Whilst chatting to my Supervisor last week, we were talking through how Counselling can mean different things to different people and he asked me “so what does Counselling mean to you?” Before I tell you my reply, I put it into good old Google.
Google tells us that Counselling is the provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems. Whilst I agree with Google, I see this only as part of the responsibility of Counselling. For me, it just doesn’t go far enough in explicitly talking about the ‘change’ as a result of the counselling…..what will the impact of resolving the problem be? How might this show itself in personality, behaviour, relationships? Does the change allow for dreams to become realities, or perhaps provide a permission to be or think differently about self and others……could the ramifications of this be a strengthening of ties and bonds, cause shock-waves in relationships with others or result in significant life decisions?
The goals and purpose of Counselling are often covered in the initial discussion as you explore and establish the Counselling contract but how these then translate into real life and how people engage in living differently after Counselling perhaps falls more in the Coaching arena.
So, I went back to Google which was initially keen to tell me about travelling by coach (honestly) but with a bit of tweaking, I settled on a simple definition from the Coaching Academy. It states Coaching assists a client to bridge the gap between where they are now, to where they would like to be far more effectively than if they worked alone. Other definitions included making changes looking at the here and now without reference to the past and yet the core of many emotional or psychological counselling issues are found in our pasts so maybe this is one of the boundaries between them.
So whilst I am passionate about the merits of Counselling for understanding, healing, restoration and personal growth, maybe I am also a closet-Coach, similarly believing that Counselling also has a responsibility to support clients in translating this positive change into real life steps towards the future they envisage for themelves. Welcome the Coaching Counsellor!