Workplace Counselling

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Workplace Counselling – A Necessity

The relationship between work and the psychological well-being of the worker is a topic that has received a lot of attention in recent years. Work stress is seen as a modern epidemic, which effects one in terms of health, absence from work, and costs to the national economy. Studies have reported a wide range of pressures experienced by workers, such as workload, too many tasks, poor work environment, problems with colleagues or superiors, organization culture, lack of career development and many more.

Counselling services represent a major organizational response to the mental and psychological problems endured by employees. Workplace counseling was introduced towards the end of the 19th century where services were provided to help employees on practical issues such as coat-drying and rest-room facilities as well as other wellbeing issues. Since then, workplace counselling has grown dramatically, particularly in the area of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). This trend has been generally welcomed in society, as it has widened the availability of counselling to people who could not normally afford to pay for such a service, and has provided organizations a tangible way of showing care to their employees.

Some of the differences between workplace counselling/EAP work and private practice are described below, and also highlights some of the unique challenges that counselling in organizations poses;
Counsellors cannot apply a private practice model within this context and need to engage with the organization to be effective. Good quality training, which helps counsellors develop flexible approaches, is vital.

Workplace counselling is different to traditional counselling or therapy in the sense that whenever a client is seen, there is one other person present – the organization. This presence is often felt indirectly (for example, a client suffering from stress seeking support from counselling funded by the



References: 1. Counselling at Work (CaW)  - quarterly journal of the BACP Workplace division, www.bacpworkplace.org.uk 2. Barkham, M., Mellor-Clark, J., Connell, J., and Cahill, J. (2006). A core approach to practice-based evidence: A brief history of the origins and applications of the CORE-OM and CORE System. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research, 6 (1):3-15

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