The main aim of practitioners of guidance is to provide the client with a framework within which to identify their strengths, weaknesses and practically relate these to their goals and ambitions - both for their lives and careers…
A sound understanding of theory is of utmost importance to a practitioner of guidance towards developing such clarity of thought and processes. Theory provides structural pillars for defining the client's situation, around which the practitioner can give practical and actionable advice.
It is very important for any practitioner who has taken on a counselling role, to disassociate from his/her own personal emotions, values and judgements. The guidance practitioner has to have complete objectivity in order to achieve a complete and unbiased understanding of the client's situation.
Theories are the essential tool with which the practitioner as an individual can use to classify and understand the client's individual situation with objectivity. With the aid of theory a practitioner can be fair in evaluating a situation outside his/her personal context. The methodology and analysis leading out of theory provides great objectivity to the practice of guidance.
ii. Gives a better understanding of how disparate personal histories influence decisions and choices
Apart from helping the practitioner disassociate from the personal context, theory also helps the practitioner in developing an understanding of the various factors that impinge on the individual during the decision making process. These factors could be either articulated or benign. Theory helps the practitioner to correlate factors like social, economic and ethnic background and parental influences etc. to the personality of the individual and hence the decisions that he/she takes. By developing a more contextual fingerprint for each individual, with the help of theory, the practitioner is better equipped to provide more pertinent and workable guidance solutions.
iii. Keeps them ethically and practically grounded
Sound knowledge of theory gives the practitioner of guidance the requisite understanding of the ethical and practical implications of decisions. It is very important for a practitioner to be aware of these factors even if they are not immediately apparent, since the person in the guiding role has to take responsibility for the consequence of the actions and decisions of the client related to their careers or education. Theory is based on verifiable fact, which is why an understanding of it, gives the practitioner the adequate wherewithal to weigh the plausibility of decisions on both ethical and practical parameters.
iv. Provides the foundations for a disciplined practice which is coherent and un-prejudiced
All the above mentioned benefits of theory are instrumental in creating the foundation of a fair and effective guidance practice. With the framework of theory in place, a practitioner can involve himself/herself with greater integrity and objectivity towards solving the client's problems.
Even though there are many theories of guidance it is important for the practitioner to crystallise his/ her viewpoint so that each individual case can be guided through predetermined, though not rigid, frameworks of the practitioner's understanding.
Hence, it is impossible to ignore the importance of theory to practitioners of guidance. The only caveat that one should keep in mind is that theory should not be relegated to a cerebral level. Instead it is very important for practitioners to attune theories to the current requirements and dynamics of the community in particular, and the society as a whole.
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