Knowledge of observation in becoming a good counsellor

Every human being has the tendency to carry out observation of one sort or the other as it is part of the daily life. During the creation or invention of technology, the scientist took observation of most the events that happened which helped in the establishment of facts that were propounded into theory and later became laws that are scientifically proved. In the same vein, the job of a counsellor requires full concentration which would not work without full observation of events and happenings to the people concerned.

Observation is carried out through the use of one of the sense of organ of the body which is the eyes. Every good eye is expected to keep notice of events as they happen in various fields as this would assist in making a good account of past events, present and can be used to further attend to future issues. Counsellors are expected to have ‘eagle eyes’ as their job requires the use of their sensory organs for diagnosis. During the class, observation as a topic was expressed in many terms as it relates to this field of work and this would be analysed in this assignment expressing this as it would lead to becoming a good counsellor.

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Therefore, this assignment is set to focus on the following:

A quick recap on what has been learnt on observation

And how the knowledge acquired help in becoming a counsellor.


According to, observation is defined in many ways amongst which include; ‘an act or instance of noticing or perceiving’, ‘an act or instance of regarding attentively or watching’, ‘the faculty or habit of observing or noticing’, ‘an act or instance of viewing or noting a fact or occurrence for some scientific or other special purpose e.g. the observation of blood pressure in a patient’.

( assessed on 20/03/11)

Investigation of any sort involves some element of observation in order to achieve the desired result. It is not just observational studies that use observation. A good example is when a client visits a counsellor on advice on how to quit smoking or any bad habit, it is a general point of discuss that the counsellor will have to consider some important facts deduced from their discussion which would assist during the investigation and on how to proffer final solution to the client.

Observation is an act that allows the parties involve seeing the actions that are being taken by others. A counsellor in carrying out its activities would ‘see through’ the actions portrayed by the parties or people he is interviewing. A counsellor can get this done when the client is asked some questions and this would help the counsellor in diagnosis of the problems the client is facing. This does not allow the counsellor a lot of information about what the participant or client is thinking or feeling. Observation during counselling session only allows for the actions to be seen and allows the client to be heard. In order for the counsellor to manage the session properly, it will allow for enough time as this process is time consuming. It is also requires the intelligence of the counsellor as sometimes actions put up by the respondent might be the actual expected as was said and this would lead to a great deal of confusion. Therefore, this requires that the personnel should be adequately trained in order to measure up to the required standard and possessing the knowledge and skills needed.


An observation is an act that is noticed directly by the senses, and this is majorly through the eyes. There are two different types of observations. These are:

A qualitative observation is an observation that deals with the attributes of an object. These include colour, shape, texture, etc.

A quantitative observation is such an observation that can be expressed and measured in concrete numerical quantity. For example, weight, temperature, height, length, and mass.

In order for a counsellor to use effectively the system of observation in carrying out its work, there is need to understand the various types of observation that exists. These include:

Structured and unstructured observations.

Participant and non-participant observations.

Structured observation allows the counsellor to record the behaviour of the client as he is being examined. This would enable the counsellor to have detailed information about the client which might also be used for further diagnosis. Structured observations generally provide quantitative data and this is only achievable through the use of recording devices.

An unstructured observation requires the counsellor to record the interview conducted to the client during the counselling session and this can be done through the use of video camera. This may not be effective where the required recording equipment is not available for use and this can definitely affect the analysis of the interview so as to know what more diagnosis would be made. Here the respondent might not even have the knowledge that he is being interviewed.

Furthermore with unstructured observations there is a possibility that the counsellor and the team members would record the most eye-catching or noticeable behaviours which might not be the most relevant or important behaviours to record.

In a participant observation the counsellor is fully involved in the questioning and answer session with the respondent as he (the counsellor) will deal with the issues using the information put together from what the client has said. This system can be regarded as being very useful as it allows for a participative forum where the counsellor would listen to the scenario while present with the client and not working from a seconded information paper or from a third party.

In a non-participant observation, the counsellor does not form part in the activity being observed. This means the counsellor only works on the information which the client involved might have written down in order to carry out his/her advice.


There are various forms of counselling besides dealing with emotional difficulties as treated in the class. Counselling can also deal with issues about loss of confidence and how to regain it, behavioural pattern in human, social behaviour and others which include:

Counselling in the work place.

Quite a good number of people at places of work require adequate and professional counselling which would help them in managing their work with private/personal issues of life. It helps people identify issues, difficulties and problems that are caused by thoughts, feelings and emotions and encourages them to respond and make progress towards changing for good and keeping the unpleasant issues behind them. Some organisations maintain a counselling department which assists members of staff on various issues while some refer staffers to the practitioners for onward resolutions.

Counselling those that can cause self harm due to problems.

Many face challenges which they could not handle or resolve in their myopic and restless state. However, counselling helps to put this right. The counsellor could help them in many ways amongst which is the full or partial study of their behavioural pattern and acts during the counselling unit.

Counselling to those who are drugs and alcohol addicts and those who are HIV positive.

The counsellor work hand in hand with the UK government to assist in reducing the number of drugs and alcohol addicts in the country. More also are those that are infected with HIV which is a dangerous disease.

Counselling young people.

Many young people who are school leavers or jobless and those who wants to make a career with those who are prepared to go the university all need counselling. The trained counsellor on youths and adolescents work with these set of people in order to guide them on the right part to follow so as to achieve their desired purpose of life.

Counselling through the GP.

United Kingdom is a place where the medical team work together with other social workers in order to bring succour to many lives. Most of the surgery in UK has the counselling department that help people who going through trauma of whatever form to get out of their present state. Some young ladies who might also want to know how to prevent unwanted pregnancy could be helped in this department. People with mental disorder get to use the counsellors on a routine basis for advice which can help recuperate them.

Counselling on eating disorder.

Eating habit is another issue that if not controlled may result into health hazard. Many people have found themselves to blame on many occasions due to lack of discipline on how to eat. This sometimes leads to obesity, constipation and other forms of illness. Though this might sound strange why one would need the help of a counsellor to get out of this. But, it is necessary because it has turned to a habit. Counsellors could help monitor through a close observation on the patient/client so as to measure the level of changes or outcome of the counselling given to him/her.


The role of observation in the system of a counsellor cannot be overemphasized. Observation has played a key role in the practice and has allowed a great deal of communication flow between the counsellor and its clients/patients/respondents. However, some of these would be highlighted below:

Counselling helps to clean the mind of individual from thoughts and actions which if not well catered for would leave the mind dull, anxious and confused. This can also lead to catastrophes like hanging, careless death, suicide, dejection. To this therefore, a counsellor’s ability to observe the client critically would help in reducing the chances of ill fate.

It alleviates fears and problems that fill the heart. When a patient is put under close observation by a counsellor, this will enable the counsellor to have an in depth knowledge of the problems the patient/client is facing. Therefore, the need to maintain a follow up even after discharge of the patient/client from the counselling unit.

Subjecting a client under close observation would help the diagnosis and analysis of problems that are affecting the individual. Observation play a key role here as it allow the counsellor one on one interaction with the client and also enable the individual to open up most times.

Most of the events of life are brought to understanding after they must have been seen by the eyes. Observation enables the counsellor to have a defined schedule of solutions to administer to various people with different problems as they approach the unit.

It enhances communication. Counsellors would gain a better chance with the client as it is going to assist them to communicate even better with other people. This is because they would be capable of assessing the feelings of other people towards certain subjects and altering opinions consequently. It also provides an improved understanding of rivals and friends.

It also helps the counsellor to identify material issues in the life of the individual.

Observation help improve skills of decision making. Counsellors get more understanding of their clients or members of staff when there is an opportunity to place a close look on them. This would lead to better chances on knowing how to tackle or advise the individual involve.

It enhances awareness.

Observation is a vital tool in counselling and coaching. This brings the counsellor closer to the individual that requires the attention of the counsellor. People of various ages and gender like the youths/young ones, the adult, the vulnerable, the weak and the strong all need the care of the counsellor.

Therefore, from the afore-mentioned, it is obvious that observation assist the counsellor in having a better and concentrated insight into whatever situations brought before it at every point in time. The success of the counselling unit also greatly depends on its ability to use the sensory organs to collect facts which would be helpful to the individual in question.

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