What is Counseling?

What is Counseling?

Developed April 14, 2017

By Lester Long

The American Psychological Association (APA) (2006) defines counseling as a profession that assist individuals in coping with personal problems which includes but not limited to: emotional, behavioral, vocational, marital, educational, rehabilitation, and life stage problems. Counseling, in my opinion, is the art of analysis. Because one has to be analytical to explore individual issues/challenges in order to develop optimal alternatives.  Counseling plays a significant role in changing the way one thinks and ultimately to the responses to either positive or negative stimuli. The key to changing behaviors is counseling’s ability to present alternates to individuals with a non-judgmental posture. This is relevant because inherit in the therapeutic process must be a mindset of unconditional regard.

One cannot assist an individual in the therapeutic process with a set of moralistic values that are counter-productive to the treatment process. The individual receiving the benefits of the counseling must, over time, develop trust not only in the individual counselor but in the counseling process. Too often the therapist is seen as the expert but the reality is the individual being served is the true expert when it comes to developing meaningful and lasting solutions to the challenges being present.  The APA (2006) goes on to point out that through the techniques such as active listening, guidance, and clarification assistance, one can assist in helping bring about a change in behaviors. One of the most important aspects of this process is having both a significant understanding of the individual’s issues and willingness to assist them in resolving them.


The American Psychological Association (2006) APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved April 13, 2017 from http://www.apa.org.  


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