Counselling In The Workplace


Late in 1998 a friend of mine phoned me up to tell me that "Everything I had ever told him about Counselling and Therapy was true." Knowing that he had been ill with the flu, and was not in the habit of agreeing or disagreeing with any of my opinions, I began to wonder what flu he was suffering from. It turns out, that he had seen an identical news item all day on BBC 1 regional news, in regards to counselling in the workplace. Which I had also seen.

In the space of about five minutes this report went through all the problems that every survivor is well aware of, and came to the conclusion that until therapy was made safer, it was best avoided. Calls to members of the network regarding this news item drew a blank. They knew nothing about it. Enquiries to the BBC Newsroom in Bristol also went nowhere.

In March of last year a small item entitled ‘Crocodile Tears’ appeared in the ‘GUARDIAN’ by Penny Cottee. The TV report on BBC 1 regional news on Counselling in The Workplace was based on a report commissioned by the Health & Safety Executive and was carried out by Manchester University. The research team was headed by a Mr Cooper. Who after three years came to the conclusion that counselling in the workplace was little more than a PR Exercise. Carried out by large companies who want their employees to think they care about them.

The report also showed that monitoring of these company backed schemes to be virtually non-existent, and that over two thirds of the companies had carried out no research before starting these programmes.

The other major conclusion it seems was that most of these schemes were more interested in the client’s personal problems rather than employment related concerns. Which should be of no great surprise to VEX readers. If you would like a copy of this report it’s available from The Health & Safety Executive – Telephone – 0171- 717-6000, it costs, (you should now sit down) - £50.50. Although you can loan it from their library. Hopefully the TUC will have studied this report. Last year when they were contacted about the BBC 1 regional TV report, they knew nothing about it. Bad counselling is dangerous inside and outside the workplace. VEX and the Network would welcome the support of any trade union or the congress in trying change this situation, after all people with problems are workers too.