Sub-topic: Meaning of terms

  • Guidance

Means advising, directing, helping or steering an individual in the right direction. It is the presentation of information/knowledge to a client or groups of clients in an organized way.

  • Counseling

It is the process a process of helping somebody get over a problem. It is a process of empowerment that gives people greater control over their lives. It is a way of relating and responding to another person so that the person is helped to explore his or her thoughts, feelings and behaviour to reach a clearer self-understanding. It also helps a person to find and use their strengths so that they cope more efficiently with life by making appropriate choices.

Sub-topic: Distinction between guidance and counseling

  1. Guidance is more public involving many people while counselling is confidential and private.
  2. Guidance is preventative while counselling is curative.
  3. Guidance is more general and does not require much skill while counselling requires specific skills and techniques.
  4. Guidance focuses on future issues and problems while counselling focuses on immediate problems.
  5. Guidance is more structured and closed ended while counselling is less structured and more open ended.
  6. Guidance is initiated by a guidance specialist while counselling is initiated by a counselee/client.
  7.  Guidance is more cognitive dealing with transmission of information while counselling is more effective dealing with feelings, emotions and attitudes.

Sub-topic: Types of guidance and counseling

  1. Individual counselling
  2. Group counselling

Individual Counselling

It Is when the counsellor and the counselee meet on a one to one basis. It is used when the needs come from the client. Some of the issues that are dealt with in individual counselling are personal and sometime difficult to deal with e.g. grief, anxiety, disorder, depression, phobia etc.

Benefits of Individual Counselling

  1. It provides the client with a situation of complete confidentiality.
  2. There is an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.
  3. It is helpful to clients who have problems that emanate from themselves.
  4. It caters for individuals learning differences especially for clients whose learning capacity has to be based on the state of the mind.
  5. It is beneficial to clients who may find it difficult to share information when other people are present either because they are shy or feel that they are the only ones experiencing the problems.

Group Counselling

Counselling can be defined as a special relationship in which a client feels safe to discuss what really worries and upsets them to define new behaviours, to practice essential interpersonal skills and to implement new behaviour with the help of the counsellor. It can be used in cases like sexual abuse, abortion, family conflict and marital problems.

Benefits/Advantages of Group Counselling

  1. Members are able to trust oneself and others.
  2. Members are able to achieve self-knowledge and be able to develop their unique characteristics.
  3. Saves time and money since the counsellor has contact with more client at the same time.
  4. Members are able to recognize the commonalities of their problems and needs and be able to develop a sense of universality.
  5. Clients support other members of the group.
  6. It makes one learn how to confront others with care, concern, honesty and directness.

Sub-topic: Situations that require guidance and counseling

  1. Child abuse
  2. Divorce
  3. Poor performance in class
  4. Drug abuse
  5. Sexual abuse
  6. Career choice

Sub-topic: Qualities of a good counselor

1. Knowledgeable

An effective counsellor has to be knowledgeable in human growth and development. This enables the client to be helped in case issues have originated from the development stages like pre-school, pre-teens, adolescence, young adulthood, midlife or the aged.

2. Empathetic

The counsellor should have the ability to feel with the client without belittling their feelings.

3. Good role model

A counsellor should practice what he or she confesses.

4. A good listener

This will enable the counsellor to hear exactly what is being said verbally as well as observe the messages being communicated through non-verbal cues such as gestures and other body languages.

Non-judgemental/ Unconditional positive regard

Means a counsellor accepting clients unconditionally and seeing them as human beings and respect the fact that clients also make their own decisions.


Should be able to respect a client’s values and beliefs but not necessarily endorsing or accepting the practices if they are contrary to the views of the counsellor. A client’s solutions to his/her issues should be respected by the counsellor as long as they are not causing any danger to the client’s life or others.

Use a variety of counselling techniques

This will depend on the situation and the nature of the specific problem and the client. The counsellor should therefore identify what methods works for a specific individual with a specific problem.

Have a sense of humour

This will help in diffusing tension, anxiety and uncertainties and will also assist in putting the client at ease.


Should allow clients to express their feelings in whichever way they like e.g. cry, maintain silence, shout, yell or use angry words.

Ability to stay calm and composed

They should stay calm even if the situation sounds unbelievable. They should desist from either expressing shock verbally or non-verbally.

Sub-topic: Basic skills and procedures in guidance and counseling

Basic Skills in Guidance and counselling


It is the process of hearing the other person. During listening it is important to show that the counselor is listening through the ‘minimal prompts’ such as head nods, yes mm, etc. They indicate that ‘I am with you’. Overuse of these should be avoided.

Behavioral aspects of listening – (SOLER)

S – Sit squarely

O – Openness

L – Leaning

E – Eye contact

R – Relax.

Aspects of listening:

  1. Linguistic aspect – words, phrases, figures of speech
  2. Paralinguistic aspect – timing, volume, tone pitch, ‘ums” and‘errs’, fluency
  3.  Non-verbal aspects: Facial expression, gestures, touch, body position, and proximity to the counselor, body movement and eye contact.

Attending and showing receptiveness:

It is the act of truly focusing on the other person. It involves consciously making ourselves aware of what the other person is saying and the what they are trying to communicate to us.

Observing Body Messages:

Non-verbal aspects of communication refer to body language. The way the client expresses through the use of their body. They offer clues about the client’s internal status beyond the words. Morris calls it ‘Man Watching. Body language depends on context in which in occurs, the nature of the relationship, individual’s personal style, personality of the person. Therefore, avoid assuming what person is saying with their body languages.


Being non-judgemental and accepting are important attributes in any helping profession. A counselor should be able to relate to clients with an open, non-judgemental attitude, that is, accept the client for who she is and in her current situation. Counselors need to be able to convey acceptance to their clients with warmth and understanding.


It is the exchange of ideas and opinions between two or more people through speech, writing or sings. The communication includes physical setting as well as psychological predispositions of

the receiver.

Communication = thoughts and feelings

Factors Involved in the communication:

  • Purpose: Specific
  • Distribution
  • Environment
  • Timing
  • Feedback
  • Follow-up

Causes of Communication Breakdown:

  1. Lack of consideration of the other person’s feeling and personality
  2. Use of technical language
  3. Not thinking about other, how they get affected (networking missing)
  4. lose human factor (envy, jealousy)


Counselors help people through some of the most difficult and stressful times of their lives. They must be able to display empathy, that is, the ability to feel what another person is feeling. Empathy means that you are truly able to imagine what it is like to stand in someone else’s shoes. Compassion and empathy help your clients feel understood and herd.

Problem-solving skills

Counselors must have excellent problem-solving skills to be able to help their clients identify and make changes to negative thought patterns and other harmful behaviours that might be contributing to their issues.


The counselor must create an environment for their client as such that their client feels that they have the capacity to trust their counselor. A therapist must be: congruent, warm, empathetic, and speak with positive regard to their client.

Open-Ended Questions:

Open-ended questions encourage people in a counseling session to give more details on their discussion. Therefore, these types of questions are used as a technique by counselors to help their clients answer how, why, and what.


This technique will show clients that the counselor is listening to their information and processing what they have been telling them. Paraphrasing is also good to reiterate or clarify any misinformation that might have occurred.

Sub-topic: The role of a social worker in guidance and counseling

  1. Identifying clients with needs.
  2. Collecting data concerning the clients.
  3. Helping clients solve their problems.
  4. Referring clients to relevant services when they cannot handle the cases.
  5. Follow up services to ensure that clients are adjusting well.
  6. Linking clients with necessary resources.
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