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Difference Between Guidance and Counseling

Guidance vs Counseling

Psychology, the study of behavior and of mental processes, is a diverse field. It involves the process of understanding the reasons why people behave and think as they do and applies scientific methods in observing and gathering information, in order to come up with an applicable principle of behavior and motivation.

It is subjective and is applied according to the specific requirements of an individual. Among the many branches and applications of psychology are the fields of Guidance and Counseling.

Guidance and Counseling both involve helping an individual in making choices about the different things that might confront and confuse him. They are totally different fields though and to help distinguish between the two, here are some of the things that are used to describe them:

Counseling is a psychological specialty that deals with research and applied work in supervision, training, career development, prevention, and health. It focuses on a person’s strengths, assets, environmental interactions, educational background, career development and personality.

Counseling started as a result of WWII. Since then, it has been used by individuals, institutions, families, rehabilitation agencies and other organizations. It utilizes psychological methods in the collection of case history data through personal interview, testing and aptitude.

It helps clients to choose the best solution to a problem, through the process of listening and questioning. It is important to note that counseling is not a giving of opinion and it is based on a wellness model rather than a medical one.

A counselor’s basic concern should go beyond treating dysfunction or pathology. It should deal with a client’s self awareness which should help him towards personal growth and wellness.

Guidance is defined as the act of guiding, giving leadership, supervision, direction or professional guidance for future actions. It is usually provided to students in preparation for a vocation.

Guidance helps a person discover and develop his psychological, vocational and educational potential in order to be happier and more useful in society. Each person is responsible for his decisions and actions, but when he is young he will need someone more mature and experienced to guide him through life and towards making the right decisions for himself.

Like counseling, it assists clients towards a decision or an appropriate course of action. It may be used as therapeutic aid in the treatment of minor emotional disturbances and disorders.


1. Counseling is a psychological field that deals with research and applied work to provide training and supervision, while Guidance is a psychological field that deals with assisting clients in their need to choose the right course of action.
2. While both are being used in organizations and by individuals, counseling has a broader reach, while Guidance is usually being used in schools to guide students towards proper actions.
3. Both can help in the treatment and rehabilitation of a person suffering from a mental illness or disorder, but counseling is more extensive than guidance.
4. Counseling encompasses several other fields of psychology, while Guidance tends to be more specific.

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