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Guidance simply means instruction or direction. As a dictionary definition, “Guidance” means; help and advice about how to do something or about how to deal with problems connected with your work, education, or personal relationships. This term is strongly related with the profession of education as it is apparent from these definitions. For that reason a loose definition of “Guidance” specifically about education can be stated as “Information that is provided by the coach or teacher for the client to assist the learning of skills more effectively”.
A term similar to guidance but different in some ways is called “Counseling”. The ACA (1997), adopted “Counseling” as the application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles, which are carried out through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systematic intervention strategies that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology.
Gustad, John W. Berdie, Ralph F.(1953), defined Counseling as a learning-centered process, carried on face to face in a relax environment . In this atmosphere a professionally competent counselor, seeks to aid the client by the appropriate methods to the client's needs. The aim of this process is to learn more about himself and accept himself and have an idea about how to put such understanding into effect in relation to more clearly perceived, realistically defined aims. Thus, at the end of this process, the client may become a happier and more productive member of his society.
According to Sears, Susan Jones - Coy, Doris Rhea.(1991), in the educational aspect, Counseling could be defined as assisting students to make them gain skills or competencies in some important domains such as personal-social, educational, and career domains. The counseling in schools should include allocating significant amounts of time to promote or team-teach developmental learning activities in the classrooms.
In the school context, in order to manage efficient counseling to the students some issues should be emphasized highly in the counseling programs. For instance; Personal-Social Skills, Career Development Skills and Educational Skills of the students should be examined in detailed and carefully. Furthermore, while counselors trying to aid the students, they also must consult with parents, teachers, other educators, and various community agencies with the aim of to help these students to deal with more serious personal and educational problems, both individually and in small groups.( Sears, Susan Jones - Coy, Doris Rhea,1991)
Although today “Counseling & Guidance” is an essence in any grade of the school, actually it is a relatively new aspect of education when the vast experience in the field of teaching is compared. Jesse B. Davis, first men who provided a systematical school guidance program as a curriculum into an English course achieve it only at the beginning of the 20th century. This late appearance of counseling can be explained by the pioneer's and followers' statements. Davis reasons his achievement after his being backed by a non-partisan school board in which Sears and Coy (1991) agreed by emphasizing the influence of the nature of school systems and principals and other administrators' belief about counseling, in their article “The Scope of Practice of the Secondary School Counselor”.
When School Counseling term first used in the early 1900s, it was actually referring to “Vocational Guidance”. Lambie (2004) states that this guidance was more like today's “Career Counseling” with a focus on the transition from school to work, giving importance to an appropriate client - occupation match. It was just an enhancement for the post-school vocational adjustments of young people as Super (1955) indicated. What he did is mentioned in “School Counselor Job Description” (Garland, 2008); “In 1907, Jesse B. Davis became the principal of a high school and encouraged the school English teachers to use compositions and lessons to relate career interests, develop character, and avoid behavioral problems. From that grew systematic guidance programs, which later evolved into comprehensive school counseling programs that address three basic domains: academic development, career development, and personal/social development”.
According to Schmidt (2003) Frank Parsons, who is generally referenced as the “Father of Guidance” was also focusing on supporting the young's transition into a suitable vocation on the basis of a mutual benefit between the young's desires and abilities and an occupation's requirements and environment when he first opened his guidance clinic in Boston in January,1908. Parsons in his book “Choosing a Vocation” expressed his aim in guidance in three principles;
- A clear understanding of yourself, your interests, skills, aptitudes, ambitions, resources, limitations, and their causes.
- Knowledge of the requirements and conditions of success, advantages and disadvantages, compensation, opportunities, and prospects of different lines of work.
- True reasoning on the relation of these two groups of facts.
Lambie (2004) states that E.G. Williamson expanded Parsons' vocation guidance principles and created the “Trait and Factor theory” which was the first guidance and counseling theory in the 1930s. This theory simply means matching of personal abilities and aptitudes and job factors like salary and atmosphere and this type of counseling is known as “Directive” or “Counselor-Centered”. Later in his book “How to Counsel Students” (1939), Williamson expressed that he and his colleagues were associated with their directive or counselor-centered approach to school counseling. According to this approach, school counselors need to provide students with information and gather facts to influence and motivate at the same time. According to Lambie (2004) this directive administrative style of working with students is still an expectation of school counselors in the settings where school counselors expected to enable desired student behavior with minimal input or contextual influence.
According to what Burnham (2003) stated; as a historical fact until World War I which gave more reasons to test individuals, the term heavily used was “Guidance”. However after the Great Depression “Counseling” became a widely known term by all educators. As the time of World War II came, The U.S. government requested assistance from counselors for selecting military and industrial specialist which created a greater emphasis on psychological testing from then on. And that directly influenced school guidance in the end.
Until 1940s, when Carl Rogers wrote the book “Counseling and Psychotherapy: New Concepts in Practice”, there was not such a great effect on the development of the counseling profession and modern counseling approaches as Schmidt (2003) stated. Until World War II, Freud's psychoanalytic therapy and Williamson's directive approach were the only foundational theoretical models. According to DeCarvolho(1990) Rogers' psychological humanism movement appeared as a response to the mechanical reductionistic view of people which is extended by psychoanalytic and behavioral theories. As Dewey (2007) stated; Rogers practiced non-directive or person-centered therapy contrary to his predecessor and in this therapy the client determined his or her own direction of change. Dewey (2007) also stated that in his works Rogers first used the term “client” and later simply “person” instead of using “patient” as he was implying the voluntary search of his clients for a helping relationship other than an involuntary relationship. Cobia & Henderson (2003, as cited in Lambie,2004)expressed that following the inception of Rogers' work, the term guidance began to be replaced in the literature by counseling, within which guidance is encapsulated.
What is certain from Bardhoshi (2009) is that throughout the century-long history of the profession of school counseling, school counselor's roles have expanded and changed according to the focuses of each decade. However, in order to make counseling process effective almost always these two methods have been offered: individual or group counseling.
There are some practical differences between these two types in the branch of school counseling. Basically, individual counseling is a relationship in which a counselor seeks to help children understand and accept themselves. It provides an opportunity for children to explore their feelings, abilities, and interests so that they make maximum use of their potential. On the other hand, group counseling is used for a wide range of student concerns and interests most of which are related with development like; making friends, being comfortable with physical changes, emotional decisions, and learning problem-solving skills.(Burnham,2003) In this article, we aim to compare these two methods in detail to find the better/superior style. As a matter of fact, both of these counseling types have some advantages & disadvantages compared to the other one; however the frequency of use of them shows only a matter of preference.
In the article “Understanding Individual and Group Counseling”(2009) it is mentioned that “Individual Counseling” is a type of counseling which aids people to make clear their concerns, investigate the results they have tried before, and at the end, assist them to find new strategies to deal with their problems. Learning new problem-solving or coping skills, increasing self-understanding, exploring life patterns, and gaining a better sense of how their surroundings influence them could be included in the individual counseling process.
In a more educational aspect, individual counseling also could be defined as a collaborative process in which a unique, confidential helping relationship is developed between a counselor and a willing client (student). In this relationship, the role of the professional counselor is a facilitator to assist the student to have more accurate knowledge about him/herself and the world around him/her. In a cooperative way, both the counselor and student tries to explore the student 's emotions and behaviors, relationships with others, choices and decisions, as well as the students 's current situation.
In individual counseling processes, at first, it is necessary that the counselor should collect some personal, intellectual and emotional information about the students. It will be quite helpful to the counselor, in order to decide which counseling strategies will be most appropriate and beneficial for the students. Moreover, in this process, new ambitions could be formed.( Understanding Individual and Group Counseling,2009). Murthy(2003) also suggests a list of features a counselor for individuals should have, like knowing;
- The details about the client including the people who are the most influential people on his/her life and problems itself,
- The social and cultural background of the client
- About the treatment
- Special techniques to facilitate a good communication, to improve motivation and problem solving skills and to provide support
- A warm, genuine, understanding and caring attitude
- Good communication skills
- Respect for the client
On the other hand in the book of “Individual and group counseling in schools”(Dustin,Ehly,1989) the components of an effective individual counseling listed as the followings;
- Establishing a baseline
- Specificity in behavioral description, goal setting, and evaluation
- Contracting for behavioral change
- Using reinforcement procedures to strengthen behaviors
- Using extinction/ignoring to weaken behaviors
- Training students to monitor their own change programs
As Cuizon(2009) stated there are several advantages of individual counseling. In individual counseling, counselors have an opportunity to employ with separated problems and they care for just one client at a time. Also, it is much easier for counselor to work out the information which was collected beforehand, apply the most appropriate and efficient treatment to the client and decide on the target attitude which needs to be enhanced. In individual counseling there may not be misrepresentations about the thoughts and behaviors of the client compared to group counseling. Depending on the decisions he makes, the client has a great power to change his own life for the much better. He is the center and most important element in this process which means that he can control his behavior and that the level of commitment and his being ambitious to work will dictate how successful he will be in developing new behaviors that clearly communicate his needs.
According to Burnham(2003) individual counseling has some reasons of being so popular. The fundamental reason is the most of the schools being structured on classes and classroom teachers and teachers' tendency to release one student at a time to be less disruptive. Another reason of popularity of individual counseling is the impression of being more practical and easy to schedule. For the last, the tendency of counselor training programs towards preferring individual counseling by illustrating theories, techniques, and etc. through individual processes.
There are also some researches that are indicating the superiority of individual counseling over group counseling from some aspects. Aughinbaugh(1968) in his book claims that relying heavily on group instead of individual counseling resulted from the increases in the junior college enrollment which created a shortage of qualified guidance personnel. As a result of a “two-year research study”, the group of students counseled individually was rated significantly higher by their counselors in growth in self-understanding compared to other two control group. However this research also indicates that compared to group counseled students, individually counseled students didn't show any significant difference in persistence, academic achievement, or goal motivation. The real significant difference was between these two counseled groups and the 3rd group consisting of the students who are not assigned to either group or individual counseling sessions. Aughinbaugh(1968) concludes that as long as special attention is paid to counseling, students benefit regardless of the method.
Aside having some advantages, individual counseling has some disadvantages. According to Simmerman(2007) in general, individual counseling sessions are economically less efficient than group therapy. Because of the lack of non-partial observers, role playing is limited to the individual and the therapist. Moreover compared to a group setting, likelihood of therapy sessions to fall into a rut where progress is stalled is higher.
On the other hand, there is also another type of counseling named as Group counseling. Gwendolyn Cuizon (2009) states that, Group Counseling which is forwarded by William Glasser is more correspondents with the Control Theory later named as Choice Theory. According to this theory, the reason of all the living creatures' controlling their behaviours is to accomplish their need for satisfaction in some of these five areas such as survival, to belong and be loved by others, to have power and importance, freedom and independence, and to have fun. Love and belongingness are the most significant ones among them. This kind of feeling is promoted with the help of the group counseling. Group counseling has great influence on the feeling of being connected to others.
Tricia Ellis-Christensen (2003), claims that Group counseling is a form of therapy, which establishes a viewpoint that people benefit from shared experiences.. While a therapist usually carries out group counseling, actually the contributions of other members in the group are considered quite valuable, for most of the people in the group, more or less share similar issues or experiences.
In the Group counseling, the individuals take place that are experiencing some difficulties related with the personal, educational, social, vocational issues which they hope to solve. ( Corey & Corey, 1992). In group counseling process, the focus could be the aims such as relating better to their families, becoming organized, or relaxing in the presence of supervisors at work the person achieved.
Gladding, Samuel T. (1994) says that, in starting group counseling, making decisions in advance is a vital issue. In other words; the first step in this process is pregroup planning. In order to relinquish productive and pragmatic results for participants, at first leaders should design groups. Objectives, membership, rules, time, place, and dynamics are the most important considerations in this process.
Gladding, Samuel T. (1994) states that rules to control the people in the groups should be few brief and clear, so that counseling groups run in the best way. If there are a great many of rules, there will be a tendency in some members to forget some of these rules. Also, if the rules are not so clear, some of them will be definitely broken by some of the members In group counseling, “the time and place” are quite significant issues.
Gladding, (1994) says that “Although counseling groups vary, members need a specific, consistent time and place to meet. Most groups meet for one and one half to two hours each week for 12 to 16 sessions. The meeting room should be quiet and inviting and away from other activities. Groups work best when chairs are arranged in circles where everyone feels a sense of equality with one another and the flow of communication is enhanced” (Gladding, 1994).
Childers & Couch, 1989 states that the group leaders have also quite significant role in this process. Effective group leaders should investigate potential members before they accept them. In the group counseling, the ideal group size is 8 to 12.By this way; members have a chance to express themselves without forming into subgroups. Feedback and explanation can be utilized by leaders; as a result they can immediately clarify and correct misunderstandings.
According to Corey & Corey, (1992), Some important variable techniques should be employed by leaders of effective counseling groups .In the below there are the most important ones among the many techniques:
- Active Listening: In this technique leaders should be sensitive to the language, tone, and nonverbal gestures surrounding members' messages;
- Linking: with the help of this one, leaders help members recognize their similarities;
- Blocking: Leaders keep unfocused members from disrupting the group by either redirecting them or preventing them from monopolizing conversations
- Summarizing: In this technique leaders assist members recognize what has occurred and how the group and its members have changed.
Apart from these techniques above , there are also other vital skills such as Empathy, personal warmth, courage, flexibility, inquiry, encouragement, and the ability to confront.
Vivian V. Ripley, Gary E. Goodnough states there are also some strategies which are quite successful in planning and implementing group counseling. They strongly believe that when these strategies were implemented correctly and effectively, the solutions will be rather helpful for the students. Briefly, they name the strategies as Logistical Strategies (School Structure and Student Need) Developing Awareness, Policy Considerations, Access to Students, Counselor Planning and Preparation Group Procedures, Counselor Preparation Co-leaders.
Group counseling has a great many of advantages to assist the people to resolve their problems. One of the main principals of group counseling is the idea that dealing with specific issues may cause isolation, and also the person could feel himself alone while facing or dealing with his problems. Group counseling's aim is to cancel out this isolation feeling by forming an atmosphere where the people with almost same problems could come together and share their thoughts feelings or difficulties. Thus, people could realize that these problems are not singular to one person.and this will be quite helpful to person to handle his problems more easily.( Tricia Ellis-Christensen (2003))
Gladding, Samuel T. (1994) claims that people have natural tendency to gather in groups for mutually beneficial purposes., individuals carry out their goals and also much more innovative and productive ways having an interaction other group members with the help of the groups. He also asserts that, without involving in groups surviving would be impossible for the people..
Gwendolyn Cuizon(2009),says that “Group counseling is better than individual counseling when it comes to developing new behaviors that clearly communicate their needs and help in attaining fulfillment in the reality. Group therapy considers the key elements of what the group are looking for and what will make their life better, what the group will do to bring about what they want and how they are able to make alternative options and come up with common plan.”
He also claims that with the help of the Group counseling members have a great opportunity to learn with and from other people in the group .and also they could be able to recognize their own ways of thoughts and behaviors, as well as those of others. Attitudes and behavior patterns that are limiting and difficult to see in self could be seen by other people. In order to receive genuine support, honest feedback, and useful alternatives from peers a group is a quite a good chance. Besides the advantages of group counseling, according to the some researcher, there are also disadvantages of this counseling type. For instance, Gwendolyn Cuizon (2009),mentions that the movement and involvement of the group members could be insufficient in group counseling. Reflecting too many feelings and listening to too many long stories could be a problem for both the leaders and the other members in the group.
There is also an option that the group leader couldn't use enough creative techniques to get and hold the attention of the group members. When techniques aren't supported with theory and focusing the group sessions aren't focused sufficiently, the productivity and the efficiency of the group counseling dramatically decreases.
As all the researchers stated the use of these counseling types is a matter of preference. Etc. etc..
In schools, counseling to the students should be carried out both individually and in small groups. Counselors, in schools, must always allot some time for counseling students about their personal-social problems. Moreover, in some cases, counselors may need to utilize newer theoretical approaches, such as brief therapy, in order to be as effective as possible in a limited number of sessions.( Sears, Susan Jones - Coy, Doris Rhea,1991)