Individuals and groups of people who receive services from various counseling professions constitute the clientele and audience. These individuals and groups vary in their needs and context where they avail of counseling services.
Characteristics of the Clientele and Audiences of Counseling
The clientele and audiences of counseling are normal people. They are not in need of clinical or mental help. They may be the youth in need of guidance at critical moments of their growth, anyone in need of assistance in realizing a change in behavior or attitude, or simply seeking to achieve a goal. What the audience normally calls for in counseling is the application or development of social skills, effective communication, spiritual direction, decision-making, and career choices. Sometimes, people need to cope with the crisis. Other clientele and audiences of counseling may be people in need of premarital and marital counseling, grief and loss (divorce, death, or amputation), domestic violence and other types of abuse, or coping with terminal illness, death, and dying.
Needs of Various Types of Clientele and Audiences of Counseling
The needs vary for each type of clientele and audience of counseling. In the school context, guidance and counselors aim to meet needs such as job-hunting coaching, conflict management providers, human resources personnel, marriage counselors, drug abuse and rehabilitation counselors, bereavement counselors, and abused children caretakers and rehabilitation in government and NGO settings.
As school guidance and counselors, these professionals provide the need for personal guidance by helping students seek more options and find better and more appropriate ones in dealing with situations of stress or simply decision-making. This may include career options. Sometimes, they bridge between family and the school in resolving conflicts that affect students and their families to the extent of becoming a threat to student development and learning.
As job-hunting coaches, counselors provide avenues for people to find the necessary information and get employment that is suitable to them. The services offered may include technical aspects of how to prepare a curriculum vitae (CV) or a resume, how to speak to employers, and how to present and conduct oneself before employers. These can even cover such details as how to walk and how to groom oneself to meet expectations of prospective employers.
As conflict management providers, these professionals provide the need for principles and theory-based approaches to deal with conflict and deescalate it, if not revolve it positively. Conflicts are everywhere and they are not always that easy to avoid. These professionals provide ways to manage conflict constructively.
As human resources personnel, these professionals provide the needs common to all workplaces and they are employed in almost all workplaces to deal with various employee needs that cover aspects of remunerations, social services, compensations, conflict resolution, and discipline. There is a wide range of services that employment provides for the workforce, which are not directly related to their technical work. They are designed to keep workers happy and cared for as humans. They form part of human resource management.
As marriage counselors, these professionals provide the need for conflict-resolution skills to parties, couples, and children to deal with various stresses and issues that threaten their unity or peaceful coexistence. Sometimes, their work is to reconcile couples, while at other times, they work to help them part ways in the best way possible through available legal instruments such as separation, divorce, or annulment.
As drug abuse and rehabilitation counselors, these professionals meet the need to help people overcome their problems or mitigate some of the most negative effects of drug abuse. Their goal is to facilitate client rehabilitation.
As bereavement counselors, these professionals respond to the need to be helped to go through loss, such as death in the family, in a way that will help prevent depression and other unhealthy ways of dealing or coping with loss such as committing suicide or giving up on life. Through them, clients are empowered to experience recovery or some form of healing that will help them cope well with such human tragedies.
As abused children caretakers and rehabilitation in government and NGO settings, counselors meet the need to facilitate processing and restoration of abused children through recognition and implementation of existing laws and recovery procedures in coordination with relevant units.
The Individual as Client of Counseling
The individual who needs to be helped to manage well a life-changing situation or personal problem or crisis and other support needs may undergo counseling as an individual. This is the common type of counseling: the individualized type. The individual needs capacitation to be able to manage well their unique circumstances, which may be very difficult to endure alone. Problems like alcoholism, loss of job, divorce, imprisonment, and rehabilitation can be a cause of shame and embarrassment. Without acquiring enough strength and ability to go through such life experience, people are vulnerable and may come out worse; even while simply going through natural life transitions like retirement and growing old.
The Group and Organization as Client of Counseling
Groups exist in communities, organizations, students in schools, teachers in school, and departments in workplaces, and such an entity can undergo group counseling to meet counseling needs on that level. The needs can range from desire to reduce conflict or manage it, become more productive as a team, or work better together. Some of the group processes and procedures resemble those that are applied to individuals. However, some are very unique to a group and organizational context.
The Community as Client of Counseling
When people experience something collectively, which may be socially troubling and constitute the danger of blocking their collective capacity to move on, counseling is necessary to be undertaken on a community level. In post-apartheid South Africa, a truth and reconciliation commission was sought to help the restoration of the South African communities. Likewise, in the post-genocide Ruanda, a similar approach was done to help restore trust and confidence in communities that were brutally disrupted by civil war and mass killing.