The Three Dimensional Model of Counseling

The Three Dimensional Model of Counseling

A team of counsellors who were working for WICHE, Led by Clyde Parker  (1974), proposed a three dimensional model of counsellor function. This model was recognized to be of both practical as well as heuristic value.

For a long time the counselling relationship was described as a face to face and one to one relationship between the counsellor and counselee. But this view has lost much of its force under the mounting pressure of the need for economizing effort and maximizing effect. This has led to outreach intervention, in the form of group counselling. Thus the intervention earlier believed to be only at the individual level has now widened progressively to deal with

1) the individual

2) primary group

3) associational group

4) the institution or community.

This is the first dimension. The target of intervention could be any one of the four. The counsellor may work with the individual, trying to alleviate his personal suffering, or he may work with primary group, such as the family or a small group comprising less than ten members, helping to clarify goals and objective or helping to improve communication channels and the like. Sometimes a counsellor may be called upon to work with a larger group, such as a class in a school.

In this context the counsellor may be participant observer or may help the group apply itself to finding practicable solutions to problems involving teamwork. It may also be necessary for the counsellor to work with an institution or a community.

The purpose of intervention at anyone of the four levels described above may be for

1) remediation

2) prevention

3) acquisition or learning and


This comprises the second dimension. Remediation may involve overcoming a behavioural problem or a habit, such as drug addiction or alcoholism or an adjustmental problem. Prevention may comprise prophylactic action involving a programme of mental hygiene or
mental health. The purpose of intervention may not be one of remediation or prevention. It may involve the acquisition, learning or development of new skills and techniques, knowledge and understanding, attitudes and interests.

The third dimension of the counsellor action concerns the method of intervention. This could be

1) conventional or traditional direct service

2) consultation and training and

3) media approach.

The objective of counselling could be the alleviation of individual suffering, the choice of a
vocational career etc. The method of intervention could be one of assisting the individual directly by discussing with him, by giving him necessary information or counselling him in a face-to- face situation. In recent times another method of intervention through consultation and training has come to be recognized as practical method. In this method of intervention the counsellor may be counselling a small group of individuals and training them, who would in their turn implement the intervention programme to wider or larger groups of individual. The third method of intervention is aimed at much a wider section of the community through different media such as newspaper articles, books, radio, film shows and television.

The three dimensions of counsellor functioning, therefore, concern

1) the target individual, primary group, associational group, and institution or community

2) intervention (the goal or objective of assistance)-remediation, prevention, acquisition and development (learning) and

3) the methods of intervention-direct service, consultation and training and media approach.