Counseling offers a wide range of services to individuals, groups, organizations, and communities. In all the services, several processes are involved from needs assessment to intervention or program designing and a selection of an array of methods available to the profession in dispensing the services appropriately.
Conducting Needs Assessment for Individuals, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Since counseling is essentially an intervention, it is important that counselors accurately understand the needs of their clients. This also helps to align their competencies ‘to the needs of individuals, groups, organizations, and communities that they intend to serve. Needs assessments may range from a systematic observation of symptoms to conducting formal surveys using a questionnaire to determine the felt needs of the potential clients. The results of the needs assessment will become the basis to decide on the range of services to make available to the clients as well as choice of processes to be followed. In some cases, individual counseling may be made while in some cases, group counseling may be considered appropriate. The choice of counselors in terms of areas of specialization (that may be fitting to the context) can be determined after a needs assessment is done. Needs assessment is generally a diagnostic procedure.
Monitoring and Evaluating for Counseling Effectivity
When interventions are designed, the implementation stage follows. To ensure that everything planned is performed accordingly, accurate documentation of all details is necessary to generate data of factual evidence about the implementation. Both the planned and the unplanned occurrences in the process are documented. This is called monitoring. The goal is to ensure that everything is being done as designed based on the diagnostic procedure and resource alignment. Monitoring is done during the implementation phase.
At the end of the period of implementation or at certain marked reasonable period, assessments are needed to determine initial results—what is happening. This is called evaluation. Evaluation examines the results and finds out if the intended results are being met or not. It is the basis to continue or to phase out a program. If monitoring documents the process, evaluation concentrates on the results.