Employees face a variety of problems both at workplace and at home. These problems involve economic, social, physical, psychological and religious factors. These problems can affect their performance and productivity. The problem may be between employee and employee, employee and manager and between managers.
Keith Davis has defined counseling as, “discussion of an emotional problem with an employee with the general objective of decreasing it.”
Counselling is a relationship between two persons a counsellor and the counsellee where the former assists the later with his professional expertise in times of difficulty. In the organizational context, the counsellor is the manager and the counsellee is the employee who takes advice from the counsellor. According to Keith Davis, Employee counselling involves a discussion of an emotional problem with an employee with the general objective of decreasing it.
Counselling is a two way processes in which the counsellor gives guidance to counsellee and makes him adjust in the environment of the organization. The basic purpose of counselling is to make the employee feel comfortable in adjusting with other employees and the organization’s systems for growth and development.
- It tries to improve organisational performance by helping the employees to cope with the problems.
- Counselling is an exchange of ideas and feelings between two people.
- It makes organisation be more human and considerate with people’s problems.
- Counselling may be performed by both professionals and non-professionals.
- Counselling is usually confidential in order to have free talk and discussions.
- Counselling deals with emotional problems and is not generally concerned with technical, commercial or legal problems which are by nature non-emotional problems.
- It involves both job and personal problems.
- Counselling involves discussions and it is an act of communication.
- The main purpose of counselling is to understand or decrease an employees’ emotional disorder.
- Professionally trained counsellors are required for resolving serious emotional problems. Managers and superiors can counsel for non-serious emotional problems faced by the employees.
One of the important functions of counselling is offering advice “to the counselee.” The counsellor has to understand the problem of the counselee completely, before offering advice and suggesting a course of action.
In order to give courage to face a problem confidently, counselling provides employees with reassurance. Normally reassurance is not acceptable to the counselee. However, it is useful in some situations.
Counselling helps improve both upward and downward communications. In an upward direction, it is a key for employees-to make the management know their feeling. Counselling initiates an upward signal. Another part of the counsellor’s job is to discover emotional problems relating to company’s policies and to interpret those problems to top management.
Release of Emotional Tension:
Releasing emotional tension is an important function of counselling. People feel emotional release from their frustration after counselling. Release of tension may not solve the entire problem, but it removes mental blocks to the solution.
Another function of counselling is that of clarified thinking. As emotional blocks to straight thinking are relieved while narrating the problems to the counsellor, one begins to think more rationally. Clarified thinking tends to be a normal result of emotional release, but a skilled counsellor can act as a catalyst to bring about clear thinking more quickly. The client begins to accept responsibility for his own problems and strives to be more realistic in solving them.
It involves a change in the employee’s psychic self through a change in basic goals and values. Mostly, it needs a revision of the employee’s level of aspiration to bring it more in line with actual attainment. It is largely a job of the professional counsellor.
(i) Counselling is an exchange of ideas and feelings between two persons.
(ii) It is concerned with both personal and work problems.
(iii) Counselling may be performed by both professionals and non-professionals.
(iv) Counselling is usually confidential so as to have free talk and discussion.
(v) It tries to improve organisational performance by helping the employees to cope with their problems.
It is full counselling. It is the process of listening to an employee’s problem, deciding with the employee what should be done and telling and motivating the employee to do it. This type of counselling mostly does the function of advice, reassurance and communication. It may also perform other functions of counselling.
It centers on the counsellor. The counsellor, after hearing the problems of an employee, decides what should be done and gives advice and suggestion to him to resolve the problem. But directive counselling seldom succeeds, as people do not wish to take up advice normally, no matter how good it might be.
It is the process of skilfully listening to the emotional problems of an employee, understand him/her and determine the course of action to be adopted to resolve his problem. It focuses on the counselee hence it is called “client centered” counselling. Professional counsellors usually adopt this method of counselling. The unique advantage of this type of counselling is its ability to cause the employees reorientation. The main stress is to ‘change’ the person instead of dealing with his immediate problem only.
The non-directive counsellor deals with respect the person so affected. He takes the person as best to solve his own problems and he facilitates the person to reach his goal.
In non-directive counselling, the employee is permitted to have maximum freedom in determining the course of the interview. It is the process of skilfully listening and encouraging a counselee to explain troublesome problems, understand them and determine appropriate solutions. Fundamentally, the approach is to listen, with understanding and without criticism or appraisal, to the problem as it is described by the employee.
The employee is encouraged, through the manager’s attitude and reaction to what is said or not said, to express feelings without fear of shame, embarrassment, or reprisal. The free expression that is encouraged in the non-directive approach tends to reduce tensions and frustrations. The employee who has had an opportunity to release pent-up feelings is usually in a better position to view the problem more objectively and with a problem-solving attitude.
Is the process in which both the councillor and client mutually cooperate to solve the problems of the client. It is not neither wholly client centered nor wholly counsellor centered but it is centered both councillor and client equally. It is defined as mutual discussion of an employee’s emotional problem to set up conditions and plans of actions that will remedy it. This form of counselling appears to be more suitable to managerial attitude and temperament in our country.
Among the three from of counselling, the advice offered in directive counselling considers the surface crises; the nondirective counselling goes to the underlining cause, the real crisis that leads the employee to understand his problem. It is thus suggested that nondirective to counselling is, probably, the best among the three forms.
In attempting to help an employee who has a problem, a variety of counselling approaches are used. All of these counselling approaches, however, depend on active listening. Sometimes the mere furnishing of information or advice may be the solution to what at first appeared to be a knotty problem.
More frequently, however, the problem cannot be solved easily because of frustrations or conflicts that are accompanied by strong feelings such as fear, confusion, or hostility. A manager, therefore, needs to learn to use whatever approach appears to be suitable at the time. Flexibility is a key component of the employee counselling process.
Both directive and non-directive methods suffer from limitations. While the former is often not accepted by independent employees, the latter needs professionals to operate and hence is costly. Hence, the counselling used in most situations is in between these two. This middle path is known as participative counselling.
Participative is a counsellor-counselee relationship that establishes a cooperative exchange of ideas to help solve an employee’s problems. It is neither wholly counsellor centered nor wholly counselee-centered. Counsellor and counselee mutually apply their different knowledge, perceptions, skills, perspectives and values to problem into the problems and find solutions.
According to Desensitization, once an individual is shocked in a particular situation, he/she gives himself/herself no chance for the situation to recur. This method can be used to overcome avoidance reactions, so as to improve the emotional weak spots. If an employee is once shocked by the behavior, approach or action of his superior, he would continue to avoid that superior.
It is difficult for such superiors to be effective counsellors, unless such superiors prove otherwise through their behavior or action on the contrary. Similarly, once an employee is shocked by a particular situation, he can be brought back to that situation only if he will be convinced through desensitization that the shock will not to take place further. Counsellor can make use of desensitization in such situations.
Discharge of emotional tensions can be called catharsis. A Catharsis is an emotional discharge through which one can achieve a state of moral or spiritual renewal or achieve a state of liberation from anxiety and stress.
Catharsis is a Greek word and it means cleansing.
Emotional tensions can be discharged by talking them out or by relieving of the painful experience which engendered them. It is an important technique as a means of reducing the tensions associated with anxiety, fear, hostility, or guilt. Catharsis helps to gain insight into the ways an emotional trauma has been affecting the behaviour.
Originally, the term was used as a metaphor in Poetics by Aristotle to explain the impact of tragedy on the audiences.
The most common interpretation of the term ‘Catharsis’ is purgation and purification, and are still widely used. The most recent interpretation of the term catharsis is “intellectual clarification”
Founded by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis or insight delves deep into an employee’s past and brings to light past experiences and current unconscious thoughts and behaviours of the employee, that are believed to be the cause of their current problems. Specifically, it targets how inner drives such as the id, superego, and ego conflict with outside pressures such as cultural or religious obligations.
Insight is the ability to acquire a new accurate awareness or comprehension about a thing or person. Insight therapy is a type of therapy that helps the employee to understand how events in the past are negatively influencing the current thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. This type of treatment can be quite empowering for employees, because it is identifying the source of their problems. Identifying the reasons for low self-esteem, insecurity, depression, anxiety, etc., is the first step towards resolving those conflicts and issues.
With the help of insight one may find that he/she has devalued himself/herself unnecessarily, or his/her aspirations were unrealistic, or that his/her childish interpretation of an event was inaccurate. Then he/she can overcome the weakness.
Developing the New Patterns:
Developing new patterns becomes very often necessary when other methods to deal with weak spots remain ineffective. In order to develop new, more satisfying emotional reactions, the individual needs to expose himself to situations where he can experience positive feelings. The manager who deals with such individuals may motivate or instigate them to put themselves into such situations, so that their self-confidence may increase.
Every counsellor must concentrate his/her full attention on two aspects viz., using of assessment tools, and utilizing counselling methods, choice of which differs from person to person, situation to situation, and from case to case.
- Rapport Building:
Rapport building is essential for any effective counselling outcome. In this phase, a good counsellor attempts to establish a climate of acceptance, warmth, support, openness, and mutuality. He/she does this by listening to the employees’ problems and feeling, by communicating his/her understanding to the employees, and by expressing a genuineness of interest in them.
In the exploration phase, besides accepting the employees, listening to them, and establishing a climate of openness, the counsellor attempts to understand as well as help the employees understand their own situational strengths, weaknesses, problems, and needs. Counselling skills lie in this.
- Action Planning:
In the action planning stage, the counsellor and the employee jointly workout or plan specific action steps for the development of the employee.