Supporting Clients with Work Issues

Supporting Clients with Work Issues

With thanks to NCS Organisational Member Atrium Clinic for the content of this course and their ongoing work. You can find out more about Atrium Clinic here.

About this Course

Counselling has a long history of supporting clients in distress or through life problems. Professional trainings focus on wellbeing and models of delivery based on an understanding of the therapeutic relationship with an individual client and a conceptualisation of their difficulties in their personal context. There are counselling specialists with extra training or experience in certain problem areas too and additional training to support specific contexts of application. We accept that those who counsel children need an additional knowledge to those who work with adults; those who work with families have additional knowledge (family therapists); those who work in mental health services have due preparation to understand how the health context informs the delivery of talking therapies.  

Our psychologist colleagues have added greater specificity to their domains of practice, ensuring staff are trained to each context, (e.g., neuropsychology, clinical psychology) and counselling, occupational and coaching psychologists get specific training to support clients with work issues. Over the last 10 years, more and more counsellors are working (in one way or another) with work issues. Whether directly with clients from their private practices, employed directly by a workplace to support employees, working for Employee Assistance Programmes, or in businesses that offer counselling directly to other SME businesses for their staff. The preparation of counsellors to understand more about work issues to support clients in this context is at best, inconsistent.

Domain or specific ‘work context’ learning enables the counsellor to understand more about the guiding principles that inform how work is structured and the processes that shape work production. How work connects the individual and the business in a changing environment, and the interface between work and non-work, should be a focus for all counsellors who want to support their clients with work problems. If counselling does not address the knowledge gap for understanding the work context for our clients, we are failing to meet their needs and counsellors will lose out on making a professional contribution to supporting clients with work related issues.

This module serves as an introduction to counselling clients with ‘work issues’ in a journey of continuous development to improve services for our clients with work dilemmas and struggles. The module includes some key information to understanding work issues better, some learning activities and example questions for clients. The programme refers to EAPs, private counselling practices and workplace in-house service examples to frame the different contexts of counselling application for work matters.   

Further training is advised in support of the NCS document ‘Workplace Counselling Good Practice Guidance


‘This module serves as an introduction to counselling clients with ‘work issues’ in a journey of continuous development to improve services for our clients with work dilemmas and struggles within a shared framework. Never was the timing better, to focus on our professional contribution to work issues. The Stevenson and Farmer, 2017 review of Mental Health at work (‘Thriving at work’) identified some core standards namely that organisations big and small:  

  • Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan; 
  • Develop mental health awareness among employees; 
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling; 
  • Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development;  
  • Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors;  
  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing. 

View Atrium Clinic’s Wellbeing toolkit (towards Farmer and Stevenson’s core standards for work) here.

The authors also identified a role for resources and toolkits alongside professional counsellors in supporting employees with their wellbeing as part of NHS services, Employment Assistance Programmes, in-house and counselling agencies. This module begins the journey of counsellor and psychotherapist preparation to support these wider national endeavours to improve wellbeing at work starting with an understanding of work issues.

The module includes some key information to understanding work issues better, some learning activities and example questions for clients. The programme refers to EAPs, private counselling practices and workplace in-house service examples to frame the different contexts of counselling application for work matters.  Further training is advised in support of the NCS pending ‘Counselling for work standards and good practice document’2021, aligning to the core standards recommended from the ‘Thriving at work’ report.


Who is this course for? 

  • For private practice counsellors who want to understand more about the work context and work issues for their clients 
  • For qualified counsellors and psychotherapists who want to work in Employment Assistance Programmes (EAPs)  
  • For qualified counsellors and psychotherapists who seek to be directly employed in workplaces for the support of employees. 

CPD Hours

This course contains 5 CPD hours. You will receive a certificate confirming your completion of the course once you have completed all of the lessons and passed the final quiz.

NB – this course does not qualify you or allow you to call yourself a counsellor or psychotherapist unless you also hold relevant qualifications to do so. It is important that you work within your capabilities and have access to a supervisor who has relevant experience to support you.

Aims

The aim of this online training programme is to improve participants’ knowledge of work issues in relation to supporting their clients and appreciate the additional considerations of this context from the different perspectives of counsellor employment situations.

Objectives

By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • Identify some of the main issues relating to the support of clients with work-based problems or problems that impact work
  • Describe the importance of contracting with the client and/or their employer business where appropriate
  • Describe the contribution of work features and processes on clients’ wellbeing and problems
  • Indicate how knowledge of work-based processes and resources can minimize the impact of problems on work and work problems on wellbeing
  • Demonstrate example questions that help the client explore their relationship to their work, empowering clients to address their difficulties
  • Recognise common dilemmas in working with workplace clients and their organisations.

Learning Method

The programme is divided into headed sections and supported by learning activities, learning reviews, self-assessment questionnaires as client resources, and further questions either for your own consideration or as counselling examples for client exploration.

Terms

Employer/business or employer business – the company that employs the counselling client, also known as the workplace client, in reference to the workplace employer as the commissioner of service.

Employee client – the client of the counsellor who has been referred by the employer business or is self-funding with work issues as a primary or secondary concern.

Counselling service/provider – the individual counsellor or the counselling agency that supplies the counselling services to the workplace client.

Individual client – accesses counselling services as a paying member of the public but where the primary or secondary focus of the work involves understanding of their relationship with their workplace.

Workplace  – in this programme the Workplace is not a physical place of work necessarily, but refers to ‘work’ or ‘at work’ or ‘the ‘employing business’.