What is counseling?
Counseling involves communication between clients and counselors intended to help people:
Find relief from emotional distress, becoming less anxious, fearful or depressed.
Seek solve to problems in their lives, such as dealing with disappointment, grief, family issues, and job or career dissatisfaction.
Modify ways of thinking and acting that are preventing them from working productively and enjoying personal relationships.
Counseling begins with some discussion of a person's background and the concerns that led him or her to seek help. Following this initial assessment, the client and counselor come to an agreement, called the treatment contract. The treatment contract specifies the goals of treatment, treatment procedures, and a regular schedule for the time, place and duration of their treatment sessions. Sometimes this treatment contract is written down explicitly, but more often it is discussed between clients and counselor.
Talking with a counselors differs from talking with a friend in three respects that increase its likelihood of being helpful:
Friends may be able and willing to listen and give advice, but qualified and duly licensed counselors are trained professionals with specialized education and experience in understanding psychological problems.
Whereas friendships are typically mutual relationships in which people take turns being helpful to each other, counseling is devoted entirely to the clients's welfare. Counseling is focused solely on the clients's needs for symptom relief, problem solutions or lifestyle changes.
In contrast to the mutuality, informality and multiple shared interests that usually characterize friendships, counseling involves a formal commitment to meet regularly at a designated time, to talk just about the clients's concerns, and to continue meeting as long as doing so serves the clients's best interests.
Many different kinds of counseling have proved effective in helping people feel better, resolve problems in living and modify their attitudes and behavior in constructive ways. Knowledgeable counselorss select and recommend a treatment approach that is known to be well-suited for addressing a clients's needs and concerns, and they tailor their procedures to fit each individual clients's personality style and life circumstances.