What Is Counselling? Essay

1168 Words 5 Pages
Answer the question ‘What is counselling?’ by outlining what you understand to be the key elements that constitute the practice of counselling.

This discussion will begin by considering two definitions of counselling, moving on to identify key elements of practice and what makes counselling different from other professions where counselling skills may be used. Finally the discussion will consider the role of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) which regulates the profession.

In order to answer this question, it is necessary to consider definitions of counselling from both professional and client perspectives. This definition is the professional perspective from the BACP:

‘Counselling takes place when
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The definition also states that counselling is non-directive meaning no advice will be given, which is in contrast to other roles where counselling skills may be used and these professional differences are the next point to be discussed.

The counsellor’s role is to listen to the client and through this to enable the client to find their own answers to their problems. This is a unique role, there is no other professional relationship in which this happens and it is the only role the counsellor has. This is in marked contrast to other roles where the professional’s own role is the primary role and listening to patients the secondary role. For example a nurse delivering nursing care to a patient is carrying out his/her primary role and may talk with the client and use some counselling skills in doing so. However, using counselling skills during conversation in this way is not the same as counselling. The conversation may involve listening to the patient but the nurse is unlikely to be listening in the way a counsellor does as that is not his/her primary role. The nursing role also includes advising on health matters and this is again in contrast to counselling which is non-directive.

The role of the counsellor and the counselling profession as a whole is overseen by the British Association for Counselling and

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