7 Ways To Advocate for Guidance and Counseling in Nigeria

At the center of the growth of guidance and counseling in the nation is advocacy. Training better counselors, getting more people on board, and even the professionalization of the “profession” will not bring satisfying results if there is no adequate advocacy.

In this article, I have highlighted some smart ways we, as counselors, can infiltrate society and champion our course for the growth of our profession.

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is the total of all the activities that are undertaken to promote a cause. The dictionary defines it as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others.

When you are advocating for counseling, it means you are taking action to increase the acceptance, prevalence, and thriving of guidance and counseling at any level.

How to Advocate for Guidance and Counseling

1. Leverage trends

Leveraging trends is a powerful way of getting the world to listen to the cry of counselors. Mostly, society does not embrace professional guidance and counseling because they have not seen how impactful it can be to them. And because they have this predisposition towards counseling, our calls and cries are usually not well received.

But whenever a pressing issue arises or there’s a trending case of injustice, since the attention of the world at that point is in that direction, it can be used as an avenue to advocate for counseling as a solution or prevention.

For example, when a rape or domestic violence case goes viral, the world will pay attention more when you show them how counseling can be institutionalized to help future occurrences of that. But not only negative trends can be used. Anything trending at all works.

2. Through radio and TV programs

As much as the internet is fast becoming the primary media in our world today, there is still an appreciable number of people who can only be reached through radio and television. In fact, if you want to get a message across to the grassroots and rural areas, the most effective means is still the radio, then television.

Having radio dramas, interviews, and talk shows that sensitize people about the benefits they can get from professional guidance and counseling, is an investment that will have long-term effects.

Even if people don’t immediately begin to patronize counselors, they will begin to get acquainted with the fact that counseling exists and they will join the spreading of the word, and will eventually resort to counseling when situations arise.

Think about how the HIV/AIDS message was spread in Nigeria and you will appreciate the power of strategic radio and TV programs. One person might not be on every radio station but just one radio station will still do a great job in that particular environment.

3. Partnership with religious organizations

Another platform that has the attention of multitudes is religious organizations. If counselors can convince religious leaders and make them see how counseling is helpful and isn’t against their religious beliefs, the leaders can open them up to a wide market of stalwarts.

Many mental and psychological issues that need professional counseling and therapy are being covered under the carpet because of erroneous religious beliefs.

But if religious leaders can show their support for and endorsement of professional counseling to their members, many people will come out for help.

4. Community-based outreaches

Although there are several means to reach communities, none will have a direct impact as actually going into the communities themselves with sensitization programs.

Community leaders can be very instrumental in the embracing of guidance and counseling in their communities and even foster the establishment of counseling centers in their communities.

Specialized sensitization sessions can be held e.g. girls only, youth only, husbands only, and so on, so each demographic can see how counseling can benefit them based on their unique peculiarities and challenges.

5. School sensitization programs

Two approaches can be taken in schools to benefit guidance and counseling. The first is to sensitize them about guidance and counseling and how it can help them handle their challenges.

The second is to reform and strengthen school career guidance programs to find students who are interested and whose personalities are fitting to be counselors and therapists. There are still many citizens of Nigeria who don’t know that guidance and counseling is a career option.

Intensifying advocacy at the school level cannot be overemphasized since the orientation people tend to hold about life, what works, and societal structures are usually formed at school.

If students don’t see counseling as a thing while in school, it would take extra effort to help them appreciate it after school. That’s where we are currently with the older generation.

Related: 20 Roles of Counselors in Schools (Secondary, Elementary, and Tertiary)

6. Partnership with publishing companies

This is another avenue to reach children. I can still remember while in secondary school that some chapters of our textbooks contained topics that weren’t taught by our teachers but we went on to read by ourselves because they contained ideas that were new to us or interesting to read.

While the best practice is for the government to include teaching on guidance and counseling in the school curriculum for subjects like civic education (or similar), counselors can still reach out to book publishers for them to include a chapter on guidance and counseling in textbooks in a captivating way that will pull students to read.

The idea here is to get students intimate with the fact that guidance and counseling are part of our society.

7. Movies

Like reaching out to book publishers, counselors can reach out to movie producers to include counseling in some of their movie storylines. These include both English and our native language movies.

If counselors are seen in productive action in movies, it sows a seed of a possibility people can resort to when faced with similar challenges. Personally, I got intimated with the possibility of handing over the stress of your wedding ceremony to an event planner by movies.

8. Sponsorship of entertainment events (Bonus)

Entertainment is another platform that has the attention of many. Banners and billboards advocating for counseling can be introduced to the event venues of entertainers.

This both endorses counseling with the entertainer’s social reputation, as well as creates awareness about the involvement of guidance and counseling in our everyday lives.


I have only highlighted these 7 means to open you up to the possibilities for advocacy that exist. You can certainly get more avenues. The key is to simply find where people’s attention is and put your message there.

See 10 Ways To Make Money As A Counsellor or Therapist in Nigeria

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