Counseling

The term counseling has both a generic and a more specific meaning. Generally speaking, counseling represents a set of problem-solving actions—developing a working relationship, assessing the problem, initiating behavior change, maintaining change, and evaluating the outcomes. These generic actions are used by "counselors" working in a variety of professions, including business, law, education, health, and so on. Thus, we have financial counselors, legal counsel, academic advisors, and nutritional consultants— all of whom are identified as doing counseling. From a more specific stance, counseling also represents a professional identity and tradition with ethical codes, licensure proce-

dures, scholarly journals, professional organizations, and academic requirements. Counseling in the professional sense and as the topic of this narrative has been associated with education and medicine, which provide the historical traditions through which counseling has evolved. Counseling as an educational intervention has been associated with schools and guidance programs, whereas counseling as a more medically oriented intervention has become interchangeable with psychotherapy practiced in clinical settings. While such diversity is viewed as a strength by some, others note the lack of consensus reflected in professional identity problems.

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