A Joyful Place

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Counselling is for everyone

Posted by ajoyfulplace on January 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM

Why has the word counselling received such a bad reputation in most societies? The average (whatever that means) person dares not tell anyone that he is “going to counselling”. In most cultures a person who admits to wanting to visit a counsellor is dubbed several things from weak to a freak. Yet the truth is that every one of us gets counselled practically every day of our lives. We are all “in counselling” almost all the time.


The Collins Concise dictionary (1988) defines counsel as -: 1) advice or guidance on conduct, behaviour, etc. and 2) discussion or consultant.

Britannica.com defines counselling as – the process of helping an individual discover and develop his educational, vocational and psychological potentialities and thereby to achieve an optimal level of personal happiness and social usefulness.

And to me, when someone gives another complete, undivided attention as he expresses how he feels then that someone is counselling the other.


Haven’t we all at some point in our lives, especially while we were growing up been told how to behave? Even as adults there are “rules of conduct “we still need to live by in order to conform to our particular culture, places of work, etc. And we certainly are reminded when we go against the advice or guidance. So we are all counselled constantly.


All of us want to develop our educational, vocational or psychological potentialities and to achieve happiness (if not usefulness). We certainly need help to do that. None of us can do that alone. Therefore we all need counselling.


There isn’t one of us who has not at some time attempted to get another’s attention as we relate a story. We don’t just relate the incident; we really want the listener to notice how we feel about it and give us the emotional space to process those emotions as we talk. Hence we choose specific people to tell our stories to. We are being counselled as we tell our stories.


Ergo, who amongst us has never been, or does not regularly go to a counsellor? Now, therapy is a different matter. That is defined by Collins as the treatment of disorders or disease. It’s a fine line sometimes between counselling and therapy. But maybe we need to make the distinction clearer, if only to remove the stigma attached to counsellors and the counselling process.




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