ArticlePDF Available

How effective is workplace counselling? A review of the research literature



The provision of counselling for work-related problems has expanded in recent years, as organisations have recognised the value of this approach to staff support. However, there has been relatively little research into the outcomes of workplace counselling, and no systematic reviews have been conducted into the effectiveness of counselling in this setting. This paper presents the results of a preliminary review of evidence in this area. 34 studies of the effectiveness of workplace counselling were identified, of which 16 were sufficiently well designed to be considered as comprising reliable findings. The results of these studies suggest that, in general, workplace counselling is effective for clients for a wide variety of type and severity of presenting problems, employed across a range of different organisational contexts. The paper includes discussion of methodological issues associated with this research, recommendations for further research, and implications for practice.
Over the last twenty years, the provision of face-
to-face, confidential counselling for employees has
become one of the major ways in which both
public and private sector organisations have deliv-
ered staff support. A variety of models of work-
place counselling have evolved, ranging from
externally contracted Employee Assistance
Programmes (EAPs) provided by large commercial
firms able to offer not only therapeutic counselling
but also financial advice and telephone helplines,
to the in-house employment of staff counsellors
within occupational health or welfare depart-
ments. Workplace counselling has evolved into a
mature field of specialist counselling practice, with
its own professional bodies, training programmes,
books and journals. A comprehensive account of
the nature and development of workplace coun-
selling can be found in Carroll and Walton (1997)
and Oher (1999).
However, the expansion of workplace coun-
selling has not been matched by a parallel growth
in research into the effectiveness of this form of
intervention, or into the factors which contribute
to good or poor outcomes for clients. If research
knowledge is to inform practice in this area, it is
clearly necessary to arrive at a comprehensive
understanding of the state of current empirical
knowledge as a basis for planning further studies.
This paper seeks to contribute to this aim by pro-
viding a review of research into the effectiveness
of workplace counselling. The material presented
here is taken from a wider study, commissioned by
the British Association for Counselling and
Psychotherapy, into all areas of research into work-
place counselling (McLeod, 2001), including utili-
sation rates, attitudes to counselling provision, the
costs of counselling, referral networks, the process
of counselling, and the characteristics of counsel-
lors. The full report of the study incorporates sum-
maries of all 80 research investigations located
during this scoping exercise, and details may be
found towards the back of this issue of the journal.
The review process was designed to achieve a
comprehensive and balanced appreciation of the
research that has been carried out in this field. A
number of procedures, outlined below, were
adopted to ensure that the review generated con-
clusions that were valid and reliable.
How effective is workplace counselling? A review of the
research literature
John McLeod and Julia McLeod
School of Social and Health Sciences, University of Abertay Dundee, 158 Marketgait, Dundee DD1 1NJ, Scotland.
Counselling and Psychotherapy Research 1(3) (2001) 184-190
ISSN: 1473 3145
Published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, 1 Regent Place, Rugby, CV21 2PJ, UK
The provision of counselling for work-related problems has expanded in recent years, as organisations
have recognised the value of this approach to staff support. However, there has been relatively little
research into the outcomes of workplace counselling, and no systematic reviews have been conducted
into the effectiveness of counselling in this setting. This paper presents the results of a preliminary review
of evidence in this area. 34 studies of the effectiveness of workplace counselling were identified, of
which 16 were sufficiently well designed to be considered as comprising reliable findings. The results
of these studies suggest that, in general, workplace counselling is effective for clients for a wide vari-
ety of type and severity of presenting problems, employed across a range of different organisational
contexts. The paper includes discussion of methodological issues associated with this research, recom-
mendations for further research, and implications for practice.
Key words: EAPs, outcome, workplace counselling
Inclusion/exclusion criteria
In compiling a review that addresses the issues
associated with the provision of counselling, as a
distinctive form of workplace stress/wellbeing
intervention, it is necessary to be as explicit as pos-
sible about what is to be considered as a study of
counselling. For the purpose of this review, coun-
selling was defined as:
(i)ii a form of intervention that is voluntarily chosen
by the client. For example, studies in which
employees are directed or required to partici-
pate in stress management groups are not con-
sidered as examples of counselling, even
though the intervention may be based on
counselling principles and theory;
(ii)ia form of help that is responsive to the individ-
ual needs of the client or group. Programmes
in which individuals or groups receive a pre-
determined schedule of exercises or classes
would be defined as educational or training
interventions, rather than counselling.
Counsellor responsiveness to the process and
needs of individual clients is viewed, through
this criterion, to be intrinsic to counselling;
(iii) an activity that is primarily intended to bring
about change in an area of psychological/
behavioural functioning (e.g. emotional, rela-
tionships, self-esteem, symptoms of depression
or anxiety, work functioning, substance
misuse, absence from work, etc.). Interventions
that are primarily focused on organisational
(e.g. team functioning) or physical health out-
comes (e.g. exercise, diet) have been excluded,
even though these interventions may have
important incidental effects on psychological
Studies of the effectiveness of stress management,
critical incident debriefing intervention, meditation
and fitness/well-being are excluded by this defini-
tion. Studies of group counselling/psychotherapy
for work difficulties would have been included,
although in fact no such studies were located.
Interventions labelled as ‘psychotherapy’ were
included in the study, where they satisfied the cri-
teria listed above.
In order to compile a review that is in itself
accountable, and open to alternative and further
analyses of its constituent studies, only research
studies that have been published in publicly acces-
sible sources have been included. Internal organi-
sational reports which would not be made openly
available (e.g. for commercial reasons) have not
been included, since it is clear that such studies
could not satisfy criteria for external review.
The term workplace counselling has been inter-
preted to include any study in which the provision
of counselling/psychotherapy is linked to being an
employee, or to suffering from work-related psy-
chological problems. For example, studies of out-
patient psychotherapy in which work functioning
outcomes are measured have been considered to
be not sufficiently close to the world of work to be
included. The studies reviewed in this report there-
fore relate to counselling provided by in-house or
externally contracted counselling services, narrow
(substance misuse) or ‘broad-brush’ Employee
Assistance Programmes (EAPs) or special projects
in which therapy is made available for people with
work stress difficulties (for example, within a uni-
versity research clinic).
Search procedures
The literature search has encompassed as wide a
variety of materials as possible: published articles,
books and chapters and also unpublished or semi-
published items such as reports and dissertations.
The search considered articles from a range of dis-
ciplines: counselling, psychotherapy, psychology,
sociology, management studies and occupational
health. Search strategies included the use of online
databases, handsearching relevant journals, writ-
ing to potential informants, and enlisting assis-
tance through presentations at conferences. The
review has been intentionally pluralistic, incorpo-
rating qualitative as well as quantitative studies.
Categorisation of methodological
There are significant practical and ethical problems
associated with research into the outcomes of
EAP/counselling services. These problems mean
that it is probably impossible to carry out a rigor-
ous, controlled study of workplace counselling
that reflects the conditions of everyday service pro-
vision. There is a trade-off between rigour and rel-
evance. One option is to set up an intervention for
the purpose of the investigation (e.g. the studies
by Barkham et al, 1999, Iwi et al, 1998 and
Reynolds, 1997) in a way that ensures that a stan-
dard model of counselling is delivered, a range of
measures is administered, and that all (or most)
clients complete questionnaires. This approach
provides evidence that may be rigorous, but fails
to reflect the conditions of everyday clinical prac-
tice. The other option is to carry out a naturalistic
study of workplace counselling under normal cir-
cumstances (e.g. studies by Cheeseman, 1996 and
Worrall, 1999), and to accept that only a limited
set of measures can be administered, and that
many clients will not complete questionnaires. This
approach provides evidence that captures the
‘messiness’ of everyday practice, but is lacking in
control and methodological rigour. In recognition
of these methodological difficulties and dilemmas,
it was decided to divide outcome studies into three
Category 1. ‘Best evidence’. This category
includes studies that, although limited in some
ways, and capable of improvement, comprise plau-
sible attempts to arrive at a fair and balanced
assessment of the effectiveness of counselling in
this setting, using evidence that is reliable, objec-
tive, relevant and sensitive to the phenomenon
being investigated.
Category 2. ‘Supporting evidence’. This group
contains studies that provide useful findings, but
nevertheless have important methodological limi-
tations. For example, some of the studies within this
category rely solely on client satisfaction ratings.
Category 2 also includes outcome studies in which
pre- and post-counselling change measures have
been administered, but problems of missing data
(clients leaving the study) have not been adequately
addressed. The findings of the studies in Category
2 are vulnerable to alternative interpretation, and
must be interpreted with caution.
Category 3. ‘Authenticating evidence’. This cat-
egory comprises systematic descriptive studies of
the effectiveness of workplace counselling. These
studies can be regarded as providing authenticating
evidence, in that they offer qualitative accounts of
the meaning of outcomes for clients and organisa-
tions. It is important in establishing an evidence
base for practice to include systematic case studies,
both as means of documenting and exemplifying
outcome, and also for heuristic purposes. This cat-
egory does not include clinical case studies derived
only from counsellor/psychotherapist notes. To be
included, a study must involve the use of an inde-
pendent source of evidence (e.g. test data).
In each study, the magnititude of change attrib-
utable to counselling was summarised using a 5-
point scale. Because relevant data were not
provided in some studies, it is not possible to esti-
mate Effect Sizes (ES; a statistical indicator of mag-
nitude of change; see McLeod, 1994) in all cases.
Instead, studies were coded according to the fol-
lowing scale:
Significant positive effect. A study has been
coded in this fashion where the effect of coun-
selling, averaged across all measures used in the
study, was large (equivalent to ES >.75). In addition,
the majority of clients in the study must have
shifted to within the ‘normal’ range of functioning
following counselling.
Moderate positive effect. This category includes
studies reporting moderate levels of effectiveness
(equivalent to an effect size between .2 and .75), or
where more than 50 per cent of clients remain at a
higher than ‘normal’ level of distress at termination.
Where client satisfaction measures have been used,
more than 90 per cent of clients must have indi-
cated that they were satisfied with the service they
Neutral effect. Studies reporting no significant
impact of counselling in terms of key outcome
measures, even if client satisfaction reports were
Studies reporting negative effects of counselling
would similarly have been coded as significant neg-
ative effect and moderate negative effect. However,
no studies reporting negative effects were found
All studies were read by two independent read-
ers, who categorised them in terms of method-
ological adequacy and overall outcome. Ratings
were compared, and discrepancies resolved
through discussion.
The results of this review process are summarised in
Tables 1 to 3. Table 1 lists outcomes associated with
the most rigorous studies that were located. Table
2 includes studies which are valuable, but include
significant methodological limitations. Table 3 lists
descriptive case studies and qualitative studies.
Table 1. Category 1 studies: the ‘best
evidence’ on the effectiveness of
workplace counselling
Significant positive effect
Barkham and Shapiro (1990); Barkham et al
Cheeseman (1996)
Cooper et al (1990; Cooper and Sadri (1991)
Dickson and Roethlisberger (1966)
Finke et al (1996)
Firth-Cozens and Hardy (1992)
Firth and Shapiro (1986)
Reynolds (1997)
Shapiro et al (1990, 1994)
Sprang (1992)
Worrall (1999)
Moderate positive effect
Alker (2000)
Guppy and Marsden (1997)
Nadolski and Sandonato (1987)
Neutral effect
Iwi et al (1998)
Macdonald et al (1997)
It can be seen that, in the ‘best evidence’ category,
11 from 16 studies present a picture of workplace
counselling as highly effective. Only two studies in
this category (Macdonald et al, 1997; Iwi et al,
1998) found that a counselling intervention had a
neutral effect. In the ‘supporting evidence’ cate-
gory, 4 from 13 studies found workplace coun-
selling to be highly effective. No studies have
found workplace counselling to be harmful, or less
effective than other alternative interventions. In
addition, over 90 per cent of clients surveyed, in a
number of studies, report themselves to be satis-
fied with the counselling they have received.
Given the methodological difficulties associated
with research in this setting, it is important to
examine the possibility that more methodologically
rigorous studies may produce less favourable
results, compared with less rigorous naturalistic
studies which could be seen as providing a biased
and over-optimistic estimate of outcome. There is
no evidence that effect size is associated with
degree of rigour. For example, among the group of
most rigorous studies, Shapiro et al (1990, 1994)
reported the biggest effect sizes, while Iwi et al
(1998) reported the lowest. Overall, higher levels
of gain were found in the Category 1 (best evi-
dence) studies, compared with less rigorous
Category 2 and 3 studies.
The relatively small number of strong studies
makes it difficult to identify trends regarding the
factors associated with good outcomes in work-
place counselling. For example, in the Category 1
(best evidence) studies, there are examples of cog-
nitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, client-centred
and solution-focused approaches reporting signif-
icant positive outcomes. Similarly, there are excel-
lent outcomes reported from brief (3 session) and
moderate length (16 session) models of delivery,
and from internal, external and EAP models of
service provision. Much more research will be nec-
essary in order to establish the conditions under
which alternative counselling modalities may be
shown to be differentially effective.
The results of research into the effectiveness of
workplace counselling compare favourably with
outcome studies carried out in other settings, in
terms of the range of effect sizes reported (see
Lambert and Bergin, 1994). It is worth noting that,
unlike most controlled studies of counselling and
psychotherapy, many investigations of workplace
counselling and EAPs have been able to use not
only client self-report data (from questionnaire
measures) but have also been able to incorporate
‘objective’ measures of behavioural change, for
example sickness absence. In fact, some of the
most substantial changes have been recorded in
the area of behaviour change rather than self-
reported symptoms.
While there is strong evidence that workplace
counselling has a beneficial effect on psychologi-
cal symptoms and well-being, and on sickness
absence, there is inconsistent evidence regarding
the impact of counselling on work attitudes and
commitment. Although Alker (2000), Firth-Cozens
and Hardy (1992) and Firth and Shapiro (1986)
reported moderate gains in work attitudes in
clients, studies by Cooper and Sadri (1991) and
Guppy and Marsden (1997) did not replicate this
result. It seems likely that existing methods of
measuring work attitudes may not be sufficiently
sensitive to individual change, and that longer-
term follow-up periods may be necessary in order
to detect the influence of counselling on organi-
sation-level outcomes.
Some general themes emerged across the set of
studies reviewed. The vast majority (over 90 per
cent) of employees who make use of workplace
counselling described themselves to be highly sat-
isfied with the service they had received, would
Table 2. Category 2 studies: ‘supporting
evidence’ on the effectiveness of
workplace counselling
Significant positive effect
Gam et al (1983)
Park (1992)
Royal College of Nursing (2000)
Sloboda et al (1993)
Moderate positive effect
Goss and Mearns (1997)
Highley-Marchington and Cooper (1998)
Lueger and Howard (1994)
McAllister (1993)
Mitchie (1996)
Rogers et al (1995)
Schmit and Stanard (1996)
Saroja et al (1999)
Vonachan et al (1954)
Table 3. Category 3 studies: ‘authenticating
evidence’ on the effectiveness of workplace
Significant positive effect
Bayer (1998)
Denzin (1995)
Parry et al (1986)
Moderate positive effect
Chandler et al (1988)
Key (1999)
use it again if necessary, and would recommend it
to colleagues. Those who made use of workplace
counselling typically reported high levels of psycho-
logical distress, equivalent to that found in outpa-
tient psychiatric populations. In the majority of
studies, post-counselling levels of work-related
symptoms and stress return to the ‘normal’ range
for more than 50 per cent of clients, and sickness
absence rates in clients were reduced by 25 to 50
per cent. Research findings consistently supported
the conclusion that significant benefits for clients
could be achieved in three to eight sessions of
counselling; only the most severely disturbed clients
appear to require long-term counselling help or
referral to specialist services. In addition, published
studies of the economic costs and benefits of work-
place counselling (not included in Tables1 to 3) have
reported that counselling/EAP provision at least
covers its costs, with some studies reporting sub-
stantial positive benefit:cost ratios (Ahn and
Karris,1989; Alexander Consulting Group, 1990;
Blaze-Temple and Howat, 1997; Bray et al, 1996;
Bruhnsen, 1989; Bruhnsen, 1989; Houts, 1991;
Klarreich et al, 1987; McClellan, 1989).
Taken as a whole, the findings reported in the stud-
ies included in this review provide consistent evi-
dence for the effectiveness of workplace
counselling. However, it is also important to be
aware that there are significant methodological and
practical difficulties associated with research into
this field of psychotherapeutic practice. For exam-
ple, many researchers reported that both clients
and counsellor compliance with data collection had
been low. In addition, it is clear that a wide range
of different outcome measures and definitions have
been employed, making it difficult to compare the
results of different studies. Clearly, it would be
useful if future researchers in this area could agree
and adopt standardised approaches to measuring
psychological and organisational outcomes.
At present, research into the effectiveness of
workplace counselling has generated few implica-
tions for practice. The only policy and practice direc-
tive that is supportable by current research is that
counselling of some sort should be available to all:
the evidence confirms that provision of workplace
counselling is beneficial not only for individual serv-
ice users, but also for the organisations which
employ them. It would be desirable to be able to
use research evidence to address practical problems
such as: Which counselling approaches are most
appropriate in the workplace setting? Under what
conditions is it best to utilise in-house or external
models of service provision? Are there different
client needs (and counselling interventions) associ-
ated with gender, patterns of sickness absence or
job role? What impact does organisational culture
have on counselling utilisation and effectiveness?
The knowledge base which exists at the moment is
not extensive enough to answer any of these ques-
tions with confidence. Much more research is cer-
tainly necessary. Nevertheless, the studies which
have been reviewed here can be seen to provide the
next generation of researchers with a solid base of
methods and tools with which to begin to build
research-informed practice in this important thera-
peutic arena.
© John McLeod, Julia McLeod, 2001
Ahn KK and Karris PM (1987) Number versus severity: the
truth in measuring EAP cost benefits. Employee
Assistance Quarterly, 4(4): 1.14.
Alexander Consulting Group (1990) The Financial Input of
the ‘Assist’ Managed Behavioural Health Program at the
McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company. Company
Allison T, Cooper C L and Reynolds S (1989) Stress
counselling in the workplace. The Post Office experience.
The Psychologist, 384-388.
Alker L (2000) Report on a local authority employee
counselling scheme, November 1998-April 2000. Derby:
Counselling Perspectives.
Barkham M and Shapiro D A (1990) Brief
psychotherapeutic interventions for job related distress: a
pilot study of prescriptive and exploratory therapy.
Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 3(2): 133-47.
Barkham M, Shapiro DA, Hardy GE and Rees A (1999)
Psychotherapy in two-plus-one sessions: outcomes of a
randomized controlled trial of cognitive-behavioral and
psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy for subsyndromal
depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,
67(2): 201-11.
Bayer D L (1998) Brief anger-management therapy.
Employer Assistance Quarterly, 14(2): 67-74.
Blaze-Temple D and Howat P (1997) Cost benefit of an
Australian EAP. Employee Assistance Quarterly, 12(3): 1-
Bray J W, French M T, Bowland B J and Dunlap LJ (1996)
The cost of employee assistance programs (EAPs).
Findings from seven case studies. Employee Assistance
Quarterly, 11(4): 1-19.
Bruhnsen K (1989) EAP evaluation and cost benefit
savings: A case example. Health Values, 13(1): 39-42.
Carroll M and Walton M (eds) Handbook of Counselling
in Organisations. London: Sage.
Chandler RG, Kroeker BJ, Fynn M and MacDonald DA
(1988) Establishing and evaluating an industrial social work
programme: the Seagram, Amhertsburg experience.
Employee Assistance Quarterly, 3(3/4): 243-51.
Cheeseman MJ (1996) Is staff counselling an effective
intervention into employee distress? An investigation of
two employee counselling services in the NHS.
Unpublished PhD thesis, Social and Applied Psychology
Unit, University of Sheffield.
Cooper C L and Sadri G (1991) The impact of stress
counselling at work. In PL Perrewe (ed.) Handbook on
Job Stress (special issue). Journal of Behavior and
Personality, 6(7): 411-23.
Cooper C L, Sadri G, Allison T and Reynolds P (1990)
Counselling in the Post Office. Counselling Psychologist
Quarterly, 3(1): 3-11.
Denzin NK (1995) Living and dying in an employee
assistance program. The Journal of Drug Issues, 25(2):
Dickson W and Roethlisberger F J (1966) Counselling in
an Organization. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Finke L, Williams J and Stanley R (19996) Nurses referred
to a peer assistance program for alcohol and drug
problems. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 10(5): 319-24.
Firth J A and Shapiro D A (1986) An evaluation of
psychotherapy for job related distress. Journal of
Occupational Psychology, 59: 111-19.
Firth-Cozens J A and Hardy G E (1992) Occupational
stress, clinical treatment and changes in job perceptions.
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology,
65: 81-6.
Gam J, Sauser W I, Evans, K L and Lair C V (1983) The
evaluation of an employee assistance program. Journal
of Employment Counseling, 20: 99-106.
Goss S and Mearns D (1997) Applied pluralism in the
evaluation of employee counselling. British Journal of
Guidance and Counselling, 25(3): 327-44.
Guppy A and Marsden J (1997) Assisting employees
with drinking problems: changes in mental health, job
perceptions and work performance. Work and Stress,
11(4): 341-50.
Highley-Marchington J C and Cooper C L (1998) An
Assessment of Employee Assistance and Workplace
Counselling Programmes in British Organisations. Report
for the Health and Safety Executive. HSE Books.
Houts L M (1991) Survey of the current status of cost-
savings evaluations in employee assistance programs.
Employee Assistance Quarterly, 7(1): 57-73.
Iwi D J, Watson P, Barber N, Kimber and Sharman G
(1998) The self-reported well-being of employees facing
organisational change: effects of an intervention.
Occupational Medicine, 48(6): 361-9.
Key K (1999) The client’s experience of brief counselling
within the work place. Unpublished MA dissertation,
Manchester University.
Klarreich S H, DiGiuseppe R and DiMattia D J (1987) Cost
effectiveness of an employee assistance program with
rational emotive therapy. Professional Psychology
Research and Practice, 18: 140-4.
Lambert M J and Bergin AE (1994) The effectiveness of
psychotherapy. In AE Bergin and SL Garfield (eds)
Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change. 3rd
edn. New York: Wiley.
Lueger R J and Howard K I (1994) Reliable
improvements in life functioning of psychotherapy
patients (unpublished paper, available from Dr R Lueger,
Dept of Psychology, Marquette University, USA).
Macdonald S, Lothian S and Wells S (1997) Evaluation of
an employee assistance program at a transportation
company. Evaluation and Program Planning, 20(4): 495-
McAllister P O (1993) An evaluation of counselling for
employer-referred problem drinkers. Health Bulletin,
51(5): 285-94.
McClellan K (1989) Cost-benefit analysis of the Ohio
EAP. Employee Assistance Quarterly, 5(2): 67-85.
McLeod J (1994) Doing Counselling Research. London:
McLeod J (2001) Counselling in the Workplace: The
Facts. A Systematic Study of the Research Evidence.
Rugby: British Association for Counselling and
Michie S (1996) Reducing absenteeism by stress
management. Valuation of a stress counselling service.
Work and Stress, 10(4): 367-72.
Nadolski J N and Sandonato C E (1987) Evaluation of an
employee assistance programme. Journal of
Occupational Medicine, 29 (1): 32-7.
Oher JM (ed.) (1999) The Employee Assistance
Handbook. New York: Wiley.
Park DA (1992) Client satisfaction evaluation: University
employee assistance program. Employee Assistance
Quarterly, 8: 15-34.
Parry G, Shapiro DA and Firth J (1986) The case of the
anxious executive: a study from the research clinic.
British Journal of Medical Psychology 59: 221-33.
Reynolds S (1997) Psychological well-being at work: is
prevention better than cure? Journal for Psychosomatic
Research, 43(1): 93-102.
Rogers D, McLeod J and Sloboda J (1995) Counsellor and
client perceptions of the effectiveness of time-limited
counselling in an occupational counselling setting.
Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 8(3): 221-31.
Royal College of Nursing (2000) Core evaluation system:
data report March 1999-February 2000. Available from
B McInnes, RCN Cousnelling Service, 8-10 Crown Hill,
Croydon, London, CR0 1RZ.
Saroja K I, Ramphal KG, Kasmini K, Ainsah O and Baker
OC (1999) Trends in absenteeism rates following
psychological intervention - preliminary results.
Singapore Medical Journal, 40: 349-51.
Schmit MJ and Stanard SJ (1996) The utility of
personality inventories in the employee assistance
process. A study of EAP referred police officers.
Employee Assistance Quarterly, 11: 21-42.
Shapiro DA, Barkham M, Hardy GE and Morrison LA
(1990) The second Sheffield psychotherapy project:
rationale, design and preliminary outcome data. British
Journal of Medical Psychology, 63: 97-108.
Shapiro DA, Barkham M, Rees A, Hardy GE, Reynolds S
and Startup M (1994) Effects of treatment duration and
severity of depression on the effectiveness of cognitive-
behavioral and psychodynamic-interpersonal
psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 62: 522-34.
Sloboda JA, Hopkins JS, Turner A, Rogers DR and McLeod
J (1993) An evaluated staff counselling programme in a
public sector organization. Employee Counselling Today,
5: 10-16.
Sprang G (1992) Utilizing a brief EAP-based intervention
as an agent for change in the treatment of depression.
Employee Assistance Quarterly, 8: 57-65.
Vonachen HA, Mason JM and Kronenberg MH (1954)
Study of five years of employee counselling in an
industrial medical programme. Archives of Industrial
Hygiene and Occupational Medicine, 10(2): 91-123.
Worrall L (1999) Evaluation of the effectiveness of an
employee counselling programme. Unpublished PhD
thesis, Dept. of Psychology, Keele University.
... The provision of counselling psychological services has steadily expanded in the world and in Kenya (McLeod, 2012;Wango, 2015). This includes counselling at the workplace (McLeod, 2010;McLeod & McLeod, 2001; Republic of Kenya, 2008a). Counselling services represent a major organisational response to psychological and mental health problems reported by employees (Carroll, 1996;Coles, 2003;McLeod, 2010). ...
... Health now includes various aspects including physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing (UNESCO, 2016; WHO, 2016). Health and health education in the workplace is increasingly becoming a major concern for many employees and organisations in different settings (McLeod, 2010;McLeod & McLeod, 2001). ...
Full-text available
Employees in Kenya including police officers are increasingly showing acute signs of burnout. It is widely acknowledged the world over that policing is one of the most stressful of professions. Cases of death through shooting or suicide have been reported, and have lately been on the increase. Frontline police officers often have to confront traumatising incidents almost on a daily basis which can lead to psychological and emotional disturbance. Officers and the public they serve need to be wary of high levels of anxiety, which can be handled through expanded, effective coping strategies such as workplace counselling. This paper advances a multidisciplinary approach to the provision of counselling psychological services for the police service in Kenya using the hermeneutic phenomenology approach.
... ACAS (2010) maintains both mediation and counselling could be usefully employed in some bullying incidents. Indeed, research on workplace counselling generally reports high levels of client satisfaction and some symptom relief (McLeod and McLeod, 2001). Similarly, studies of workplace mediation usually suggest high settlement rates (CIPD, 2011;Thornton and Ghezelayagh, 2013), although some present a more complex picture (Saundry, 2012;Saundry et al., 2013;Saundry and Wibberley, 2012). ...
... Furthermore, much of the research into the efficacy of mediation and counselling possesses significant methodological limitations, including: a lack of experimental design, reliance on practitioner accounts or managerial perspective, filtering out cases deemed unsuitable for ADR, and the use of simplistic, short-term measures of success (McLeod and McLeod, 2001;Saundry et al., 2013). Budd and Colvin (2008) note fundamental shortcomings in current evaluations of mediation in neglecting efficiency, equity and effect upon employee voice; their study supported pluralist arguments that employer-initiated grievance procedures provided workers with a weaker voice than union grievance processes. ...
Purpose Bullying is a persistent, damaging feature of neoliberal workplaces, despite the increased use of third-party interventions (TPIs). The purpose of this paper is to investigate how TPIs relate to individualisation of the employment contract, whether TPIs deflect attention away from bullying and the impact for targets. Design/methodology/approach Data were gathered from focus groups and interviews with members and officials of three large UK trade unions. Findings TPIs individualise bullying allegations and such interventions are further characterised by impotence, injustice and lack of impartiality, serving to deflect bullying claims and exacerbate targets’ suffering. Practical implications Recommendations are made to improve the efficacy of interventions. Originality/value This paper increases the limited research into the efficacy of TPIs and makes a significant contribution to debates on neoliberal individualism.
... Individual's daily lives started to be reorganised as new positive goals were developed to shape meaningful occupations of everyday. According to Kirk [33] and McLeod & McLeod [34] an EAP provides improvements in employee absenteeism, productivity, and a positive impact on workers compensation costs. Habits regulate routine actions and behaviour within a role [32]. ...
Full-text available
Background: Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are responsible for helping employees cope with problems such as: mental distress, alcoholism and other drug dependencies, marital and financial difficulties--in short, the whole host of personal and family troubles endemic to the human condition. Objective: The study explored the challenges that employees who abuse substances experience when returning to work after the completion of an employee assistance program. Methods: The study used a qualitative exploratory descriptive research design. Three male participants and two key informants participated in the study. One semi structured interview was conducted with each one of the participants and one semi structured interview with the key informants. Results: Four themes emerged: 1) Loss of one's worker role identity, 2) Negative influences of the community continues to effect the success of EAP, 3) EAP as a vehicle for change and, 4) Healthy occupations strengthen EAP. Conclusions: This study portrayed the following: how substance abuse effect the worker role of individuals employed in the open labor market, the challenges and facilitators experienced by employees who abuse substances when returning to their previous work roles and how occupation based interventions can be incorporated in EAP programs. Occupational therapists could use the health promotion approach, work simplification, energy conservation techniques and ergonomic analysis techniques.
Full-text available
Organisations often engage Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to assist employees experiencing psychological distress, yet EAPs primarily focus on individual remedies rather than addressing the context of the problem (e.g., the corporate climate) which may render them limited in effectiveness. We investigated the effectiveness of EAPs and the role of organisation psychosocial safety climate (PSC) (the corporate climate for worker psychological health and safety) and client satisfaction in reducing client psychological distress. Client participants (Time 1, n = 100, Time 2, n = 28, Matched n = 25) from Australia and New Zealand entering an EAP took part in two online surveys, pre- and post-EAP, around five weeks apart. Multilevel analysis showed a significant reduction in psychological distress due to the EAP (individual effect) but particularly at high levels of PSC (organisational effect). Thus, EAPs could engender a more significant impact by also assisting organisations to improve their PSC (i.e., through implementation of policies, practices and procedures for worker psychological health and safety), in combination with individual interventions.
Die Entwicklungen des 21. Jahrhunderts und die Megatrends auf der ganzen Welt haben Unternehmen rund um den Globus seit vielen Jahren dazu inspiriert, ihre spezifischen Angebote zur Begleitung von Menschen in ihren jeweiligen Arbeitskontexten auf der Grundlage ihrer gemeinsamen Mission und dem Wohlergehen ihrer Mitarbeiter kontinuierlich auszubauen und weiterzuentwickeln. Business- und Executive Coaching, Mitarbeiter- und Sozialberatung und Employee Assistance Programme haben auf wissenschaftlicher Basis Qualitätskriterien für ihre Services für Mitarbeiter, Experten, Führungskräfte und Unternehmen definiert. Das Wohlergehen und die Leistungsfähigkeit der einzelnen Personen, die die Angebote nutzen, stehen dabei im Zentrum der Services. Dabei bieten sinnorientierte und existenzielle Beratungsangebote neben den Coachings, den Trainings und der Mitarbeiterberatung ein spezielles Angebot zur Erörterung von Anliegen der einzelnen Person, bei denen sich Aspekte des Arbeits- und Privatlebens miteinander verschränken. Begleitung, Ermutigung, Bewältigung sind zentrale Ergebnisse der Beratung. Inwieweit bieten die dynamische Digitalisierung von Coaching- und Beratungsangeboten eine echte Weiterentwicklung des Angebotes im Interesse der Mitarbeiter und des Unternehmens?
Full-text available
İşyerlerinde çalışanların birçok sosyal ve psikolojik sorun ile karşı karşıya kaldıkları bilinmektedir. Diğer bir açıdan çalışanlar, kişisel ve ailevi sorunlarını da iş hayatlarına yansıtabilmektedirler. Günümüzde bu sorunlar ile mücadele edebilmek için birçok işyerinde çalışanlara yönelik psikolojik ve sosyal destek programları yürütülmektedir. Buna ilaveten sağlıklı yaşam ve kişisel gelişime yönelik aktiviteler de teşvik edilmektedir. Bu bağlamda, sosyal hizmetin bir uygulama alanı olarak işyerinde sosyal hizmet, çalışanların bireysel ve ailevi ihtiyaçlarından iş ortamındaki ilişkilerine kadar sürdürülen birçok psikolojik ve sosyal destek programının bütününü ifade etmektedir. Bunun yanı sıra artan rekabet koşulları altında işletmeler insan kaynağına daha fazla önem vermektedir. Bu nedenle işletmeler, çalışanlarının işlerine karşı olumlu tutum geliştirmesini ve daha fazla sadakat beslemesini hedeflemektedirler. Diğer bir ifadeyle çalışanlarının iş tatminini ve örgütsel bağlılık seviyelerini yüksek tutmayı amaçlamaktadırlar. Bu çerçevede çalışmanın problemi, işyerinde sosyal hizmet uygulamalarının çalışanların iş tatmini ve örgütsel bağlılık seviyelerine etki edip etmediğini araştırmaktır. Bu amaçla "Minnesota İş Tatmin Ölçeği" ile Meyer ve Allen tarafından geliştirilen "Örgütsel Bağlılık Ölçeği" kullanılarak oluşturulan anket formu ile veri toplanmıştır. Araştırmanın kapsamı İstanbul ilinde hizmet sektöründe faaliyet gösteren büyük işletmeler ile sınırlandırılmıştır. Anketler sosyal hizmet uygulaması olan ve olmayan işyerlerindeki çalışanlara uygulanmıştır. Böylece sosyal hizmet uygulaması olan ve olmayan işyerlerinde çalışanların iş tatmini ve örgütsel bağlılık düzeylerinin karşılaştırılması hedeflenmiştir. Bu kapsamda toplam 414 çalışandan elde edilen veri seti SPSS paket programı yardımı ile analiz edilmiştir. Elde edilen bulgulara göre, işyerinde sosyal hizmet uygulamalarının iş tatmininin alt boyutları olan içsel ve dışsal tatmin düzeyi üzerinde pozitif etkisi olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Ayrıca yapılan analizlere göre işyerinde sosyal hizmet uygulamalarının örgütsel bağlığının alt boyutlarından duygusal ve normatif bağlılık üzerinde olumlu etkisi olduğu tespit edilmiş ancak devam bağlılığı üzerinde herhangi bir etkisi tespit edilememiştir. It is well-known that employees go through many social and psychological problems. On the other hand, employees may reflect their personal and familial problems in their work. Today, psychological and social support programs are being carried out for employees in many workplaces in order to be able to overcome these problems. In addition to that, activities for a healthy life and personal development are also being encouraged. In this context, social work in the workplace as an area of practice of social work refers to the entirety of the psychological and social support program that ranges from the individual and familial needs of the employees to the business environment. In addition to this, employers are now attaching more importance to human resources in these increasingly competitive conditions. For this reason, businesses require their employees to develop positive attitudes towards their workplace and have more commitment and loyalty. In other words, they aim to keep the job satisfaction and organizational commitment of their employees as high as possible. In that respect, the aim of this study is to investigate the impact of social work practices in the workplace on the job satisfaction and organizational commitment level of the employees. For this reason, data were collected using "Minnesota Job Satisfaction Scale" as well as "Organizational Commitment Scale" which was developed by Meyer and Allen. The scope of the study was limited to large businesses operating in the service industry in Istanbul. The questionnaires were applied to employees at workplaces with and without social work practices. Thus, the aim was to compare the job satisfaction and organizational commitment levels of the workplaces with and without social work practices. In this context, the data set obtained from four hundred and fourteen employees was analyzed using SPSS statistical program. According to the findings, it was found that social work practices in the workplace had a positive impact on the internal and external satisfaction levels that are the sub-dimensions of job satisfaction. In addition, the results of the analysis showed that there is a positive impact of social work practices in the workplace on the emotional and normative commitment of the sub-dimensions of organizational affiliation; however, no effect was found on the continuation commitment.
Der Beitrag stellt das Workplace Counselling als eine Methode vor, mithilfe derer Unternehmen die (psychische) Gesundheit ihrer Mitarbeiter einerseits und dadurch andererseits auch die eigene Produktivität positiv unterstützen können. Aufgrund der Vielzahl möglicher theoretischer Fundierungen dieser Form der Beratung, werden wichtige Schulen der Psychotherapie (Psychoanalyse, Klienten-zentrierte Therapie, Verhaltenstherapie, Kognitive Therapie sowie Logotherapie) vorgestellt und deren mögliche Anwendung im organisationalen Kontext diskutiert. Arbeitgebern wie Hilfesuchenden soll damit eine Unterstützung für die Auswahl der richtigen Interventionsform gegeben werden. Zudem wird eine Öffnung der Leser für die Nutzung des Wissens aus der Therapieforschung im Arbeitsleben angestrebt.
This chapter addresses the topic of employee assistance programs (EAP) and their role in occupational health and wellness. The chapter is organized into three main parts. The first part is an overview of the nature of EAPs. The second part reviews the research evidence for EAPs. The third part describes seven major trends in the field of EAP. The expansion of EAP services into regions beyond North America closes the chapter. An extensive reference list is provided. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012. All rights reserved.
Existing interventions for occupational problems are reviewed and three areas of concern are identified: (1) the predominance of cognitive-behavioural at the expense of psychodynamic approaches; (2) the modest cost-effectiveness of stress-intervention programmes; and (3) sampling and measurement procedures. This paper addresses these issues by presenting a brief therapeutic model comprising two weekly sessions of therapy followed by a third session three months later. This model is termed the Two-Plus-One Model of therapy. Two modes of therapy are presented within this model: a brief cognitive-behavioural package, called ‘Prescriptive therapy’, and a brief relationship-oriented package, called ‘Exploratory therapy’. Initial outcome data are presented from a pilot study comprising 12 consecutive clients, of whom half received one therapy mode and half the other within a psychological clinic. In addition, case material describing a single case within each therapy mode is presented. Issues relating to the three areas of concern are addressed as well as an outline for a large ongoing comparative outcome trial.
This article describes the use of angermanagement techniques in two cases which initially appeared to be poor candidates for brief EAP therapy. Success in the first case was due to simple skill-building. Success in the second case was due to providing the couple with something they wanted even more than their highly satisfying fighting. These two cases reveal the innovation as well as effectiveness possible with brief EAP services.
The process of establishing and evaluating an industrial social work programme in a small distillery using a third party university model is described. The programme is based on a participatory philosophy and the importance of joint management and union "ownership" of the programme is emphasized. The evaluation examined health and attitudes of employees, absenteeism and productivity, cost effectiveness and reduction in grievances. The overall finding was that both the employees and the corporation benefitted substantially from the project.
The method and major findings of a complex, ‘pluralist’ evaluation, which investigated the effectiveness of the counselling provision of an employee support and counselling service in a local authority education department over 22 months, are outlined. Reference is made to the underlying philosophical approach of integrated pluralist evaluation, which may represent a significant step forward from the accepted methods of triangulation. In addition to achieving predicted high satisfaction rates from clients, counsellors and clients both indicated significant improvements in all measures used. These were maintained at follow-up which took place at intervals from 1 to 18 months after counselling had ended. Reduction in absenteeism post-counselling suggested the possibility of very substantial revenue savings. Responses also indicated the acute, and often chronic, need for employee counselling provision in the education system.
This paper highlights a unique experiment in stress counselling in industry. It will provide the background to an in-house stress counselling service for postal employees in the north-west and north-east of England. The structure of the counselling service, its location within the organization, the problems of setting it up, the terms of reference, the client base and many more issues will be discussed. In addition, systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of the service has also been independently undertaken and will be discussed. Preliminary findings on the impact of stress counselling on sickness absence and psychosocial measures of job stress are presented and discussed.
Describes the way in which one UK organization has responded to the problem of stress at work through the establishment of an in-house counselling service available without charge to all employees. Describes the structure and mode of operation of the service, including the monitoring and evaluation process. Presents broad outcomes of the monitoring and evaluation and draws out some implications for good practice.
A sample of 104 British transportation employees with alcohol-related problems were examined for changes in mental health and job perceptions before and after a company-based counselling programme. Data was mainly obtained by means of structured interviews. When clients were assessed at a 6-month follow-up, significant positive changes were found for the group as a whole in terms of context-free mental health, self- and supervisor ratings of work performance as well as measures of absenteeism. Small positive differences were observed for measures relating to perceived work demands. However, no significant differences were observed for the measures of job satisfaction and job commitment. The findings are discussed in relation to the expected client and organizational outcomes of workplace counselling interventions.