Avoiding giving advice in telephone counselling for children and young people: empowerment as practical action

Kids Helpline is an Australian 24-hour telephone counselling helpline for children and young people up to the age of 25 years old. The service operates with the core values of empowerment for clients, and the use of child-centred practices,one aspect of which is a non-directive approach highlighted by the avoidance of overt advice giving. Through analysis of a single call to the helpline, this chapter demonstrates how counsellors actively manage and minimise the normative and asymmetric properties of advice in the course of helping clients develop options for change. In doing so we illustrate the practical relevance and enactment of abstract institutional policies and discuss the interactional affordances of institutional constraints on practice.