Counselling and psychotherapy

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Health Assured team

20 May 2021

You have a legal responsibility for all your employees, which extends to both their physical and mental wellbeing. A major part of your duty of care to your employees is looking out for their wellbeing, and workplace counselling is one way to go about it.

A mentally healthy workforce is more motivated, productive, resourceful, and resilient; so there’s a big incentive for you to support this besides legalities.

There are several required risk assessments and legislation that focus on the physical safety of employees. But what about mental wellbeing? How can you tackle this?

One way is through professional help, with access to a counsellor or with psychotherapy through an EAP (Employment Assistance Programme).

Giving all employees access to a free, confidential, workplace counselling service might be viewed as part of an employer’s duty of care.

Let’s look at what psychotherapy is, how it can benefit your employees and the best way for you to implement it.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a term used for treating mental health problems and emotional problems.

Patients will tackle these issues by speaking with a psychiatrist counsellor or other mental health professionals. Therapists and patients usually interact on a one-to-one basis, but there can also be group therapies, such as couples or family therapies.

Professionals may use other methods besides talking, such as art or drama; but they will still oversee things and guide the patient(s).

Why do we use psychotherapy?

We use it to treat, cure or manage mental health issues. Some people seek psychotherapy because they have felt depression, anxiety, or angry for a long time. Others may want help with a chronic illness that is interfering with their emotional or physical well-being. You can also use it for short-term problems, such as bereavement or job losses.

Some signs that show people can benefit from therapy include:

  • They feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness
  • Their problems don’t seem to get better despite efforts and help from family and friends
  • They find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or carry out everyday activities
  • They worry excessively, expect the worst, or are constantly on edge
  • Their actions (such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, or being aggressive) are harming themselves or others

It is important to check these, as many people do not notice the symptoms themselves. It’s a tricky subject to navigate, especially as an employer. But if you encourage a workplace where speaking about mental health is the norm, it won’t be so difficult.

If you help employees successfully manage and deal with any mental health problems, like you would a physical one by having sick leave etc., you will have fewer absences in the long run and a more productive workforce.

What can psychotherapy treat?

Counselling and psychotherapy can treat a wide range of mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety disorders: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Mood disorders: depression or bipolar disorder
  • Addictions: alcoholism, drug dependence or compulsive gambling
  • Eating disorders: anorexia or bulimia
  • Personality disorders: borderline personality disorder or dependent personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia or other disorders that cause detachment from reality (psychotic disorders)

Not everyone who benefits from psychotherapy is diagnosed with a mental illness. Psychotherapy can help with several of life's stresses and conflicts that can affect anyone. For example, it may help:

  • Resolve conflicts: such as with partners or work colleagues.
  • Relieve anxiety: such as stress due to work or other situations.
  • Cope with major life changes: such as divorce, the death of a loved one, losing a job or new health problems.
  • Manage unhealthy reactions: such as road rage or passive-aggressive behaviour.

Types of psychotherapy

There are many approaches to psychotherapy, psychologists and counsellors draw on one or more of these.

Each theoretical perspective acts as a roadmap to help the psychologist understand their patients and their problems and diagnose possible solutions.

Although many types of therapies exist, some have proven psychotherapy techniques to be most effective, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): identifies negative beliefs and/or behaviours to replace them with healthy, positive ones.
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy: a type of CBT psychotherapy that teaches behavioural skills to help handle stress, emotions, and improve relationships.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy: become aware of and accept thoughts and feelings and commit to making changes, increasing the ability to cope with situations.
  • Psychodynamic and psychoanalysis therapies: focuses on increasing awareness of unconscious thoughts and behaviours.
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy: addresses problems in current relationships with other people to improve interpersonal skills.
  • Supportive psychotherapy: reinforces the ability to cope with stress and difficult situations.

Best psychotherapy for depression

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for depression. On its own, it may not be enough to treat severe depression. But it can play a key role when used with other treatments, including medications.

It's used to help the person deal with everyday stressors. Here are some of the most effective methods:

  • CBT
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy

Best psychotherapy for anxiety disorders

The aim is to help someone understand why they feel the way they feel, what their triggers are, and how they might change their reaction to them.

Some types of therapy even teach practical techniques to help reframe negative thinking and change behaviours.

Anxiety is a broad spectrum, so the disorders differ vastly. Such as social anxiety or OCD, both have different stressors.  So, they tailored therapy to specific symptoms and diagnosis. Here are some of the most successful ones

  • CBT
  • Exposure therapy
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy

Best psychotherapy for PTSD

The primary treatments for people with PTSD are specific short-term psychotherapies. There are four main types of psychological therapies used to treat people with PTSD.

  • CBT
  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Group therapy

Psychotherapy vs counselling 

We often throw around the terms counsellor and therapist interchangeably, as well as counselling and therapy. Here are some key elements that define psychotherapy and counselling.


While a psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, a counsellor may or may not have the training and skills to provide specific psychotherapy. So, a psychotherapist is a bit more skilled with dealing with mental health issues than a counsellor.

  • Counselling usually deals with short-term issues and specific situations, while therapy looks at long-term problems deeply ingrained in someone.
  • Counselling looks at specific situations or behaviours, but psychotherapy focuses on overall patterns.
  • Counselling is usually shorter term between a period of weeks and up to 6 months, while you continue therapy for years.


However, there is a great deal of overlap between the two types of therapies. Both provide:

  • Development for a safe, healing, and therapeutic relationship between a therapist and an individual.
  • Effectiveness for a wide range of people, both adults and children.
  • Understanding for a person's feelings and behaviours; addressing issues with the goal of improving a person's life.

Support your employees with Health Assured

Let’s talk about how Health Assured’s EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) can support you and your business. With a vast number of certified counsellors and wellbeing specialists, we can help create a financial wellbeing strategy for your employees.

With our EAP, you get access to our counsellors 24/7, 365m and our mental, physical, and financial wellbeing resources.

Our App provides proactive wellbeing tools and engaging features to enhance our existing services. We’ve built the app’s features from the ground up to improve the user’s mental, physical, and financial health by using personal metrics, personalised content and four-week plans to set goals and celebrate achievements.

Arrange a call back from a workplace wellbeing expert today on 0844 891 0352

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