Is staff counselling an effective intervention in employee distress? : an investigation of two employee counselling services in the National Health Service
A number of broad questions were addressed (a) Is counselling effective?, (b) Are post-counselling gains maintained at follow-up? (c) Does the sgape of change across counselling sessions adhere to the 'dose-effect' model?, (d) Do measures of distress and interpersonal problems differ in the extent of pre-post change? and (e) Are there any within-group differences in the extent of pre-post change on measures?, (f) A further aim of the study was to collect qualitative accounts of the intervention from clients, to build up a 'picture' of clients experiences of service use: To obtain a consumers point of view. The study took place at two sites, one in London, the second in the Midlands. A prepost-follow-up design was adopted. In addition, measures were completed for each session of counselling. Finally, clients also completed an evaluation questionnaire. Hypotheses were, generally, supported by analyses. There were substantial pre-post reductions on measures of distress and interpersonal problems, which were maintained at follow-up. Significant reductions on measures across sessions of counselling were observed, with change curves adhering to the 'dose-effect' model. Qualitative analyses built-up a picture of the rationale for service use and the costs and benefits that clients perceived from counselling. Discussion focused on a number of issues: The first, the difference between the reported study and the bulk of psychotherapeutic studies, secondly, the methodological and practical issues that arose during the study and, thirdly, the need to approach applied counselling research from a new perspective, that is less dependent on the techniques developed by efficacy studies.