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Counselling is a form of therapeutic listening based on ordinary human communication skills and aims to provide clients with an opportunity to work towards living in a more satisfying and resourceful way. Anyone, including young children, can see a therapist. One of counselling's main aims, according to the British Association for Counselling, is "to guide us from feeling victims of circumstances to feeling we have some control over our lives".

The Nature of Counselling
The overall aim of counselling is to provide an opportunity for the client to work towards living in a way he or she experiences as more satisfying and resourceful. The term 'counselling' includes work with individuals, pairs or groups of people often, but not always, referred to as 'clients'. The objectives of particular counselling relationships will vary according to the client's needs. Counselling may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insight and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others. The counsellor's role is to facilitate the client's work in ways which respect the clients values, personal resources and capacity for choice within his or her cultural context.
Counselling involves a deliberately undertaken contract with clearly agreed boundaries and commitment to privacy and confidentiality. It requires explicit and informed agreement. The use of counselling skills in other contexts, paid or voluntary, is subject to the Code of Ethics and Practice for Counselling Skills.
There is no generally accepted distinction between counselling and psychotherapy. There are well founded traditions which use the terms interchangeably and others which distinguish between them. Regardless of the theoretical approaches preferred by individual counsellors, there are ethical issues which are common to all counselling situations.
Excerpt provided by: The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)
Website: www.bac.co.uk