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1.1 Background to the Study

Guidance and counseling is described as an enlightened process whereby people help people byfacilitating growth and positive adjustment through self-understanding (Kolo, 2001). Akinade(2012) defines guidance and counseling as a process of helping an individual become fullyaware of himself and the ways in which he is responding to the influences of his environment. Itfurther assists him to establish some personal meaning for this behaviour and to develop andclassify a set of goals and values for future behaviour. Corey (1998) regards counseling as aprocess which occurs in one to one relationship between an individual troubled by problems withwhich he cannot cope with and a professional worker whose training and experiences havequalified him to help others reach solution to personal needs. Okoye (2009) viewed counseling as an interactional relationship designed to facilitate the personal development of informationleading to effective decision making and awareness of the self.

Interpretations of the term ‘health promotion’ may vary, but in general, the function of healthpromotion is to help people take responsibility for their health and adopt a lifestyleconducive to good health, to promote behaviour which leads to quick recovery from illness,and to enable them to cope with dying(Akinade, 2012).Corey (1998) noted that counseling for general health promotion and the avoidance of diseases, is bothindividualistic and group-oriented and usually considered an essential component of publichealth. The emphasis is on adopting what are considered good ‘health habits’. Issuesconsidered include good personal and environmental hygiene, good nutrition and safedrinking water, adequate exercise, relaxation and rest, and avoiding high levels of stress andhealth-risk behaviours such as smoking and excess alcohol consumption. These issues can bediscussed openly and without fear of isolation or stigmatization.

Counseling to help a client attain quick recovery during an acute illness, however,usually incorporates more focused information about meeting needs specific to the particular illness(Okoye, 2009). This is often rewarding for the counselor as the time during which the client isintensely dependent is shorter than that required to manage a chronic illness. When thedisease is not life-threatening, stigmatizing and expensive to manage, although it may bechronic, there are fewer demands and less stress on the clients and thecounselor(Okoye, 2009).

Counseling for general health promotion is consistent with efforts to promote ideals ofthe infinite self through actions that are not too probing to the self(Akinade, 2012). It is generally amenableto open discussion and to the adoption of actions which others in the society consider willequally promote their own health. Emphasis is on helping clients adopt actions that areconsistent not only with enhancing the quality of life but also with increasing lifeexpectancy. With counseling for socially accepted, non-stigmatizing illnesses, the emphasisfor the client, the family and the health care workers must be on the whole person(Akinade, 2012).

Counseling for general health promotion emphasizes those things controlled by the clientsand their social group, with assistance from the state, which enhance self-preservation andthus reduce morbidity and postpone mortality(Omebe, 2004).


Omebe (2004) state that a concept can be defined by exclusion or designating what a thing is not- presented below are what counseling is not as identified by Patterson, in Omebe(2004) that counseling:

  1. Is not giving information, through information may be given in counseling.
  2. Is not giving advice, suggestion and recommendation.
  3. Is not influencing attitude, belief by means of persuading leading or convincing.
  4. Is not influencing of behavior by compelling the use of physical force or coercion.
  5. Is not interviewing, while interviewing is involved, it is not synonymous.

A clear look at what counseling is as presented by Shertzer and Stone (2001) and what counseling is not as set out by Patterson (2008) shows that counseling is relationship in which the counselor assists the client to solve his adjustment problems. It is a process that is conducted in privacy where a condition that facilitates behaviouralchange is created. Counseling therefore can have a place in the hospitals.



Hospital is a place where sick people seek medical attention for possible cure. This means that hospital is a place where medical attentions are given to sick people (Uzoeshi 2004). He went further to define hospital as a place that provides hope to people who are ill and seeking medical service. In hospital, the focus is directed towards the client health. Hence, we have health counseling of an individual’s body. It is a state or condition of well-being. Nwankwo (2006) defined health as “a state of complete physical mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” the above definition pictures positive health which involved elimination of specific health problem as well as acquisition of an improved quality to perform at more productive or satisfying levels and the opportunity to live out one’s life span with vigour and Stamina (Nwankwo 2006).

In actual sense, health is a relative term and had been in a state of change. Health counseling is one of the health guidance services; it is a relationship between the client and a counselor in which the central theme is the issue of clients’ health. It involves the identification of client’s health concerns or challenge, discussion on healthy bordering a client and assisting them to draw up plans and take action to overcome or cope with a health problem. The basic concept of the entire health counseling process is an attempt to have clients and their relation help themselves (Ugwuegbulam, 2006). He further stated that health counseling is for anybody that is sick and in hospital. However, counseling in a hospital has sick persons, their attending relation, doctors, nurses, and laboratory scientists among others as possible clients.

Statement of the Problem

One of the principles of Guidance and Counseling is for all, both in school and in non-school setting. Whereas Ugwuebulam (2006) observes that the introduction of counseling in hospitals is still not enjoying much support. The reason partly may be that, it is thought that counseling is meant for schools and learners or that it simply has no place in the hospital, which is a place for treating medical/physiological illness.

However, patients are faced with various emotional and physical problems that may even emanate out of their prolonged disease condition. Some of them are not certain about surviving their medical condition and they need more information about their case. Some of these medical cases are terminal disease condition such as HIV, AIDS, cancer etc.

The doctor who is always busy taking care of inpatient and outpatient, treating wounds, injecting patient and sometimes even inflicting pains on them will not be equipped to give appropriate counseling or therapeutic assistance.

This calls for the help of professional who can use different techniques to make patient find meaning to their life and also think rationally and logically. Most sick people who visit hospital are psychologically depressed because they are not sure of their recovery”. This group of people would want the health personnel in the hospital to become magicians and miracles workers to instantly heal them or the persons they have carried to the hospital. These induce stress on the health care provider.

Also, it has been observed that not much of counseling is taught to health care providers in Nigeria. The doctors and nurses are exposed to more of “prescriptive counseling” which is more of advice giving. The other hospital workers are barren of any formal knowledge of counseling. It was in light of these problems that Federal Medical Centers (FMC) in Nigeria made provisions for counselor in the hospitals but it implementation is yet to be pursued. This study therefore seeks to find out the availability of the counseling unit in Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital and the adequacy of service rendered there.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to examine the need for adequate guidance and counseling service in the Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Determine the guidance and counseling service that exist in Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
  2. Determine the nature of mutual co-operation between the counselor and other health workers in Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
  3. Identify the problems of the counselee in Ebonyi State Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
  4. Examine the counseling strategies to tackle client’s problems in Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.

Significance of the Study



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