In recent years there has been significant growth in workplace counselling and the EAP industry. There are unquestionable benefits to employers in making use of such services. Providing employees with access to counselling can help in the management of sensitive employment issues such as work-related stress, alcohol and drug abuse.

As there is no statutory regulation of practitioners within the counselling profession, some care needs to be exercised to ensure that providers of such services are adequately qualified. The UK association of EAP providers (EAPA) has a code of conduct for members and has some minimum requirements in terms of supervision and qualifications. An organisation considering using an EAP provider should ensure that the organisation they choose meets the standards required by the EAPA as an absolute minimum.

Employee Assistance Programme Providers

Are commercial organisations that typically offer employees with assistance, advice and counselling in the following areas: 

  • Personal matters - health, relationship, family, financial, emotional, legal, anxiety, alcohol, drugs and other related issues.
  • Work matters - work demands, fairness at work, working relationships, harassment and bullying, personal and interpersonal skills, work/life balance, stress and other related issues.

Counsellors

There are two main professional associations for qualified counsellors: the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapists (UKCP) and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Members of UKCP consist of organisations and institutions that offer training to psychotherapists to the prescribed standards. BACP (which is a non-voting 'friend' of the UKCP) tends to attract individual counsellors who are undergoing or have completed BACP accredited training. The Westminster Pastoral Foundation is also a significant presence in the counselling arena whose member agencies tend to attract counsellors who have either trained within a UKCP member organisation or who are BACP registered or accredited members.

The organisations mentioned above have rigorous codes of conduct and training requirements and as such represent a good starting point for organisations seeking appropriately qualified counsellors.