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The word counseling (or counselling) comes from the Middle English counseil, from Old French conseil, from Latin cōnsilium; akin to cōnsulere, to take counsel, consult. Counseling can be defined as a relatively short-term, interpersonal, theory-based process of helping persons who are fundamentally psychologically healthy resolve developmental and situational issues. [1]

There are probably as many definitions of counseling as there are practitioners to describe it. The term was originally used by Frank Parsons in 1908. It was adopted by Carl Rogers in response to widespread prejudice in the U.S. against lay therapists and also because he was not then permitted by the psychiatry profession to call himself a psychotherapist. The difference between definitions of counseling and psychotherapy is less significant than the practitioners' perceptions of their raison d'être.

What a counselor commonly does

  • Listens effectively to what you are saying
  • Works with you to define your goals with respect to your values and culture
  • Facilitates your untangling of thoughts, feelings and worries about a situation
  • Helps you gain your own insight into how you act, think and feel
  • Teaches, shows and helps you express your emotions in your own way
  • Teaches, shows and helps you work out your own solutions to problems
  • Teaches, shows and helps you accept what cannot be changed
  • Teaches, shows, helps and supports you and your relationship while you do all this
  • Helps you become empowered to act in ways that are in your best interest
  • Uses a variety of different techniques to help you explore what is important to you


  1. ^ Gladding, S. T. (1996).Counseling: A Comprehensive Profession, Third Edition.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Counseling". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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