The Importance of Workplace Counselling (and the Know-How Guide)

October 8, 20193:30 pm2341 views

An employee said that he becomes very anxious due to heavy workload and complicated family responsibilities. Thus, he started taking medicine to calm himself down but somehow, in a very critical moment, the medicine didn’t work.

On the other side, a caring human resource director asked the anxious employee and conducted a little survey. In his survey, he found that there was a worrying trend of loss of work-life balance that starts hampering productivity and team wellbeing. Thus, he began offering workplace counselling to employees and saw ‘good’ changes in his work environment.

The importance of workplace counselling

Workplace counselling is more needed than ever. With a more diverse and technology-driven workplace that demands employees to be on “always-on” mode, individuals need a helping hand to help them manage work-life balance. Counselling is a low-cost yet effective solution for that. 

See also: Workplace Burnout: 3 Tell-tale Signs Your Job is Killing You

In that case, smaller businesses and startups have invited team counsellor to help employees cope with a stressful day at work, Apoorva Puranik reported. Employees always feel that their productivity was affected by stress and claimed that they suffer from workplace depression in some form or another.

Stress is a symptom of a more serious issue and reaching to the root of that stress is needed to help employees cope with their mental pressure. Archana Bisht told Puranik that work problems can be discussed with colleagues, but personal issues could be more difficult to be exposed publicly. Therefore, due to the rising stress level, businesses began to adopt HR policy where workers can access customised assistance programmes offering professional counselling and consultation. The result was that employees stress reduced and productivity improved.

Internal counselling

Further, workplace counselling can be done when indicators, such as having difficulties in meeting deadlines, inability to concentrate, or the level of pain becomes uncomfortable in employees, occur. These indicators can be spotted from employee’s behaviour in the workplace that is monitored by human resource members, line manager, supervisors, or employee group.

The practice of counselling itself can be conducted by professionals invited to your organisation or internal teams such as managers or human resource members. However, if it is done internally from managers or human resources, they should be trained first (by professionals if possible). The internal counsellor should also have some basic ability of counsellor such as follows:

  • listening skills,
  • communications skills and effective language patterns,
  • ability to defuse anger and frustration,
  • ability to identify limitations, and to work with others at resolving difficulties,
  • skills and knowledge to minimise stress in the workplace.

In addition, some growth and development such as emotional intelligence, marriage enrichment, and workplace awareness workshops can be conducted by the counsellor regularly to eliminate workplace issues such as stress and depression.

Counselling approach

“Sometimes, just the act of venting is helpful. Counselling provides a safe haven for precisely that kind of free-ranging release: You can say things in the therapist’s office, with the therapist present, that would be incendiary or hurtful in your living room.” – Laura Wasser

1. How to start and to end counselling

According to The Counsellor Guide, beginning a counselling program can be tricky. For example, a counsellor cannot begin with judgmental words or open with a too broad or too specific sentence. The beginning should always start by evaluating or assessing the employees. The evaluation will help you to understand the problems to address and improve.

Then, you can offer guidance and encouragement, as well as provide additional support when needed. You can also set your employee homework so they continue to experience empowerment after the counselling session is over.

2. Sedona method

Sedona method is a personal development approach that allows the letting go of negative emotions. This method can be successfully used in tandem with supportive counselling practices. To use this method, you should identify core emotional issues, thoughts, or feelings of counselee by asking a series of questions that encourage the acceptance and release of negative emotions which then is replaced with positive thought or feeling.

The questions proposed during the Sedona method are commonly in the form of could, would and when. For example, could you welcome what you are feeling? Could you let your feeling of (i.e. stress) go?

3. Cognitive therapy

The cognitive approach in counselling can help counsellors understand the level of depression or stress or negative feeling counselee feel by focusing on the belief that our thoughts are influenced by how we feel. There is a number of cognitive therapies, including cognitive-behavioural, reality, as well as rational-emotive and transactional analysis.

However, in this approach, counsellor should focus on the present only, meaning that the past that influences current thinking is acknowledged but not concentrated on. Assertiveness exercises, role-playing and homework are also part of the supportive one-to-one sessions you could ever give to employees.

Read also: How Tech in the Workplace Could Worsen Employee’s Mental Health (And What You Can Do About It)

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