Definition of counselor in English:


(British counsellor)


  • 1A person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems.

    ‘a marriage counselor’
    • ‘Seminarians are now closely vetted and assessed by professional personnel including psychologists and counsellors.’
    • ‘This tragedy has provided the impetus to hire more school counselors, psychologists, and social workers.’
    • ‘After being treated by doctors for physical injury, the victims are treated by the counsellors for psychological injury.’
    • ‘At a time when there were far fewer social workers, guidance counselors, and psychologists, parishioners flocked to their priest in times of trouble.’
    • ‘Most burn centres employ social workers, vocational counsellors, and psychologists as part of the multidisciplinary burn team.’
    • ‘Pain rehabilitation programs often employ a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, psychologists, counselors and physical therapists.’
    • ‘Find a counselor or therapist who specializes in social skills to help you develop the abilities you seek.’
    • ‘I could be a criminal psychologist, a guidance counsellor, a social worker.’
    • ‘So, talking to friends or family, or especially to professional counselors who are trained to help people process feelings, can be most beneficial.’
    • ‘So we've actually put in place a helpline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for people to call, where they'll get professional assistance from people who are trained counsellors.’
    • ‘People such as counsellors, psychologists and behavioural therapists may show you relaxation techniques and other ways to deal with stress.’
    • ‘Dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors moved in, and art and play therapy have been used to great effect, trauma experts said.’
    • ‘They may not know the differences in training between psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers.’
    • ‘A counselor or school psychologist can help identify practical solutions that make it easier for the child and family to cope day by day.’
    • ‘But in these studies the ‘talking therapy’ is applied by protocol using specially trained counsellors who are often monitored for adherence to the protocol.’
    • ‘Most depressed children and teens should talk to a counselor, therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist about what is making them feel the way they are feeling.’
    • ‘The interview was administered by substance abuse counselors or study personnel trained in interview techniques by the counselors and a clinical psychologist.’
    • ‘Although the participants in this study were not therapists or counselors, this report illustrated that humor training can be conducted and evaluated empirically.’
    • ‘The findings of the present study should help psychologists, counsellors and lawyers to give useful advice to parents, highlighting a child-focused perspective.’
    • ‘She has trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist.’
    adviser, consultant, guide, mentor, confidant, confidante
    instructor, coach, teacher, tutor, guru, expert, specialist
    therapist, guidance counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist, analyst, psychotherapist, mind doctor, head doctor, healer
    shrink, trick cyclist, head shrinker
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[often with adjective] A person who gives advice on a specified subject.
      ‘a debt counselor’
      • ‘Above the seats across from where I was sitting were advertisements for wart removal cream, invisible braces, and a debt counselor.’
      • ‘Last November, a drug and alcohol counsellor came to the centre to run a family program and provide training.’
      • ‘He said: ‘If I was a bit younger I would want to become a drug and alcohol counsellor.’’
      • ‘Ignore all the usual advice about careful writing and proofreading given by every job counselor you know.’
      • ‘This is a heartfelt and very practical book, which includes chapters with advice for pregnancy center counselors.’
      • ‘Based on your income and debt, certified credit counselors will contact and negotiate with all your creditors to agree on a consolidated monthly payment amount.’
      • ‘I am no bereavement counsellor, but in the last few months, I have learned a lot about ‘coping’ after my mother passed away.’
      • ‘An abortive attempt at a psychology degree followed, then he jostled with the idea of becoming a drugs and drink counsellor.’
      • ‘According to one bereavement counsellor, humour is often used by clients as a way of dealing with grief.’
      • ‘Mary and the agency counselor meet each week to discuss the progress of his groups.’
      • ‘As a qualified pet bereavement counsellor I would like to help pet owners compassionately and in confidence.’
      • ‘There is only one sexual assault counsellor for the region.’
      • ‘As I said, you classed the support you got from the occupational health welfare counsellor as being brilliant.’
      • ‘A canine behaviour counsellor, he was also brought to the programme by the Blue Cross.’
      • ‘The 50-year-old dog trainer and behaviour counsellor has gambled her future on the venture.’
      • ‘Before leaving, they would be given a friendly lecture by a trained addiction counsellor.’
      • ‘Guests can look forward to hot food and entertainment - offers of which would be gratefully received - as well as advice on services from experts including drugs and alcohol counsellors and housing advisers.’
      • ‘For example, making an appointment with a debt counselor, applying for a part-time job and asking for a raise are all pathways for getting on top of your finances.’
      • ‘‘We had our own addiction counsellor in here,’ he laughs.’
      • ‘We later had a behavioral health counselor talk to him, but Jeremy said he didn't want help - he could handle things on his own.’
      counsellor, mentor, guide, consultant, consultee, confidant, confidante, right hand man, right hand woman, aide, helper
      View synonyms
  • 2North American A person who supervises children at a camp.

    • ‘Many, many years ago I worked as a camp counselor at an Easter Seal camp.’
    • ‘One thing is certain, if campers were being teased or being picked on, this boy is one counselor who would do something about it.’
    • ‘The first email I received was from my own camp counselor.’
    • ‘You can give your kids a fun holiday with all kind of games, talent shows parties, movies, crafts, arts, and a world of fun under the supervision of camp carnival counselors.’
    • ‘He had lined up a dream camp counselor job last June, but honors pre-calculus homework turned his summer into a headache.’
    • ‘You are the campers' counselor and friend, not their contemporary or peer.’
    • ‘And counselors teach sportsmanship as well as sports.’
    • ‘Hey, not to bust up the fun, but we have an hour to get back to camp to relieve our poor junior counselors.’
    • ‘I would like you to meet some of the junior counselors.’
    • ‘Many of my past campers serve as counselors at my Summer Camp.’
    • ‘We had an excellent arts and crafts counselor who knew a great deal about pattern making and sewing.’
    • ‘Working as a counselor at a summer camp in northern Wisconsin, he was invited to a friend's family's lake cottage.’
    • ‘Redirecting our focus to encompass both the camper and counselor enhances the camp experience for all involved.’
    • ‘As a camp counselor working with inner-city children, I tried to imagine the life these campers live.’
    • ‘Camps should gather specific information about each child and use that in meetings with counselors and supervisors.’
    • ‘After so many other thrills, another counselor says she will take the kids for a walk in the forest.’
    • ‘But when an adult supervisor and other counselors organized a tug-of-war, Allan's instincts told him to refuse to join in.’
    • ‘There is one counselor for every three or four kids.’
    educator, tutor, instructor, pedagogue, schoolteacher, schoolmaster, schoolmistress, master, mistress, governess, educationalist, educationist
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  • 3US Irish A trial lawyer.

    • ‘Now she was working as a receptionist and sometime counselor, but she was planning to become a paralegal and, after that, an attorney.’
    barrister, lawyer, counsellor, legal practitioner
    View synonyms
  • 4A senior officer in the diplomatic service.

    • ‘I was ushered into one of the meeting rooms and met by the embassy's press counsellor.’
    • ‘By the end of 1983, he was back in the diplomatic service, as counsellor at the Irish embassy in London.’
    • ‘He is the press counselor at the Chinese embassy in Washington.’
    • ‘Those with interpersonal intelligence are sensitive to others; think of diplomats and counselors as examples.’


A counselor is someone who gives advice or counsel, especially an attorney. A councilor is a member of a council, such as a town or city council. Confusion arises because many counselors sit on councils, and councilors are often called on to give counsel


Middle English (in the general sense adviser): from Old French conseiller, from Latin consiliarius, and Old French conseillour, from Latin consiliator, both from consilium consultation or advice.