What is Workplace Counselling?

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Health Assured team

18 April 2019

Work-related stress and anxiety are ever-increasing issues. They almost always lead to demotivated workers and a reduction in performance and quality of work.

According to the 2017 survey by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 1.3 million workers currently suffer from a work-related illness. Of that figure, 37% are dealing with issues relating to stress, depression or anxiety.

This post explores employee counselling and identifies the differences between coaching and counselling. It concludes by listing some of the more popular techniques for workplace counselling.


What is counselling in the workplace?

Counselling in the workplace is often offered through an employee assistance programme, a confidential service that provides employees support with personal or work-related issues that may be affecting their performance, health or wellbeing.

The service allows your staff to talk in a safe and non-judgmental environment about issues that may be troubling them, allowing them to work with counsellors to find solutions to their problems or receive help in how to manage them effectively.

Although work-related issues such as stress and anxiety are proven to impact an employee’s productivity, performance and engagement, issues in their personal lives can also have negative impacts.


Coaching vs counselling employees

Although the objective of both is the same­, to help an employee achieve their goals, there are key differences in how they are practised.

Coaching is more action-focused, encouraging individuals to set and achieve goals in the future. Coaches can help to increase motivation and confidence.

Whilst counselling usually focuses on a specific issue and encourages an individual to address these problems, often related to their mental health. These issues can include depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Experts (both coaches and therapists) are professionally trained to understand human behaviour and help their clients set and achieve their goals.


Employee Counselling in Human Resource Management (HRM)

This process forms part of an effective HRM practice. Its aim is to improve engagement, productivity by maintaining employees’ wellbeing.

Workplace counselling models provide professionals with a framework to interpret behaviours and feelings. Which helps them to navigate clients from diagnosis through to post-treatment.

There’re a variety of workplace counselling techniques. Examples include:

  • Cognitive Therapy (CT): Focuses on present thinking, behaviour and communication.
  • Behaviour Therapy (BT): Increasing an individual’s engagement in positive or socially reinforcing activities.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Focuses on how thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect feelings and behaviour.
  • Psychoanalysis: In-depth talk focused on bringing unconscious thought and feeling to the conscious mind.
  • Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT): Focused on helping individuals change their irrational beliefs.


Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is probably the most common form of therapy for occupational health. It’s considered a common treatment for symptoms relating to stress, anxiety and depression.

Research suggests this form of therapy helps to change distressing behaviour. It does this by challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs and teaching employees to use coping strategies.


Expert Advice

We offer corporate counselling services as part of our employee assistance programme. If you’d like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact us on 0844 892 2493

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