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close this bookEducation for Health (WHO, 1988, 274 p.)
close this folderChapter 4: Health education with individuals
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe purpose of counselling
View the documentRules for counselling
View the documentDifferent types of counselling
View the documentFacilitating decisions and follow-through
View the documentA sample counselling session
View the documentMore practice in counselling


Counselling is one of the approaches most frequently used in health education to help individuals and families.

During counselling, a person with a need and a person who provides support and encouragement (the counsellor) meet and discuss in such a way that the person with a need gains confidence in his or her ability to find solutions to the problems. Counselling relies heavily on communication and relationship skills.

Opportunities for counselling arise whenever we work with individuals and families: with patients at the health centre, with pupils at school, or during a home visit, to name a few. Counselling should be part of the treatment and care given to a sick or troubled person. It is also an important aspect of disease prevention and health promotion because it helps people to understand what they can do, through their own efforts, to avoid illness and to improve their lives.

This chapter describes:

- The purpose of counselling
- The rules to follow when acting as a counsellor
- The different types of counselling
- Ways to facilitate decisions and follow-through
- A sample counselling session
- Suggestions for practice in counselling