How Does Counselling Differ from Other Helping Skills

Topics: Licensed Professional Counselor, Skill, The Help, Professional, Active listening / Pages: 6 (1344 words) / Published: Apr 7th, 2010



Lorna Wilson


How does Counselling Differ from other Helping Skills?

In everyday life people experience difficulties and problems that they feel they are not able to deal with on their own and need help with. The help that people receive to overcome their problems can be in many different forms. People may receive help in an informal way, such as having a chat to a close friend or relative, who can offer support and advice or they may seek help in a more formal capacity from various helping professionals, such as counsellors, social workers, psychiatrists, doctors, etc. For all of these professionals it is their formal role to help people manage distressing problems of life, but the help that is given can be very different depending on the profession of the helper & their specific skills. This assignment aims to consider how counselling differs from other forms of helping.

Not every person who uses counselling skills is designated a counsellor. We can distinguish two groups of people who use counselling skills. People who are called counsellors, who engage in counselling as a distinct profession and others who use counselling skills as part of their role.

We may go to a doctor to discuss a problem we are facing and a helping relationship is formed, but what the doctor offers is not counselling. They may well use their counselling skills, by listening to the patient to gain an understanding of their distress, but they also use other skills such as giving advice and providing factual information.

The British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy define counselling as

‘taking place when a counsellor sees a client in a private and confidential setting to explore a difficulty the client is having, distress they may be experiencing or perhaps their dissatisfaction with life, or loss of a sense of direction or purpose. It is always

References: British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (2005) What is Counselling?, London: BACP. Egan,G. (1998) The Skilled Helper, Brooks/Cole Publishing Company Freud, S. (1920) A General introduction to Psychoanalysis. New York: Horace Liveright. Hough, M (2006) Counselling Skills & Theory, London: Hodder Arnold Swain, J (1995) The Use of Counselling Skills: A Guide for Therapists, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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