Guidance and counseling constitute two interrelated but equally distinguished concepts and services. Counseling is the heart while guidance is the body of the program. Guidance: Sheltzer & Stone (1974) define guidance as “The process of helping an individual understand himself/herself and the world”. Counseling:Hoxter (1998) described counseling as a method of relating and responding to others with the aim of providing them with opportunities to explore, to clarify, and to work towards living in a more personally satisfying and resourceful way. Counselling may be applied to individuals, couples, families, or groups and may be used in widely differing contexts and settings.
The overarching hallmark of the guidance and counseling program has been developed around a philosophical and professional emphasis that include among other things:
- Imparting skills, knowledge and practical based training in identifying and developing individual and social resources and helping individuals more effectively use these resources (Lopez et al. 2006).
- It is concerned with the whole person in all areas of human psychological functioning involving feeling, thinking, personal, marital and sexual relations and work and recreational activity.
- It emphasizes the primary level of prevention which is “the creation of an environment which prevents an individual from developing psychological disorders.
- The trainee is equipped with resources in an attempt to change communities for the better” or it also intervenes “with individuals who have exhibited the preliminary indicators of some form of psychological deviant behaviors” (Nathan & Harris, 1975).
Therefore, this program is designed to train and produce professional guidance counselors to work not with very seriously disturbed people but with normal people facing adjustment issues of their lives in non- medical settings. These may include problems from developmental (life span), environmental, and cultural perspectives such as but not limited to educational and vocational career/work adjustment concerns; vocational choice, and school/work/retirement transitions; relationship difficulties, including marital and family difficulties; substance abuse problems; learning and skill deficits; stress management and coping; organizational problems; adaptation to physical disabilities, disease, or injury; personal/social adjustment; personality dysfunction; and mental disorders (APA & Lichtenberg, 1999).
The Ugandan society has undergone tremendous transitions in the social, political, economic, cultural and technological (IT) spheres of life since independence. The contexts of the change are increasing and have been so rapid creating insecure situations often leading to compromised life settings and poor functioning in people’s lives. It is also a truism that the guidance and counseling industry in Uganda is inadequately conceptualized (Nsereko, 2002). This is evident from the poor infrastructure built up in terms of services provision and their utilization, the inadequate human resource capacity, funding and support, the proliferation of antisocial behaviours e.g. suicides, violence, family instability, incessant strikes on university campuses, the lack of fit in career choice etc. Guidance and Counseling services are so vital that they are required by people at all stages of life. This program attempts to address the important missing gap of training professional services providers to address guidance and counseling needs of society and also to serve as an avenue for services awareness for individuals and society. Graduates will join the world of work under various settings such as in schools, adult guidance, youth and community work, third level career services, employee welfare, industry, health sector, rehabilitation services, and private practice. The program is designed in a generic manner touching the most identified societal need areas that call for the guidance and counseling services while emphasizing a need for specialization at an advanced stage of training.
- To produce professionally sound guidance workers and counselors working in a variety of settings.
- To equip students with the appropriate guidance and counseling training skills, knowledge and for effective service delivery in a very competitive changing society.
- The overall goal of this program is to train guidance counselors who are academically sound and practically relevant to the diverse nature of the guidance and counseling needs of society.
- Develop an insight into the evolution of guidance and counseling industry based on its historical, sociological and psychological perspectives.
- Develop competencies in guidance and counseling services in various situations and settings through skills and knowledge acquisition.
- Build a clear understanding and appreciation of counseling as a professional endeavor in the service of individuals and groups that need help to grow into fully functioning persons.
- Provide the theoretical and practical approach to train guidance and counseling trainees for professional efficiency.
- Provide services through various fora e.g. internship and fieldwork as an awareness drive for guidance and counseling industry in Uganda
The program is set to be self-sustaining.
They are readily available since they are centrally procured by the University.
The program is expected to share the available physical facilities with other programs in the University.