What is professional counselling?

10/08/2012 14:07

Professional counseling is an interpersonal communication when a professional - a consultant or an advisor - operates directly on the client's specific problem. Furthermore, this work is done together with a client. The consultant listens carefully to the client, asks him/her questions, and after a joint discussion of all possible solutions to the problem, the client selects the best decision for him or herself. Therein lays the fundamental difference between working with a psychologist or a psychiatrist. These specialists treat mental illness, i.e., the clinical manifestations of psychological problems that make normal, everyday functioning difficult or even impossible. For example, a person may not work properly because of obsessive thoughts, fears, depression, anxiety and other pathological conditions. In such cases the intervention of a psychologist or a psychiatrist is necessary because unresolved issues may lead to more serious consequences - isolation, alcoholism, depression and even to murder or suicide.

In fact, there are many similarities in the work of a counselor, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist. They are all working with the psychological problems of their clients while a counselor is working with people who have psychological difficulties without serious mental issues. In principle, any normally functioning person has been in a situation where he or she just has to share his/her thoughts with a neutral person, when he or she has no one to discuss the problems with and make the right decision in a problematic situation. In most cases, being in difficult situations, a person is acting on intuition, trying to survive in anticipation of the problem solution by naturally occurring events, waiting for a miracle, looking for a solution in discussions with friends or close relatives, looking for the solution in books, newspapers, magazines, or from fortune-tellers, etc.

In such situations, a conversation with a professional counselor can be very helpful. As a professional, a counselor will listen to the client's problems neutrally without judging or evaluating the actions and thoughts of the client. Furthermore, the consultant and the client will discuss all possible options, how to get out of the situation, and the client will choose the right solution for him or her. It should be noted that all consultations are strictly confidential, and therefore the consultant has no right to tell anyone about the problems of the client. This, in turn, means that the client can confer their thoughts and secrets to the counselor, even in cases where it is impossible to do so with their loved ones. Sometimes just one consultation with a professional can radically change the life of the client. Although in most cases it takes several sessions of counseling in order to understand the client's personality, his or her desires, and opportunities to resolve a specific conflict.

A professional counselor is a professional who has received special education in this field and at least one year of training in a special psychotherapeutic College or University with following a two-year professional supervision. Therefore, a counselor, as a specially trained expert, can distinguish between serious mental conditions from simple personal problems, and accordingly, may refer to help from a psychologist or even a psychiatrist who may prescribe medications.

Thus, being in a quandary, the best way to solve it is to seek help from a specialist who can help you find a way out of your situation.

If you are plagued by problems, if there is nobody to discuss them with, and if you cannot find a way to get out of trouble, do not wait - come to a professional counselor, together with whom you will find the best way to solving your particular problem.


Alex Kazmin, Registered Professional Counsellor.