Difference Between Guidance and Counselling

Difference Between Guidance and Counselling

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 26, 2024 10:15 IST

The difference between guidance and counselling is that guidance primarily provides information and direction to facilitate decision-making while counselling delves deeper into addressing emotional and psychological issues to promote personal growth and well-being. Let us learn more about guidance and counselling in our blog.


Guidance and counselling are processes aimed at timely attention to low-complexity psychological problems. They correspond to the first level of health care, that is, to interventions of an educational nature, where ways to prevent difficulties in interpersonal communication are taught, basic knowledge about self-control, problem-solving, stress control, and crisis management, or some behaviours are detected that are not yet dysfunctional but could become so without proper guidance. Let us discuss guidance and counselling and the difference between guidance and counselling.

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Difference Between Guidance and Counseling

  Guidance  Counselling 
Definition  Instruction or advice on general psychological problems. It is given by someone more qualified or experienced. Professional advice is based explicitly on people’s psychological or personal problems given to them by a professional counsellor.
Process Type Preventive  Remedial 
Main Focus Listening to the problem of the person and offering them a suitable solution Understanding and discussing a person’s problem, empowering and counselling them to make a decision related to that person’s career or life goals in individual sessions
Scope Standard in the field of education Focuses primarily on psychological and personal assistance
Therapy Type Individual or a group of individuals at the same time  Always provided one-on-one
Secrecy The guidance could be open, so the level of privacy is less in it, A total secrecy is kept in counselling
Scope Comparatively broad Less extensive and comprehensive
Therapeutic Nature Counselling is the branch of psychology that is the least therapeutic   Counselling is the branch of psychology that is most therapeutic  

What is Guidance?

The guidance refers to advice and instructions given to a person by someone with more experience or authority on various issues. It is a process in which a person (often more knowledgeable or experienced than the one receiving the guidance) offers instructions and advice on the best ways or solutions to find the correct answer to a problem faced by a person.

Guidance occurs in almost all fields; however, it is in education where counselling is most common. Teachers, professors, or professors guide students on their educational paths. For example, college lectures or professors can guide college students to better career paths by showing them the pros and cons of different paths they can pursue once they graduate.

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What is Counselling?

Counselling is a counsellor’s professional advice based on individuals’ personal or psychological problems. In short, counselling is a form of psychological guidance for an individual.

Therefore, unlike the general counselling that can be received, counselling is primarily intended to help people deal with their mental problems. To become a professional counsellor, one must have extensive academic knowledge and training in psychology and a natural predisposition to help people. A counsellor deals directly with someone needing psychological assistance to alleviate their condition.

In addition, since counselling aims to treat and rehabilitate mentally disturbed patients, it covers extensive fields such as research to provide the most accurate psychological supervision, training, and guidance for patients or people with psychological problems. Thus, unlike guidance, counselling is more therapeutic.

Purposes of Guidance and Counselling 

Guidance helps you to restrain yourself from going down the wrong path. Make lousy career decisions, enrol in bad deals, choose the wrong career path, etc. Seeking the expertise of an expert on such issues is a wise move.

On the other hand, counselling is curative. Counsellors address mental health problems and use techniques to restore your mind to its healthy state. The solutions enhance healing. Counselling can steer you to embrace the right attitude, a healthy perspective, and a better mentality.

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Through guidance, you get the best alternatives and a clear picture of the implications of each choice available. It is a way of acquiring answers to specific issues. For instance, a finance expert can advise you on the right places to invest your money. On the other hand, a teacher can assist a student in picking suitable electives based on their performance or passion.

Counselling opens new possibilities for dealing with a challenging situation and has a more realistic and solvable approach. A counsellor offers well-informed solutions to mental health issues, while a therapist guides you through the process to keep you from falling into the same problem.

Let us understand these concepts through a real-life example -

Imagine a high school student named Mona. Mona is a friendly and bright kid, but lately, she has been feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of exams and struggling to communicate effectively with their friends. This is where guidance and counselling come in, offering different levels of support depending on Alex's needs.


School counsellor: Mona's class teacher suggests she visit the school counsellor. The counsellor provides a safe space for Mona to discuss her anxieties and challenges. She learns communication skills to navigate friendship conflicts, time management techniques for exam preparation, and relaxation exercises to handle stress. This brief, solution-oriented guidance aims to equip Alex with practical tools for immediate concerns.


Psychotherapist: Mona's struggles persist, so she seeks deeper support from a therapist. The therapist understands the root causes of Mona's anxieties, exploring past experiences and thought patterns. This longer-term exploration helps Mona understand and manage her emotions, build resilience, and develop coping mechanisms for future challenges.


Both guidance and counselling become necessary when facing crucial life problems. Therefore, guidance and advice can help us find the best solutions that will help us overcome these problems. Although they appear similar, guidance and counselling are two different procedures. 

Guidance is usually the general process of guiding someone through counselling or other problem-solving. In contrast, counselling refers specifically to the process of counselling by a professional counsellor based on people’s personal or psychological problems. This is the main difference between guidance and counselling.

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What is the main objective of guidance?

The main objective of the guidance is to help individuals develop self-awareness, explore their interests and abilities, and make informed choices related to education, career, and personal development.

What is the main objective of counselling?

The main objective of counselling is to provide individuals with a safe and supportive environment to address personal, emotional, or psychological concerns, gain insight into their feelings and behaviours, and work towards personal growth and well-being.

What is the focus of guidance sessions?

Guidance sessions focus on helping individuals explore their interests, strengths, and goals and providing information and resources to support decision-making related to education, careers, and personal development.

What is the focus of counselling sessions?

Counselling sessions focus on addressing specific emotional, psychological, or behavioural issues, such as stress, anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, or trauma, to improve mental well-being and facilitate personal growth.

How long do guidance and counselling typically last?

The duration of guidance and counselling can vary. Guidance may consist of one-time sessions or ongoing support throughout an individual's educational or career journey. Counselling sessions are often more extended, with the frequency and duration determined by the individual's needs and progress.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio