A widely accepted general definition of counseling states that: Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.
The British Association for Counselling (BAC) further defined that "counselling is the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self- knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources. The overall aim is to provide an opportunity to work towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully.
Counselling relationships will vary according to need but may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insights and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others. The counsellor's role is to facilitate the clients work in ways that respect the client's values, personal resources and capacity for self-determination".
As stated above, the process of counseling could involve an individual or a couple. In the context of the counseling sessions, the person or the couple have the opportunity to express themselves freely and openly, in a way which is not possible with friends or family. The next step is for them to learn more effective and flexible ways of expression, communication and conflict resolution.