Aims and Objectives of Counseling
Counseling aims at helping the clients understand and accept themselves “as they are”, And counseling is to help the student to help himself.
The main objective of counseling is to bring about a voluntary change in the client. For this purpose the counselor provides facilities to help achieve the desird change or make the suitable choice.
According to Dunsmoor and miller, the purpose of student counseling are :-
1. To give the student information on matters important to success.
2. To get information about student which will be of help in solving his problems.
3. To establish a feeling of mutual understanding between student and teacher.
4. To help the student work out a plan for solving his difficulties.
5. To help the student know himself better-his interests, abilities, aptitudes, and oppurtunities.
6. To encourage and develop special abilities and right attitudes.
7. To inspire successful endeavor toward attainment.
8. To assist the student in planning for educational and vocational choices.
The goal of counseling is to help individuals overcome their immediate problems and also to equip them to meet future problems. Counseling, to be meaningful has to be specific for each client since it involves his unique problems and expectations. The goals of counseling may be described as immediate, long-range, and process goals. A statement of goals is not only important but also necessary, for it provides a sense of direction and purpose. Additionally it is necessary for a meaningful evaluation of the usefulness of it.
The counselor has the goal of understanding the behavior, motivations, and feelings of the counselee. The counselor has the goals are not limited to understanding his clients. He has different goals at different levels of functioning. The immediate goal is to obtain relief for the client and the long-range goal is to make him ‘a fully functioning person’. Both the immediate and long- term goals are secured through what are known as mediate or process goals.
Specific counseling goals are unique to each client and involve a consideration of the client’s expectations as well as the environmental aspects. Apart from the specific goals, there are two categories of goals which are common to most counseling situations. These are identified as long-range and process goals. The latter have great significance. They shape the counselee and counselors’ interrelations and behavior. The process goals comprise facilitating procedures for enhancing the effectiveness of counseling. The long range –goals are those that reflect the counselor’s philosophy of life and could be stated as
1. To help the counselee become self-actualizing.
2. To help the counselee attain self-realization.
3. To help the counselee become a fully –functioning person.
The immediate goals of counseling refer to the problems for which the client is seeking solutions here and now. The counselee could be helped to gain fuller self- understanding through self – exploration and to appreciate his strengths and weaknesses. The counselor could provide necessary information but however exhaustive, may not be useful to the client unless he has an integrative understanding of himself vis-a-vis his personal resources and environmental constraints and resources.
There is an inter relation between the long-range and immediate goals as both depend on the process goals for their realization. The process goals are the basic counseling dimensions which are essential conditions for counseling to take place. They comprise empathic understanding, warmth and friendliness which provide for inter personal exploration which in turn helps the client in his self-exploration and self-understanding and eventually lead to the long range goals namely self-actualization, self- realization and self enhancement.
Discussing the goals of counseling, Parloff (1961) distinguishes between immediate and ultimate goals according to him the former refers to the steps and stages in the counseling process which lead to the realization of the ultimate goals. Patterson (1970) suggests a third level of goals namely intermediate goals in addition to mediating and ultimate goals. Ultimate goals refer to the broad and general long term outcomes like positive mental health. Intermediate goals are explained by the reasons for seeking a counselor’s help and immediate goals as those that refer to the present intentions of the counselee. A major criticism leveled is that goals such as self- actualization, actualizing potentialities, etc., are too general and amorphous and hence not useful in actual practice. Krumboltz (1966) holds that an operational definition of terms would be a more useful approach. He suggests that a general concept could be reduced to specific objective and measurable variables. Mediate goals (Parloff, 1967) may be considered as specific steps contributing to the realization of general goals. Behaviorists play much emphasis on mediate goals like reduction of anxiety, acquisition of adaptive habits, etc. The immediate goal of counseling is to motivate a potential counseling to make an appointment with a counselor and go through the counseling process till the mediate goals are realized. It is through the realization of mediate goals that the ultimate goals of self – understanding, self – realization and self – actualization can be reached. The process of self – exploration is perhaps a kind of immediate goal which sets the counseling process in motion. Areas in which change is considered desirable are relations with other individuals, academic achievement, job satisfaction, etc. Some of the major goals of counseling generally accepted by the counselors are given below:-
1. Achievement of positive mental health
It is identified as an important goal of counseling by some individuals who claim that when one reaches positive mental health one learns to adjust and response more positively to people and situations. Kell and Mueller (1962) hold that the “promotion and development of feelings of being liked, sharing with, and receiving and giving interaction rewards from other human beings is the legitimate goal of counseling”
2. Resolution of Problems
Another goal of counseling is the resolving of the problem brought to the counselor. This, in essence, is an outcome of the former goal and implies positive mental health. In behavioral terms three categories of behavioral goals can be identified, namely, altering maladaptive behavior, learning the decision – making process and preventing problems (Krumboltz, 1966).
3. Improving Personal Effectiveness
Yet another goal of counseling is that of improving personal effectiveness. This is closely related to the preservation of good mental health and securing desirable behavioral change(s).
4. Counseling to Help Change
Blocher (1966) adds two other goals. The first, according to him, is that counseling should maximize individual freedom to choose and act within the conditions imposed by the environment. The other goal is that counseling should increase the effectiveness of the individual responses evolved by the environment. Tiedeman (1964) holds that the goal of counseling is to focus on the mechanism of change and that the counselee should be helped in the process of ‘becoming’ – the change which pervades the period of adolescence through early adulthood during which the individual is assisted to actualize his potential. Shoben (1965) also views the goal of counseling as personal development.
5. Decision – Making as a Goal of Counseling
Some counselors hold the view that counseling should enable the counselee to make decisions. It is through the process of making critical decisions that personal growth is fostered. Reaves and Reaves (1965) point out that “the primary objective of counseling is that of stimulating the individuals to evaluate, make, accept and act upon his choice”.
Sometimes the counselees have goals which are vague and their implications are not fully appreciated. It is perhaps one of the primary functions of a counselor to help clarify a counselee’s goal.
6. Modification of Behavior as a Goal
Behaviorally-oriented counselors stress the need for modification of behavior, for example, removal of undesirable behavior or action or reduction of an irritating symptom such that the individual attains satisfaction and effectiveness. Growth-oriented counselors stress on the development of potentialities within the individual. Existentially-oriented counselors stress self-enhancement and self-fulfillment. Obviously the latter cannot be realize without first securing the former, namely, symptom removal or reduction as a necessary pre-condition for personal effectiveness.
The general public tends to view counseling as a remedial function and emphasizes immediate goals, such as problem resolution, tension reduction, and the like. Counselee may refer to the resolution of a particular conflict or problem situation. However, the goals of counseling are appropriately concerned with such fundamental and basic aspects such as self-understanding and self-actualization. These help provide the counselee with self-direction and self-motivation. Counseling in its spirit and essence is generative. It aims at assisting the individual to develop such that he becomes psychologically mature and is capable of realizing his potentialities optimally.
Counseling has no magical solutions. The only meaningful, sensible and realistic view of counseling is that it is not and cannot be everything to everybody. It is concerned with helping individuals find realistic and workable solutions to their problems by helping them gain an insight into themselves so that they are able to utilize their own potentialities and opportunities and thus become self-sufficient, self-directed and self-actualized.
1. S.Narayana Rao- Counselling and Guidance,Second edition, (1997)Tata McGraw –Hill Publishing Company Limited.NewDelhi.(Pg:63-68)