Social work and human services should translate into viable solutions for the clients and user of their services. The role of the counsellor is to facilitate the process of unlocking the doors of the prison caused for a great variety of reasons.
O'Connor et al state that "The challenge of social work practice lies in its complexity and diversity. On a daily basis social workers engage with people, groups and communities who are most damaged by social and economic structures and by the consequent ways of living and coping. Social workers often feel limited in their roles because of the particular policies of government or the organizations that employ them and many are overworked because of staff shortages or lack of funding." (O'Connor et al, 2006, p. ix).
So the role of a counsellor has to be aligned with the role of social work practice that "seeks to promote human well-being and to redress human suffering and injustice. Practitioners aim to mobilize the forces of the individual, community and state to address the processes by which individuals and groups are marginalized or diminished in their capacity to participate as citizens. Such practice maintains a particular concern for those who are most exclude from social, economic or cultural processes or structures." (O'Connor et al, 2006, p. 1).
On the other hand, as Chenoweth and McAuliffe advise to the social work students the following remarks are pertinent in the context of acquiring fundamental counselling skills:
"Prepare yourself to be challenged about your views of the world and your morals and values. You will learn to articulate your position on many importan tareas of social interest as you become more immersed in the learning experiece and more exponed to the viewpoints of others.
"Be prepared to challenge others and learn to do so in a constructive way, mindful at all times that differences in the cultural experiences of others must be respected. Listening to different experiences and perspectives helps you become more aware of cultural sensitivities and to clarify your views and opinions." (Chenoweth and McAuliffe, 2005, p. 3)
As it can be seen from the statements below individual counselling is a real challenge that has to be tackle with an open mind and flexibility in order to be of help to the clients and users of human services:
"Clients and users of social services will teach you the most you will do in the future. It is only through listening to the stories of those who have experienced loss, trauma, disability, alienation, discrimination or isolation that you can ever hope to respect the uniqueness of an individual's experiences. These people will also share their experiences of hope, optimism, resilience, survival and growth, giving you an understanding of the importance of people realising their potential and the power of change processes. Not only are clients to be found in hospital wards or in homeless shelters -they are within reaching distance of all of us, in our social circles, our familias, our workplaces. Learn to listen, and listen to