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What is counselling?

People at some point in their lives find themselves in the role of a counsellor without having a true understanding of the concept of counselling or what the role of the professional counsellor entails. There is a big difference between a professional counsellor and a person who uses some counselling skills as part of their role as a family member, friend or colleague.

A professional counsellor is a highly trained individual who is able to use a wide range of counselling approaches with their clients.

Counselling is a process that occurs when a client and counsellor set aside a time to explore difficulties, which may include the stressful emotions of the client. The purpose is to help the client to see things more clearly, possibly from a different point of view. This can enable the client to focus on feelings, experiences or behaviors with the goal of facilitating positive changes. A relationship of trust and confidentiality is paramount to successful counselling.


This focuses on helping the individual to unlock his or her own potential. It involves the belief that the individual has the answers to their own problems within them.


This is similar to coaching but is often more strategic in nature than coaching. There is general agreement that a mentor is a guide who helps someone to learn or develop faster than they might do alone.


Is closer to a therapeutic intervention. Focuses on the past, helping the individual to overcome barriers and issues from their past and move on. The focus can be internal and external.

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