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Feb 07, 2022

What is the Difference Between Guidance and Counseling?


Everything You Need to Know About Guidance & Counseling

Guidance and counselling are two approaches that are often sought out in the therapy room, but they are not the same in how they deal with an issue. They are two very different approaches when it comes to how they are executed and processed, and depending on your needs, you might want to have clarity first before engaging in either process.

Guidance is advice or instructions given to an individual concerning career, life choices, education, relationships, and so forth. This guidance is often through the lens of advice from someone who is an expert in that field. Guidance is not limited to counselling psychologists, but is often also not the preferred method of treatment when it comes to mental health, your well-being, and couples counselling. Counselling and therapy, in general, can be considered a craft backed up by research in psychotherapy, and giving advice can be valuable in terms of understanding a subject matter.

Having said that, getting specific advice on situations is absolutely valuable and often necessary for many people. For example, a lawyer is best for guidance on a legal matter, while a marriage counsellor is best for marriage counselling advice.

An example of this would be a marriage counsellor sharing how important it is to share all the details of an affair at the very beginning of the healing process for a couple. That is direct advice and is backed up by research and data that suggest that it can be re-traumatizing for the hurt partner to hear six months down the road that there were many more years of affairs and that they did not have the full picture.

Guidance helps a person weigh the pros and cons of a decision before carrying out the decision or action. Advice supports the person to make informed decisions, especially if it is a direct answer to a specific problem.

Counselling and psychotherapy would be the process in which that same couple learns to heal and integrate those sensitive conversations into their attempt to repair their connection.

On the other hand, counselling is the process of going within to discover new insights, accessing our own wisdom, and developing new skills in everyday life. A psychologist is going to address personal or psychological problems by inviting the person to look within for the answers rather than telling them what to do next. A Calgary counselling professional uses their expertise and resources during therapy to help an individual become more resilient, empowered, and feel in charge in their life again.

Guidance and Counseling Serve Different Purposes

Guidance is a preventative approach - sometimes it is wise counsel that restrains you from heading down the wrong path. Avoid falling into a career trap, endorsing bad deals, making terrible business decisions, and so forth by finding guidance from specialists in these fields. Seeking the expertise of a knowledgeable person on any subject matter is wise.

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 health perspective, and a better mentality.

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 of the right places in which to invest your money. On the other hand, a teacher can assist a student pick suitable electives based on their performance or passion.

Counselling provides different viewpoints to help people approach their problems from a realistic, positive, and solvable angle. A counselling psychologist gives well-informed solutions to mental health issues; the therapist also guides you through the process to keep you from falling into the same problem.

Similarities Between Guidance and Counselling

The similarity between guidance and counselling is that both approaches aim to help you. Guidance is giving you information to make the decision or take the next step, while counselling is helping you to access your own wisdom. Both approaches will ask you what you want to get out of the process before beginning, and this inquiry will be very similar.

The process of asking you what your obstacles are, what are the challenges, and essentially the situation that you are facing is what each approach will want to know. Once that information is clear, both approaches will want to understand what you would like for yourself in that situation.

Once the goals are set and the situation is clearly understood, then you can move forward. This is where both practices differ and move into different directions.


An expert in any field can offer guidance, but that guidance should be grounded in education, experience, and a deep understanding of that particular field or subject. In terms of mental health, guidance can be provided by a psychologist, a counsellor, or by a professor who has studied the field and teaches others.

However, to practice counselling, you must be a registered psychologist in Calgary or a registered counsellor/psychotherapist.


Guidance has a broader scope compared to counselling. Every industry has experts providing guidance on trends, markets, dynamics, practices, and growth. Their advice on education, career, religion, nutrition, fitness, medicine, or health is valuable in terms of receiving information.

On the other hand, counselling is a field reserved for mental health professionals. You must have a doctoral degree to work in the field of psychology. You must receive registration, licensing, and a certification or charter by the Canadian Psychological Association before opening up your practice.

Becoming a psychologist in Calgary takes years; on average, a psychologist spends about six years to complete their education and another two years to become a fully registered psychologist. You can trust the expertise of your psychologist and their resources because of the investment they have made to educate themselves in the field of counselling services.

Know when to look for guidance and when to visit a counsellor based on these variations. Each service has an essential role and requires mastery and experience. You stand to gain from both approaches.

Therapy in Calgary

Counselling in Calgary with the right psychologist can be incredibly impactful. Calgary has many qualified psychologists that can help you get the needed intervention. In case you are living within Calgary and surrounding areas, look for a counselling psychologist in this region.

At our Calgary counselling center, we have a team of psychologists who are dedicated to helping their clients find inner peace, healthier relationships and resolving their pasts to step into a brighter future. Reach out to us today to take the first step in improving your well-being.

I am the founder of One Life Counselling and Coaching LTD and I am honored to lead a team of professional psychologists, psychotherapist’s and life coaches who dedicate their professional lives to helping people to elevate their mindsets, evolve their beliefs and learn to thrive in the present moment.
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