GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING
QUESTION: Compare Guidance and Counselling as a discipline with other disciplines
ABSTRACT Guidance and Counselling has been practiced right from time immemorial in an informal manner, today it is well established. It is a discipline that transverse all human endeavour, that is, it is an integral part of every other discipline with special attention to persons’ day to day activities in those disciplines. Guidance and Counselling works hand in hand with other disciplines to enhance learning and equipping individuals for better life challenges management. However broad as it is, there are existing differences with other disciplines. The comparative analysis between Guidance and Counselling and other disciplines is hereby presented.
Guidance is the processes of helping a client understand himself and his environment (Sertzer and Stone, 1976). While Counselling on the other hand is a person-to-person relationship in which one person helps to resolve an area of conflict that has not been hitherto resolved (Thompson and Poppen, 1972). In a nutshell Guidance and Counselling helps the client to attain a level of self actualization through a professional counsellor specially trained to render such services without age or gender discrimination both at counsellor and counsellee end. Guidance counsellors must have a license. The Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) sets forth the criteria by which all counsellors must adhere. CASSON requires guidance counsellors to have at least a masters degree or higher. Further, guidance counsellors can receive certification, which enhances field expertise and often accompanies a financial incentive (Barr. Agbutun). Guidance and Counselling is very important in the life of men because every person needs guidance at some point in life to ensure that good decisions are arrived at. Since no human is above mistake, it there follows that every human needs counselling also at some points in their lives. Man by nature is a complex being that is often encompassed with myriads of problems, issues and serious pressing matters bombarding his existence on a daily basis. Guidance and Counselling therefore provides a platform where these enormous problems can be solved and lasting solutions provided for, in order to ensure a smooth relationship among different people in the society. In Education, Educational Guidance is process of helping students to achieve the selfunderstanding and self-direction necessary to make informed choices and move toward personal goals. Guidance focuses on the complete development of individual students through a series of services designed to maximize school learning, stimulate career development, and respond to the personal and social concerns that inhibit individual growth. Although guidance activities are usually associated with educational professionals known as counsellors, educational guidance is actually a cooperative enterprise involving the participation of teachers, administrators, other educational specialists, and parents. In colleges and universities, administrative offices such as student affairs, admissions, financial aid, housing, student health, and placement provide guidance services. College counselling centres assist students with academic, vocational, or personal problems (James Alan Fruehling) Guidance counselling as a profession has been in the United States since the early 1900s. Although the field experienced a brief decline during the Depression, it has become a staple of American education since the 1940s. Guidance counsellors not only assist students, they also provide assessments of students with behavioral problems and coordinate with teachers to address these problems (Marriage and Family Counselling Basics). According to Barrister Agbutun, “in Nigeria, the commencement of modern guidance and counseling was in 1958 and by 1967, career council was formed.”
Other counselling services include career-development programs to foster awareness of career alternatives, programs in human relations skills, and training in actual job skills, as well as the acquisition and dissemination of related information. Counsellors work with teachers, administrators, and families in coordinated efforts to help resolve specific student problems. If necessary, they can refer students to trained therapists for additional assistance. In order to ensure this cumbersome task, Guidance and Counselling programmes are developed through cooperative and affective enterprise with respect to other disciplines (Okoye etal, 1990). This largely explains why some of the methodologies and techniques used in Guidance and Counselling is derived from those used in other disciplines. Some of these disciplines includes; psychology, sociology, religion, philosophy, politics and medical science e.t.c. The relationship between Guidance and Counselling and other disciplines shall be examine under three broad categories of disciplines which are in line with the basic groupings of academic discipline. The liberal art The social sciences The sciences/natural/physical science The above broad grouping is necessary so as to avoid repetition due to similarities with disciplines under the same category. From the forgoing, it can be deduced that the role of Guidance and Counselling works hand in hand with other disciplines. There is a strong interdisciplinary relationship shared by Guidance and Counselling with other disciplines. COMPARING GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING WITH OTHER DISCIPLINES The Liberal Art Disciplines such as literature, religion and philosophy, music and fine art are often grouped together with other disciplines. The relationship between Guidance and Counselling with the liberal arts disciplines is that, it provides a platform where counselling services is provided base on the cultural environment or setting of a particular people. These needs are often guided by the goals and objectives of the people’s cultural inclinations in order to achieve the goals of acceptable values and desirable behaviour. Okoye, Adejumo, and Achebe(1990) Shed more light on this:
“The appreciation of the literature as a discipline has its value in Guidance and Counselling services. Part of the functions of Guidance and Counselling is the provision of guidance services for lesson and recreation interest. The relationship between literature and Guidance and Counselling is manifest in the use of literature in either local language as a source of encouraging the verbal interest in the individual who has aptitude for reading but finds that he has problems in fulfilling this aspect of his capabilities. A resourceful guidance programme provides educational services through literature”. This is illustrated by songs, folktales, drama that is involved in both liberal art and Guidance and Counselling in rendering services to inculcate moral values to individuals in the society especially in a typical African traditional setting. This therefore becomes the guidelines for solving conflicts among individuals and communities in the society. The Social Sciences The disciplines under this category are psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, geography, political science, religion and philosophy are ideal examples of social sciences, both have a great relationship with Guidance and Counselling because religion tends to instill moral values in members of the society to foster peace and harmony. This explains why clergy men and philosophers often advice, settle marital problems among married partners and guide the youths to imbibe good moral virtues in their various developmental stages in life. When the clergy men and other religious organizations are doing these, they are actually performing the work of a guidance and counsellor. In fact, basic principles in the social sciences have been adapted and used to effect the programmes in guidance and counselling. These disciplines have some influence in most theories and practice of guidance and counselling. Psychology and sociology deals with the study of human behaviour, and for a counsellor to understand an individual, the application of these disciplines will be an added advantage for the counsellor. Theories of psychology such as psychoanalysis, cognitive theory and behaviourist orientation theories will aid the counsellor to understand the client’s problems. While on the other hand, a counsellor who have a good sociological background will disect an individual problem properly. Affirming this position, Okoye, Adejumo and Achebe (1990), state thus; “A counsellor who should have good knowledge of the cultural characteristics of the individuals in his environment would benefit from the sociology discipline through the information provided on the members of the ethnic group.”
Moreover, Educational Psychology is the application of scientific method to the study of the behaviour of people in instructional settings. Although the behaviour of teachers and students is of greatest interest, educational psychologists also study the behaviour of other groups, such as teacher aides, infants, migrants, and the aged. The areas covered by educational psychologists inevitably overlap with other areas of psychology, including child and adolescent development, social psychology, psychological testing, and educational counselling. (David C. Berliner). The Sciences/Natural/Physical Science In regard to the disciplines categorized under the sciences, Guidance and Counselling still shares a vital relationship with the disciplines. Disciplines under this includes; biology, statistics, mathematics and others. These disciplines’ contributions to Guidance and Counselling are basically on the nature of scientific enquiry which results in objective information and data about a phenomenum. These approaches have been used in guidance and counselling. For instance, statistics have been an important tool in the analysis of data in science and other related disciplines. Its methodology has been largely adopted by counsellors to solve real life issues. Statistics is essential part in training counsellors so that they can cope with voluminous data collected and perform simple analysis. Thus the counsellor need be aware of basic terms like mean, median, standard deviation, correlation tests and percentile e.t.c. The relationship existing between statistics and Guidance and Counselling has given the discipline the credibility it deserves in analyzing and interpreting information about individuals and likewise other natural science disciplines. CONTRAST BETWEEN GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING AND OTHER DISCIPLINES The point of departure between the role of Guidance and Counselling with the three major disciplines already mentioned is quiet evident. One of the differences between Guidance and Counselling and the sciences is that while sciences study behavior and material properties of matter, example, chemicals reactions in Chemistry and physical behaviour of matter in physics in their respective laboratories, Guidance and Counselling study human behaviour and social interaction among members of the society. Whereas, the chemicals and experimentation in the laboratory is expected to be manipulated in order to produce a constant result, human behaviour cannot be manipulated and is not constant at all times. Sciences also follow rigid procedure of research and experimentation which cannot be applied to human study in guidance and counselling.
Traditionally, counselling psychology was focussed on the "normal” difficulties of life. So, counselling psychologists would deal with issues such as marital problems, grief issues, problems with interpersonal relationships, etc. They would more likely work at counselling centres, guidance clinics or private offices. Clinical psychology was more focussed on "mental illness." The focus would be on psychiatric types of disorders such as depression, anxiety and personality problems. They would be more likely to work in hospitals, mental health clinics, etc. Nowadays, though, there is considerable overlap between the two and the differences are less important. Although the vocational guidance and vocational education movements developed separately during the early 1900s, they later became closely associated. Today career counselling is recognized as being important for all persons. The basic principle of career counselling and guidance is that a person is better equipped to make occupational plans after determining his or her own characteristics, examining the requirements of various occupations, and matching the two sets of facts with the aid of a skilled counsellor. A major aspect of career counselling and guidance is knowledge of the world of work. Ignorance of the many ways in which people earn a living has been a great deterrent to freedom of occupational choice. To help solve this problem, some schools provide opportunity for students to gain actual work experience as part of their educational preparation. The value of work experience in education has long been recognized and is now emphasized in the counselling of youth (William W. Brickman). This follows that irrespective of the difference between other disciplines and guidance and counselling, they have to rely on it to effectively achieve their respective goals. Even though the field of Guidance and Counselling largely depends on the contributions of other fields, the profession is regarded as unique vocation with second to none. Other disciplines are involved in counselling people, but they are often regarded not as professional counsellors. This is because a minimum qualification of a Masters degree in Guidance and Counselling is a prerequisite for attainment. Subsequently an individual need to be registered with the national association of Nigerian counsellors to be regarded as a full fletch counsellors. While other disciplines perform the roles of counsellors, Guidance and Counselling profession is rather a broad that umbrella other disciplines which only streamlined their counselling activities. But on the other hand, Guidance and Counselling entails all aspects of disciplines which makes it wider in scope than any other field of Endeavour. Misconceptions Contrary to popular belief, academic guidance counsellors are not "failed educators." Becoming a guidance counsellor requires additional training beyond that of a teacher, and focuses more the social and developmental aspect of education rather than facts and figures. Furthermore, guidance counsellors are not therapists and therefore cannot provide in-depth counselling. They can, however, talk to students about social issues that concern them, such as depression, grades, bullying, eating disorders and sexuality.
Conclusion It can be asserted that Guidance and Counselling is an interdisciplinary profession which depends to a great extent on the supporting services of other disciplines to execute its diverse areas of activities. Although differences abound, in some cases between these disciplines, but they most interesting thing is that the inter-relationship between them foster the achievement of the goal of Guidance and Counselling as a noble profession in the society.
REFERENCES David, C. Berliner. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Howe, Ruth-Arlene. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. James Alan Fruehling. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Okoye, N.N, Adejumo, D. And Achebe, C. (1990) Fundamentals of Guidance and Counselling. Ibadan. Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria) PLC. P. 17-31 Shertzer and Stone (1976). “Nature and Concepts of Guidance and Counselling”. Thompson and Poppen (1972). “Nature and Concepts of Guidance and Counselling” William,W. Brickman. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Agbutun, A : National Teachers’ Institute. Lecture notes (unpublished). http//www.ehow.com/topic_6078_marriage-family-counselling-basics.html