The client, counsellor and organisational components of an external workplace counselling service : an evaluation
This is a study of work place counselling. It responded to four key stimulants: (1) the paucity of workplace counselling evaluations; (2) the need to more fully incorporate the client and organisation into evaluations; (3) the call for an increased qualitative focus in counselling research; (4) the need for practitioners to become research-minded. The site was the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade's (NIFB) external counselling service. The study was inspired by the concept of the workplace counselling triangle - of client, counsellor and organisation. It explores the degree of congruence across the aims, needs, expectations and evaluations of each of the three facets; the aim being to ascertain whether the NIFB 's counselling provision meets the needs of its three primary stakeholders? A qualitative methodology was adopted, with stakeholder perspectives captured by semi-structured interviews. Counselling process assessments, sick absence analysis and a workforce awareness survey were also conducted. The counselling service was dramatically effective from the client perspective. Counsellors, while satisfied with their client work had reservations about organisational links. Their wish for greater primary intervention was matched by the NIFB being surprised that they were not more proactive at this level! A need for effective organisational induction and terms of engagement were identified, so as to allow counsellors to move beyond the personal counselling role. The observed reduction in absenteeism post-counselling was a dividend for the organisation. Although the NIFB counselling service does not currently meet all stakeholder needs, it has been shown to be significantly effective in both human and financial terms. The service is needed, period.