Definition of Counseling with an Illustration of Its Most Important Aspects

The history of counseling psychology is part of the history of the twentieth century. It was born out of the compassion, idealism and social concern that ushered in a century that seemed full of hope and promise for a better world and a richer and more fulfilling life for all. It has survived two world wars, the Great Depression, and the past 40 years of turbulence and turmoil. The long trek from social reform to professional psychology is the story of many dedicated men and women whose ideas and ideals have paved the path to our present. There have been relatively few attempts to chronicle the lives and accomplishments of these pioneers. Much of our history seems to be buried in the musty pages of committee reports or proceedings of conferences and conventions. What has seemed to be missing from this rather sketchy and scattered body of literature is some feeling for the people, the flesh-and? blood men and women, who in three brief generations have articulated the ideas, advocated for the ideals, and engaged in the conflicts, competition, and cooperation out of which has come what we presently call counseling psychology. Noticeably absent also from most of our chronicles of events has been any real appreciation or understanding of the monumental social, economic and political forces that have shaped our lives and our century. The role of social reform, the contributions of applied psychology to two great wars, the boom and bust of applied psychology during the Roaring Twenties and the counseling of the despairing jobless in the Great Depression are all integral aspects of our history. The return of the veterans after World War II, our nation's descent into the Cold War, and the race for space have all molded our profession. The struggle for human rights, the Women's Movement, ethnic diversity, and multiculturalism are all vital parts of our past as well as our present (1).

The past decade has been marked by a rapid expansion of counseling services, new attempts at definition and clarification of the term itself, reorientation of different professional groups with respect to their participation in counseling, the development of new methods and techniques, and finally the preoccupation of professional groups with matters of training standards. Perhaps the most important fact for persons interested in the field is the recent extension of counseling facilities and the consequent enlargement of employment opportunities. The most influential factor has been the entry of governmental agencies into this area of service as sponsors of large-scale operations. In particular, the Veterans Administration, the Federal and State Offices for Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Federal and State employment Services have either employed directly or have been responsible indirectly for the employment of thousands of persons bearing the title counselor. In addition, schools and colleges have appreciably expanded their staffs. Data are not available to afford a basis for judging whether or not the substantial increase in the number of counselors employed in business and industry has been maintained in the post-war years. ...



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