Difference Between Counseling and Guidance

Counseling vs Guidance 

Many people are familiar with the terms counseling and guidance even though they cannot discern the difference between them and often interchange these two words. Counseling and guidance both cater towards the development of the individual. It allows the individual to rid himself from his burdens and to strive towards self empowerment. People are often ashamed to see a counselor for guidance or attend group counseling to help them understand their problems and discuss possible solutions due to negative societal connotations. However, both guidance and counseling are carried out with the intention of assisting the individual to solve the problem in his or her life. The significant difference between the two stem from the manner in which the problems are dissected and tackled.

What is Counseling?

When examining the term counseling, it involves a number of sessions that includes talking, listening, discussing the problem at hand and sharing relevant information that could help the person understand the problem and make his or her own decision or course of action. The process of counseling usually ends with the client having with him an insight of the problem and a more empowered self that could help the person make future decisions. This way the client can be more intuitive in the future and can learn to dissect and understand future problems. This highlights that in counseling the client is given the upper hand where he will attempt to find solutions to problems by himself. The counselor only assists in this process.

The difference between counseling and guidance

A counseling session

What is Guidance?

Guidance, on the other hand, involves listening carefully to the problems of the burdened individuals and discussing possible ready-made solutions that could help solve or at least alleviate the problem discussed at hand. In this way, the person who is in dilemma can choose whether or not to accept the given solution or ignore it. Most often than not, the solutions are given out sincerely and are implemented by the client. Some people state that guidance is only a part of counseling wherein the act of listening to the problem and discussing solutions can be done repeatedly until the problem is well understood by the client and possible ways or solutions can be extracted from the repetition.

What is the difference between Counseling and Guidance?

· Counseling is a more inward analysis, whereas guidance is much more external

· Counseling is in-depth, narrowing down the problem until the client understands his/her own problem, but guidance is broader and comprehensive.

· Counseling is mostly on personal and social issues, whereas guidance is generally education and career related

· Focus on counseling is not on the solution but on understanding the problem as it allows the counselor to bring about emotional change or change in feeling

· But in guidance the focus is on finding a solution, which may bring a change in attitude of the client.

Both counseling and guidance can help individuals. However, the contribution of both the counselor and client is vital towards the success of the process. Most problems can be solved with the right amount of dedication, contemplation and understanding.


Images Courtesy

1. Counseling by Kendl123 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons