Models of work place counseling applicable to social case work

Models of work place counseling applicable to social case work

Various models portray the tasks and roles of counselors in the work place. The following
is not an exhaustive list nor indeed do models exclude each other. The 7 models presented here are:

1. Counselling orientation models
2. Problem focused models
3. Work oriented models
4. Manager based models
5. Externally based models
6. Internally based models
7. Welfare based models

1. Counselling orientation models

It is characterized by its use of a counselling approach as the key factor in what is offered to employee clients. Counsellors by and large, subscribe to or are affiliated to, and often trained in, a particular therapeutic approach which they use when working with organisational clients. Individual counselors were appointed by companies who were more concerned with individual appointed than the theoretical orientation from which they emerged. The main interest is focused almost exclusively on individuals and is the organizational dimensions of counselling work are largely ignored.

2. Problem focused models

The problem focused model of counselling sees the counselor’s role as helping individuals to work with the immediate problems they bring. Where as these problems may not be entirely work based, counselling confines itself to working with immediate issue. One model of this is contained in a training manual for counselors in the work place.
 Formulate problem
 Generate solution
 Action plan

Several problem focused models are available. Nelson –Jones (1995) developed DAISE, a five stage model in what he calls ‘life skills counselling’. The five stage comprises a very helpful problem solving methodology:
D – Develop the relationship, identify and clarify problems
A – Assess problems and redefine in skills terms
S – State working goals and plan interventions
I – Intervene to develop self helping skills
E – End and consolidate self helping skills.

3. Work oriented models

The work oriented is named because it is centered solely on issues blocking an individual in his or her work. Counselling confines itself to the issues interfering with effective employment. Work oriented models of counselling pinpoint the immediate problem as a work place issue and work with it. They do not spend time on the underlying areas of why problems exist, nor are they interested in problems/ issues that are not related to the workplace problems and move back to work as quickly as possible. This is an attractive model for managers who want value for money and want to think that time spent in counselling is for the welfare of the organisation through the individual.

4. Manager based model

Though not wide spread, there is a tendency in some organisations to view managers as quasi counsellors for their staff. Since much managerial time and many of their tasks involve working with and managing people, it is a short step to propel them into the counselling role. Nixon and carol (1994) have argued strongly against managers taking on a formal counselling role. Not only does it cross boundaries, in their view, but it puts employees in an impossible situation: asking on one hand , that they share personal issues with their manager and on the other, that they be ready for appraisal in relation to their careers with the same manager. Much work place counselling is not counselling in modern definition of the term but relates to situations which require the use of counselling skills.

5. Externally based models

Externally based models of counselling are those brought in and bought in from outside organisation. Usually in the from of an EAP, they are administered and organized from outside. The format can use any of the model or indeed a mixture of them.
Strengths and weakness of external based models:

 Not part of the politics of the organisation
 Can challenge what is taken fro granted with in the company.
 Can offer training as well as counselling
 Can offer clear confidentiality

 Can provide a range of services
 Can offer a number of counselors with different skills, backgrounds etc.
 The organisation of responsible for malpractices of the counselors
 May not be flexible in what they offer
 Have to make a profit
 May not adapt easily to individual companies
 Can unwittingly get involved in the politics of the organisation
 May not understand the culture of the organisation
 May be seen as ‘outsiders’ by potential clients
 May not be able to educate the system to what counselling means
 Their counsellors may not have had experience of workplace counselling
 The counsellors may know nothing about the organisation from which clients come.

6. Internally based models

A part time or full time counsellor, or in some instances a team of counsellors, is employed to work with employees. The counselling service can be part of an already existing department or an independent unit in its own right.
Strengths and weakness of internally based models:


 Counselor in touch with the culture of the company
 Can make assessment in the light of the various organizational systems.
 Counsellor has access to the formal and informal structures of the organisation
 Can build up great credibility fro the counselling service
 Is able to get feedback into the system from the counselling work
 Can adapt counselling work to organizational needs.
 An provide mediation
 Is a visible human face
 Can provide multiple roles


 Counselor can be more subjective in his/her assessments
 Van be vulnerable if re organisation takes place
 Counselor can get pulled vary easily into identifying with either the organization or the individual.

 Counselor can be identified by employees with management and vice versa.
 Can be isolated
 Can be used by management to do its ‘dirty work’
 Counselor is involved in politics of the organisation
 Can be used by individuals against the organisation
 More difficult to maintain confidentiality: employees may be worried about leakage of personal information.

7. Welfare based models

It combines a number of roles with employees, one of which is counselling. Welfare officers have traditionally been employed in a number of organisations to fulfill several tasks depending on client needs: befriending, information giving, advocate, home visiting during sickness, giving legal and financial advice, advising on a range of topics, counselling.

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