Full History of Guidance and Counseling In the Philippines (1946 to date)

The historical development of guidance and counseling in the Philippines is similar to that seen in most developing countries. It dates back to the precolonial era.

Unfortunately, there is limited information available on the state of guidance and counseling in the Philippines during the precolonial era, as there are rare written records from that period.

However, it is known that before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century, the Philippines had a rich and diverse culture with a variety of spiritual and healing practices. 

These practices often involved the guidance and counseling of individuals and communities, although the specific methods and approaches likely varied widely across different regions and cultures.

Related: What Is Guidance and Counseling? (Overview, Types, and Scope)

Disclaimer: All information here is gathered from across the web for educational and entertainment purposes only. Kindly confirm their accuracy before using them for sensitive projects. 

Colonial Era

During the colonial era, the Spanish colonizers imposed their own religious and cultural practices on the Philippines, including a focus on Catholicism and Western-style education. 

As a result, the concept of guidance and counseling as it is currently understood in the Philippines began to emerge in the context of Western-style education systems, particularly in the early 20th century.

Since then, the field of guidance and counseling has gradually developed and expanded in the Philippines, with a particular focus on addressing the social and emotional needs of students in the education system.

Brief History of Modern-Day Guidance and Counseling In the Philippines

Modern-day guidance and counseling is thought to have both an inadvertent and incidental history in the Philippines. There were pockets of skeletal guidance services at different places.

At the onset, all that was done was that teachers and principals helped students make decisions on their own and change unwanted habits. Also, they addressed issues with student misbehavior in the classroom and on the playground, such as skipping class or receiving poor or irregular grades.

Afterward, psychologist, Dr. Sinforoso Padilla established a psychological clinic in 1932 and ran it until 1941 out of great concern for situations involving student discipline and emotional, academic, and professional challenges.

Also, counseling assessments were given around the same period to the inmates of Welfareville in 1939 and the prisoners in Bilibid Prison in 1934.

In private schools, psychological tests were and some guidance and counseling services were carried out. Once, the deans from four public schools were chosen and given the responsibility of overseeing the conduct and behavior of pupils who were reported to them by the classroom teachers during the academic year 1939–1940.

The first guidance institute was established in November 1945, and the Bureau of Public School Teachers began sending instructors as pensionados to other countries to observe and research guidance services.

Related: 15 Importance of Guidance and Counseling In Education

Guidance professionals including Dr. Roy G. Bone, Dr. Henry McDaniel of Stanford University, George H. Bennett, UNESCO specialists in guidance, Edward S. Jones, and Dr. Roy G. Bone were behind its achievement, which significantly aided in making Filipino education officials advice-conscious.

Later on, congress suggested the creation of a practical guidance and counseling program in its report from 1951 to help students choose their courses and address their personality issues.

And division superintendents of schools proposed that guidance services be implemented in public schools in 1952. 

The best-developed guidance program was created by the Manila City Schools Division, and provincial divisions have begun to set up similar programs.

In 2004, the state adopted the Guidance and Counseling Act as a policy to support the development, advancement, and protection of the guidance and counseling profession by implementing actions that will lead to the provision of expert, moral, pertinent, efficient, and effective guidance and counseling services for the improvement and enrichment of the lives of both individuals and groups.

Related: 22 Principles and Professional Ethics of Guidance and Counseling

Today, through preventive regulatory measures, programs, and activities that foster their continuing professional development, the state recognizes the significant contribution that guidance counselors make to the development of a nation. 

It also encourages the steady growth of a reservoir of guidance counselors whose competence has been determined by truthful and reliable licensure examinations and whose standards of professional practice and service are world-class and internationally recognized.

In academic institutions lately, the role of the guidance counselor is crucial in helping students who are struggling both academically and personally. 

Yet, due to a paucity of qualified and licensed guidance counselors, not all schools can establish guidance programs. At certain schools, the principal doubles as both an administrator and a guidance counselor. While in other schools, it is the values education teacher that serves as a guidance counselor.

Challenges in the Historical Development of Guidance and Counseling In the Philippines 

The development of guidance and counseling in the Philippines has undergone various challenges throughout history. Some of the significant challenges include:

Colonial Influence

During the Spanish colonization, education in the Philippines was primarily focused on religious instruction. Guidance and counseling were not given much importance, and the concept was relatively new during the American colonial period.

Related: 15 Challenges Affecting Guidance and Counseling In Schools And Solutions 

Lack of Awareness

Guidance and counseling were not widely understood by Filipinos, and some even viewed it as a sign of weakness. There was a stigma attached to seeking counseling, and many people were hesitant to avail of these services.

Limited Resources

The lack of funding and resources hindered the development of guidance and counseling in the Philippines. The number of guidance counselors was insufficient, and they were not adequately trained to provide quality services.

Limited Access

Guidance and counseling services were mainly available in urban areas, and there was limited access to counseling services in rural areas. This limited access made it challenging for students and individuals in rural areas to access these services.

Related: 7 Ways To Advocate for Guidance and Counseling

Cultural Diversity

The Philippines is a diverse country with different cultures and languages, and it was a challenge to develop counseling approaches that were appropriate for all the different cultures.

Related: Traditional Guidance and Counseling (Characteristics, Advantages, and Limitations)

Gender Issues

Gender issues were not given enough attention in the early development of guidance and counseling, and there was a lack of sensitivity, especially to the specific needs of women.


Despite these challenges, the Philippines has made significant strides in the development of guidance and counseling. 

Today, guidance and counseling services are more accessible, and there is increased awareness of the importance of mental health and well-being, although more still needs to be done.

Related: Full History of Guidance and Counseling in Ghana (1957 to date)

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