and awareness of one’s own stereotypes and biases related to diverse populations..

In order to use consulting services, consultants should correspond to the general professional criteria from the position of the knowledge and skills, ethical norms and personal qualities.

There are some ethical principles in the activities of every counselor. The existence of various ethics codes of the activity of a professional counselor in various countries and psychological communities is connected with the fact that there are no definite and simple answers to the ethical and moral problems arising in a psychological practice.

These principles are necessary for making a psychological assistance not only an effective and intelligent occupation, but also socially accepted. In some countries, for example in the USA, non-compliance with the professional principles and requirements can lead to the deprivation of a counselor’s diploma and license, the rights to practice and the offer of the professional services.

  1. Biblical values and insights related to your topic.

There are several ethical principles for counselors:

1. The benevolent attitude to a client – “the whole complex of a professional behavior directed at the feeling of comfort and calmness of a client’. It is necessary for a counselor to be able to listen carefully to a client, trying to understand him and to give him psychological support and assistance.

2. The orientation of a counselor to the norms and values of a client – a counselor is guided by the norms and values of a client, instead of the socially accepted norms and rules; it helps a client to be sincere and open. The relations of the acceptance of the values of a client and respect to him are not only the possibility to express a support to a client, but also allows seeing these values if they begin to be considered in the course of counseling as an obstacle for a normal activity of a person.

3. A ban to give advice – a counselor, even despite his professional and life experience and knowledge, cannot give the guaranteed advice to a client, because a life of a client and a context of its course are unique and unpredictable; a client is the main expert in his life while a counselor usually acts as an expert in the other areas, in particular, in the ways of forming of the relations with a client, and also in the theory of a psychological assistance. Moreover, to give advices means to accept the responsibility for the life of a client in case he uses it; it does not promote the development of his personality. In addition, when giving advice, a counselor can change a professional position, and accepting a council, a client also can change the position towards a bigger passivity and a superficial attitude to the events. Quite often, any failures in council’s realization by a client can be attributed to a counselor.

4. Anonymity – any information reported by a client to a counselor cannot be transferred without his consent to any organizations and to other people, including relatives or friends. At the same time, there are the exceptions, specially noted in the legislation of the country, according to which the counselor’s activity is conducted.

5.  Differentiation of the personal and professional relations – this principle is the requirement to a counselor, connected with a number of the psychological phenomena, influencing the process of a psychological assistance. For example, it is known that the professional relations can have a strong influence on personal relations; in particular, personal needs and desires of a counselor influence both the process of a psychological assistance, and a client; consequently, they can interfere with the effective implementation of a psychological assistance (American Psychological Association, 1990, pp. 393-395).

6. Personal reflections

I am sure that counseling plays a very important role in the life of every person. This type of a psychological assistance has a lot of advantages, the main of which is the determination of a harmony in a person’s soul and heart.

Having understood the advantages of counseling, the clients show off the increasing demand for them. There is a need for the professional counselors all over the world. Counseling, being the method of introduction of psychological knowledge in practice, fulfills the functions of balancing the person’s internal worlds.


In conclusion, I would like to point that counseling is a new practice of the psychological assistance to people. Counseling services are rendered in the form of single counsels (oral or written). They represent a special type of the councils on the basis of which there is the information granting in various forms (written and oral). Moreover, the information used for rendering of these services can concern any field of psychological assistance.

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