What are the Basic Principles and Characteristics of Counselling?

The scholars have exhibited variations in their view­points regarding defining the term “counseling”. One major cause of these variations is occurrence of historical changes in the perceptions of the persons. In spite of this, there was a lot of variation in the philosophy of experts.

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According to Shostorm and Brammer (1952), “Counseling is a purposeful reciprocal relationship between two people in which one a trained person, helps the other to change himself or his environment.”

According to Wrenn (1951), “Counseling is a dynamic and purposeful relationship between the people in which procedures vary with the nature of the students’ need, but in which there is always mutual participation by the counselor and the student with the focus upon self-classification and self-determination by the students.”


Ruth Strang, emphasizing mutual relationships of persons, has said, “Counseling is a face-to-face relationship in which growth takes place in the counselor as well as the counselee.”

Wolberg (1954), has considered counseling as a form of interview. He has defined it as, “Counseling is a form a interviewing in which the client is helped to understand himself more completely in order to correct an environment or adjustment difficulty.”

Myers has written as, “Counseling means a relationship between two persons in which one person provides special assistance to the other.” ‘

Rogers says about counseling that, “Counseling does not mean providing a service by means of which specific problem of an individual may be solved. The process should help the counselee in gaining claer insight into the problem and in achieving the self- confidence.”


Considering counseling as a problem-solving effort, Hamrin and Erickson have said that, “Counseling is an attempt made by the counselee to think through and solve the problem that confronts him. It is an experiment in cooperative thinking, who two individuals (the counselor and the counselee) strike to solve a problem.”

Considering counseling as a mutual learning process, Willy and Andrew have said, “Counseling is a mutual learning process involving two individuals one seeking help and the other a professionally trained person helping the first to orient and direct him towards a goal which leads to his maximum development and growth in his environment.”

Characteristics of Counseling

The following facts become distinct about counseling after studying and analysing the above mentioned definitions:


1. Counseling is a conversation with someone regarding some problem.

2. Normally, not always, one of the two persons possesses facts or experiences or abilities which the other lacks.

In the process of counseling, the problem is made clear through discussion. The counselor explores the problem and its importance through his skilful questioning.

Counselor draws out the facts from the pupils through counseling process.

Counseling helps the pupil in making selections and following those selections.

Counseling is assistance to the persons in their behaviour related problems in which their emotions and motivations are main.

Counseling involves interactions in which the counselor accepts the responsibility of positive contribution in the development of other person’s personality.

He also informs the pupils certain facts.

Counselor guides the pupils to establish contacts with various factors in the counseling process. He explains the importance of those facts which the pupils consider unimportant.

Counseling is a vital part of the entire guidance programme.

Counseling is only one aspect of guidance.

Counseling is a learning oriented process.

Counseling is a face to face relationship with a person. This relationship is between a counselor and a client.

Counseling is democratic. It lays down the democratic system. The client can behave as he wishes.

Counseling is a professional service.

Counseling is problem-oriented.

Counseling is based on the appropriateness of counselor’s prediction.

Best counseling is in the form of the decision made by the counselee.

Counseling is possible in humorous and cooperative environment only.

Counseling is completely based on self-guidance.

Basic Principles of Counseling Process

According to Mc Daniel and Shaftal, the counseling process is based on some basic principles:

(a) Principle of Acceptance:

According to this principle, each client must the accepted as an individual and dealt with as such. The counselor should give, due regard to the rights of the client.

(b) Principle of Permissiveness:

Counseling is such a relationship which develops optimism and the environment shapes according to the person. All the thoughts accept the relative relationship of counseling.

(c) Principle of Respect for the Individual:

All the schools of thoughts of counseling advocate for the respect of the individual i.e., respecting an individual’s feelings must be an integral part of counseling process.

(d) Principle of Thinking with the Individual:

Counseling emphasizes thinking with the individual. It is essential to differentiate think for whom? And ‘why to think’? It is the role of the counselor the think about all the forces around the client to join client’s thought process and to work collectively with the client regarding his problem.

(e) Principle of Learning:

All the assumptions of counseling accept the presence of learning-elements in the counseling process.

(f) Principle of Consistency with Ideals of Democracy:

All the principles are associated with ideals of democracy. The ideals of democracy desire to accept a person and want to respect the rights of others.

The process of counseling is based upon the ideals of a person’s respect. It is a process with accepts individual differences.

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