What is Guidance?
Most of us are familiar with this term from our everyday experiences (like tourist guides, for example). However, it carries a much deeper meaning in its original, psychological sense.
By definition, guidance is a process in which one person, usually an expert or a superior, gives exact directions as to what another person should do in order to achieve a certain pre-defined goal.
Usually, such figures can be found in teachers, parents and other instructors in different areas of life. In a sense, guidance would be more one-sided than counselling (which we’ll get to later on) – it’s directed from the superior to the person asking for guidance, based on the superior’s knowledge of both the area of life in which the person is asking for advice as well as the person himself, his potential, talents, interests, and so on.
In the traditional educational system, which is currently the most common one, the teacher is supposed to give his students guidance in life, based on his experiences and knowledge, which he’s also supposed to transfer to the students directly.
In addition, guidance is usually directed towards “outer” goals, in most cases meaning career choices and the like.
What is Counselling?
As I’ve mentioned above, counseling is a less one-sided process than guidance. Here, the two people, counsellor and the person asking for advice, usually work together on solving an issue.
As opposed to guidance, counselling is usually directed at “inner” problems, meaning psychological problems. This means that almost every counselling session will be one-on-one and all given information kept confidential, whereas guidance sessions can be one-on-many and completely open and extroverted.
For example, a common problem that many of us have would be communication. Communication issues can be caused by various reasons, but, more often than not, they would be our own problems in understanding how other people think.
In this case, the counsellor would try to work with his/her client on detecting the source of the issue, and then solving it. In this sense, counselling would request much more cooperation from the client than guidance. For example, a guidance session wouldn’t necessarily require the client (or clients) to speak at all – the superior already has all the information he needs in order to give directions and guidance to the clients.
A counselling session would be completely different, as it couldn’t even be held if there’s no participation from the client.
Similarities between Guidance and Counselling
Up until now, I’ve covered some of the core differences between guidance and counselling.
However, there are many similarities as well.
Similarities between Guidance and Counselling in terms of “Goal”
The main similarity would be the goal – to help the client in solving a problem or making a decision. This would mean helping the client make the right career choice, in the case of guidance, or solve a psychological problem, in the case of counselling.
In short, the main similarity between guidance and counselling would be that they are designed to help the client.
Similarities between Guidance and Counselling in terms of “psychological Process”
As both guidance and counselling are psychological processes, and the main focus of psychology is human behavior, another goal of both guidance and counselling would be to improve the behavior of the client.
Similarities between Guidance and Counselling in terms of “Information Sharing”
Furthermore, both processes involve information sharing – in the previously mentioned examples, either the teacher would have a lot of information about his students, or the psychologist would get to know his client. In both cases, there is some form of information sharing.
Summary of Similarities : Put shortly, the main similarities would be:
- Both guidance and counselling will help the client improve his/her behavior
- Both involve some form of information sharing
- Both processes aim at the same goal – to help the client solve a problem or make a decision
Summary of Guidance and Counselling
Guidance and counselling are psychological processes that aim at helping the client solve a problem or make a decision. While guidance is a one-sided, one-on-many, extroverted and open process, counselling is a two-sided, one-on-one, introverted and confidential process. However, both processes carry some similar characteristics – they will both help the client improve his/her behavior, both involve some sort of information sharing, and both have the same goal of helping the client solve a problem or make a decision.
Author: Dr. Howard Fields
Dr. Howard is a Clinical Psychologist and a Professional Writer and he has been partnering with patients to create positive change in their lives for over fifteen years. Dr. Howard integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each patient.