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“Guidance” in Brief ………………….

Parents this is to open your


eyes….
By Pramudith D Rupasinghe –Consultant Psychologist

Human child being the weakest at birth is more dependent than any other living being on this earth.
However even the animals that are relatively more independent by birth are guided by their parents. E.g.
A little kitten is guided by the mother on how to hunt, climb trees and fight but when they reach their
adulatory they are totally independent and guidance is not required. However when the human child is
concerned, he requires more guidance throughout the life. Many factors are influencing for this need of
prolonged guidance. As human child is supposed to live in the complex and dynamic society with diverse
challenges which are beyond the simple biological needs that require quick adjustments, human always
needs guidance at each level of life. Therefore unlike animals, human is guided from childhood till the
death. From the day of birth, we are guided first by the parents, then the teachers at school, colleagues,
friends etc but this guidance process is done without any technical competencies or and scientific
foundation which may finally leads mal-adaption. In addition, guidance as a discipline that is to be
systematically delivered by competent personals is not identified by most of the parents in Sri Lanka. But
providing guidance without competencies and proper understanding can cause long lasting negative
impacts on one`s personality. Therefore it is necessary to understand the importance of guidance in
personality development as well as it is vital that the guidance should be provided by a qualified and
experienced professional. It is accepted that the guidance is a need and should be delivered carefully,
which means that guidance is very much influencing on one`s life. But till 1900s “Guidance” had not
been taken into consideration as a separate discipline and not much of importance was given. In 1900s
“Guidance” opened the gateway to diverse disciplines to integrate “Guidance” in to their subject matters
as well as to use strategically the “Guidance” as a platform for other disciplines to obtain optimum results.
Therefore “Guidance” has been defined and seen through various perspectives

“Guidance” has been diversely defined by various schools. In additional those different philosophies on
“Guidance” have emphasized the role and the scope of guidance in different ways and levels. According
to the National Vocational Association of the United States “Guidance” is defined as “a process of
assisting the individual to develop and accept an integrated adequate picture of himself and his role in
reality and to convert it into reality with satisfaction to himself and benefit to the society. In addition the
definition of “Guidance” by Shertzer and Stone identifies “Guidance” as “a process of helping the
individuals to understand themselves as well as the world”. When the role of “Guidance” in human life is
considered, the guidance can be defined as “a lifelong process of facilitation delivered to the individual to
enhance better adjustment to life in the complex and dynamic society, while reaching the individual
wellbeing as well as social wellbeing. In this process the individual is facilitated to assess his capacities,
strengths and weaknesses and to set realistic goals in life that suits to the environmental reality and
individuals capacities. Hence in brief “Guidance” is “a process of facilitation for a better personal and
social life”

In reaching the final goal of “Guidance”, it is provided through different streams and at diverse levels.
Mainly the interventions are carries out in three streams “Educational” “Vocational” and “Personal-
Social” under which several sub-areas can be noticed, such as religious guidance, economic guidance,
health guidance, personal guidance, career guidance, etc. However, all these abovementioned components
of guidance are classified under the firstly mentioned three areas. Personal-social guidance is a lifelong
process with waste spectrum of objectives, mainly focusing on personality of the individual through
facilitation in proper adjustment, realistic self-concept, self perception and as well as realistic and
accurate planning in his life. Hence personal-social guidance is needed throughout the life time for an
individual for meeting the challenges and solve problems face by the individual, in a pragmatic and
accurate way. In addition to cope with the stress in day today life as well as for taking part in the social
situations actively and a fruitful manner “guidance” is needed. Otherwise there will be acute
maladjustments caused by wrong self perception, unrealistic planning and unattainable goals. In addition
the prevalence of mental disorders due to high level of distress due to frustration is one of the
consequences. Further the lack of personal and social guidance is responsible for delinquency as well as
disturbed social interactions as well. Hence it is necessary that personal-social guidance is provided
timely and appropriate manner for development of a healthy personality who is beneficial for the society
as well as for the individual himself.

The other main area of “Guidance” is education. Education plays a vital role in development of one`s
personality. Further, education can be introduced as one of the chief determinants of one`s future in
presently existing social system. Hence the formation of one`s independent life almost lies on education.
Therefore it is highly needed that the child is guided properly throughout the period of study from
kindergarten till the university level. Mostly the inappropriate choices, which do not match the capacities,
interests and the aptitudes of the students leads the way to failures of exams and dropping out. In addition,
frustration due to not being able to achieve the desired goal leads the way to delinquent acts, antisocial
behavior and mental disorders in extreme cases. Hence proper well organized guidance programs are
highly required during the period of education. In selecting the suitable courses, assessment of capacities,
level of acquisition, aptitude, needs and the interests of the students as well as finding out the gaps and the
challenges and the proper solutions for them should be major parts of a good educational guidance
program. Not only student focused interventions but also parents and the teachers should be intervened by
a comprehensive guidance program. In addition, the materials such as curriculums and the methodologies
should be taken in to consideration in educational guidance. In resumption, educational guidance is a
multidisciplinary facilitative process that aims at improvement not only in the child but also parents,
teachers, materials and systems in education in order to ensure social and individual wellbeing as the end
result. However educational guidance will not be fruitful if it is not well coordinated or linked with
vocational guidance. Because only when all three main areas of guidance are provided, the child is
considered properly guided.

Addressing the issues faced in selection the employments, as well as adjustments at work, vocational
guidance has taken an important place in modern life. Most of the causes of frustration at work, lack of
work satisfaction, poor performances, inefficacy at work, conflicts with colleagues and inability of
working in one place for a long time are results of wrong choices, inadequacy in competencies, lack of
professional training and poor adjustment which should be addressed by vocational guidance. Hence
linking with the educational guidance program the vocational guidance should be the next stage that
facilitates the individual to choose the most appropriate job as per his competencies and interests. In
addition, to enable the individual to overcome the challenges successfully at work, in changing working
environment and demand, training programs can be introduced as a part of guidance program. Further
development of problem solving skills, as well as facilitating en establishing a friendly and healthy
environment for enhancing effectiveness at work is done through vocational guidance. Though the
interventions are mostly individual centered the impact of the “Guidance” is benefited by the workplace
and colleagues as well.

Collectively “personal-social”, “educational” and “vocational” guidance address the problems faced by
the individual in each area mostly through preparedness measures, finally aiming at individual and social
wellbeing. Rather than instructing and teaching, “Guidance” is mostly based on an integrated approach
where the guide and the guidee are both equally engage in an active role. As the whole process of
“Guidance” will be based on the findings of the initial assessment, the accuracy and adequacy of
information provided by the guidee is highly determining of the result. As the initial activity the
assessment over the guidee will be done for better and profound understanding of the individual as well as
the context and to identify the problems and needs of the individual. Then based on the collected
information and identified needs and problems the pragmatic solutions will be designed and discussed
with the guidee with the idea of facilitating the guidee to identify his own strengths and weaknesses in
achieving the desired needs, solving the problems faced and overcome the potential challenges. If
required the guidee will be referred to specialize services such counseling or else training programs etc
based on the requirements. After the referral the guidee will be flowed up and the improvement will be
evaluated. And finally the end result will be shared among those who involved in the process. However
these series of activities should be well organized and each step have to be closely monitored, and if
required necessary alterations have to be done to ensure the optimum results. At the same time, the
process of “Guidance” should be based on the basic principles of “guidance” such as respecting
individual differences, cooperative and integrated approach, covering all the aspects of life, promoting
self direction and systematic and well organized process.

In Sri Lanka, still there are various barriers and limitations exist in the field of “Guidance”. Lack of
understanding on scope of “Guidance”, reliability of assessment tools used, lack of qualified professionals
in the field, and unrealistic expectations of clients over “Guidance”. However “Guidance” is a facilitation
process that is influential enough to determine the future of a person. But unfortunately still the society
has not understood the value and the benefits of “Guidance”.