1. What do you mean by counseling?

Counselling falls under the umbrella term 'talking therapies' and allows people to discuss their problems and any difficult feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential environment. The term can mean different things to different people, but in general, it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives, or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.

What is the purpose of counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

2. What is psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it dictates and influences our behaviour, from communication and memory to thought and emotion. It's about understanding what makes people tick and how this understanding can help us address many of the problems and issues in society today. As a science psychology functions as both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice, one dedicated to the study of human behaviour - and the thoughts, feelings, and motivations behind it - through observation, measurement, and testing, in order to form conclusions that are based on sound scientific methodology.

3. Types of Psychology

Psychology is a broad and diverse field that encompasses the study of human thought, behavior, development, personality, emotion, motivation, and more. As a result, some different subfields and specialty areas have emerged. The following are some of the major areas of research and application within psychology:

  • Abnormal psychologyis the study of abnormal behavior and psychopathology. This specialty area is focused on research and treatment of a variety of mental disorders and is linked to psychotherapy and clinical psychology.
  • Biological psychology (biopsychology) studies how biological processes influence the mind and behavior. This area is closely linked to neuroscience and utilizes tools such as MRI and PET scans to look at brain injury or brain abnormalities.
  • Clinical psychology is focused on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.
  • Cognitive psychology is the study of human thought processes including attention, memory, perception, decision-making, problem-solving, and language acquisition.
  • Developmental psychology is an area that looks at human growth and development over the lifespan including cognitive abilities, morality, social functioning, identity, and other life areas.
  • Forensic psychology is an applied field focused on using psychological research and principles in the legal and criminal justice system.
  • Industrial-organizational psychology is a field that uses psychological research to enhance work performance and select employees.
  • Personality psychology focuses on understanding how personality develops as well as the patterns of thoughts, behaviors, and characteristics that make each individual unique.
  • Social psychology focuses on group behavior, social influences on individual behavior, attitudes, prejudice, conformity, aggression, and related topics.

4. Psychological Counseling

Counseling psychology is a general practice and health service provider specialty in professional psychology. It focuses on how people function both personally and in their relationships at all ages. Counseling psychology addresses the emotional, social, work, school and physical health concerns people may have at different stages in their lives, focusing on typical life stresses and more severe issues with which people may struggle as individuals and as a part of families, groups and organizations. Counseling psychologists help people with physical, emotional and mental health issues improve their sense of well‐being, alleviate feelings of distress and resolve crises. They also provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of more severe psychological symptoms.

Problems Addressed
The problems addressed by counseling psychology are addressed from developmental (lifespan), environmental and cultural perspectives. They include, but are not limited to:

  • School and career/work adjustment concerns.
  • Making decisions about career and work, and dealing with school‐work‐retirement transitions.
  • Relationship difficulties‐including marital and family difficulties.
  • Learning and skill deficits.
  • Stress management and coping with negative life events.
  • Organizational problems.
  • Dealing with and adjusting to physical disabilities, disease or injury. Personal/social adjustment.
  • The development of one's identity.
  • Persistent difficulties with relating to other people in general.
  • Mental disorders.

Facts About Counseling Psychology

Regular ups and downs are common in modern day to day life. In fact, it is full of challenges. It starts in our childhood with pressure to perform in school. Tension between classmates, friends, family, siblings and financial restraints are part and parcel of our lives. We grow up with all these challenges as kids. Even though we become adapted to handling many life situations without any issue, sometimes there are obstacles that are difficult for us to handle alone. If you are down with a bad cough or flu, you will not think twice before seeing a doctor to get treatment for it. So, why do we shy away from taking the same approach when we are faced with a mental issue? This article highlights some facts about counselling psychology.

  1. Many people think that counselling is only for people with a serious mental issue. This is not correct at all. In fact, problems that arise as everyday issues could build up and spiral out of control if we don't handle them properly. Many people would wait until a small problem becomes a huge roadblock to their personal success before seeking professional help. This is where counselling comes in handy. It will provide a opportunity for you to deal with day to day concerns much more effectively before it escalates to higher proportions.
  2. There is another common belief that only weak people go for counselling. In fact, we tend to think that only people who cannot cope with their issues would seek professional help. This is not true either. There is nothing weak about seeing a counselor. In fact, it takes inner strength to admit that you need professional help. It is one of the wisest decisions to protect your emotional health in the long run.
  3. There is another belief that a stranger will not be able to help you. This is another incorrect belief. In fact, family and friends are supportive, but those relationships involve give and take. When you see a counselor, it is all about yourself. You will not have any anxiety with the counselor since you know that you will not be judged for what you reveal in front of him/her.
  4. Many people hear other people's stories and believe that counselling will not work for them. This is another common misconception in society. Just because counselling did not work for one person, it doesn't mean it will not work for you. Counselors employ different therapy approaches and methods. Also, the success or failure will depend on your openness to the process of counseling.
  5. You may think that counselors only listen and take note without saying anything. This is not true at all. Counselling is an interactive two-way process where the counselor will help explore the choices in front of you.
  6. Many people are ashamed of seeing a counselor thinking that everyone will know that they are seeing one. This is not true since counselors are bound by very strict codes of ethics. They will guarantee the confidentiality of your visits.
  7. Counselors are professionals who are educated and trained in the subject of psychology and therapy. You have nothing to fear in seeing one of them whenever you are faced with an emotional issue, which you cannot deal with by yourself.

Psychological Counseling Addressed the Problems

Relationship Issue
Troubling / Upset

Skills & Procedures Utilized

The procedures and techniques used within counseling psychology include, but are not limited to:

  • Individual, family and group counseling and psychotherapy.
  • Crisis intervention, disaster and trauma management.
  • Assessment techniques for the diagnosis of psychological disorders.
  • Programs/workshops that educate and inform the public about mental health, school, family, relationship and workplace issues so that problems can be prevented before they start or reduced before they get worse.
  • Consulting with organizations.
  • Program evaluation and treatment outcome (e.g., client progress).
  • Training.
  • Clinical supervision.
  • Test construction and validation.
  • Research methodologies for scientific investigations.

Some Common Myths and Facts about Counselling

The process and purpose of Counselling is often misunderstood, and many people have a negative perception of it. There are several myths and stigma attached to the complete process of Counselling. I hope to address some of them below.

  • MYTH:Counseling is only for people who have serious emotional and mental problems.
    FACT Seeing a counselor does not mean you are mentally ill or "crazy". In life, almost everyone has difficulties and challenges at some point .and being able to ask for help to overcome these challenges are a sign of strength. and taking responsibility to get your life "back on track.".

  • MYTH:Seeking Counselling is a sign of weakness.
    FACT Seeking counselling in fact a sign of taking responsibility for your well being. In fact, it takes courage to explore sensitive feelings and painful experiences. It is the first winning step for an individual in resolving their difficulties.

  • MYTH:The counselor will "fix" your problems.
    FACT: Counselling is not a "quick fix" to cure to your problems. The counselor's role is to help you reflect and explore your feelings, thoughts, and concerns, to examine your options, and assist you in achieving the goals you set.

  • MYTH: The Counsellor cannot understand you unless she has had similar experiences or is of the same background.
    FACT: Counsellors are trained to be sensitive to and respectful of individual differences, including the specific concerns /needs with regard to gender, race/ethnicity, culture, religion, age, and socio-economic status. Many Counselors who are trained in the US and other Western countries have a super specialization in Multicultural Counseling considering diverse cultures in those countries. Counselors are professionally and extensively trained to treat a variety of life crisis and issues.

  • MYTH: Seeking Counselling suggests you do not have enough faith that God will take care of you, and fix your problem.
    FACT-While prayers and the complete trust in God are always beneficial to your life, these practices are not the only options available to you for sorting through issues. Most people who seek counseling are people who lead very normal lives and want to find solutions to their life and the problems they face.. It is important o bear in mind that everybody has significant problems at various times in their lives. Counseling is just a normal part of the process of resolving things and providing you the tools and the skills to handle them effectively.