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Workplace counselling – does it work?


There are many people who are currently receiving counselling for a number of different things. Some of these have been referred to a free counsellor through their GP while others are getting a service that they pay for. There is an argument for businesses to have counsellors available in the workplace but do they actually make any difference or are they just another fad?

Helping others

There is a lot of evidence that shows how far counselling can benefit people. It helps them to deal with various issues that they have going on in their life, allowing them to stay in control of things and not let personal problems encroach on their life too much. However, around 40,000 people in the UK have reported feeling stress in the workplace to the point that it actually made them ill so there seems to be a solid argument for businesses to bring a counsellor in to solve the problem.

Having someone on hand to counsel colleagues could help them to deal with any stressors as and when they arise, nipping them in the bud rather than giving them chance to build up and turn into bigger issue. It could reduce the number of sick days that staff members are taking if they can manage their stress levels effectively. Similarly, they may be more productive because they won't get behind with their work from worrying or taking time off sick.


The problem with workplace counselling is that it can be deemed to be a waste of time. In theory, if somebody is feeling stressed because of their work, the solution is not going to be found in the workplace. The symptoms and the action plans for this sort of problem can be quite vague, with some members of staff eventually opting to simply leave the company and find work elsewhere.

Workplace counselling may be seen as too little too late because it would only be something that is implemented once the problem is already getting out of hand. Of course, it could be hugely beneficial for staff that are struggling to deal with stress outside of the workplace in their personal life but on a professional level it would appear to have limitations.

Positive outcome

Being able to talk through issues with someone neutral to the situation can sometimes be all it takes to reduce stress levels. Having things build up without somewhere for them to be vented can often cause lots of problems and this is where a workplace-based counsellor would be invaluable to a business.

If a worker is starting to feel the pressure, they can feel very grateful to their employer for providing them with a counsellor. Even if it is the work that is the root cause of the issue, having an employer that genuinely appears to care and offers solutions for its staff can make things much easier to deal with, at least from a mental health perspective. While it may not necessarily change the workload, it shows an element of responsibility, makes workers feel valued and could consequently lower their stress levels. It may also give them an outlet to vent occasionally, getting rid of any stress as soon as it arises, rather than letting it build up to be a huge issue that cannot be solved so easily.

By Lauren Sutton

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