Counseling occasionally is necessary for employees due to job and personal problems that subject them to excessive stress.

Counseling is discussion of a problem that usually has emotional content with an employee in order to help the employee cope with it better. Counseling seeks to improve employee’s mental health. People feel comfortable about themselves and about other people and able to meet the demands of life when they are good in mental health.

Characteristics of Counseling:

(i) Counseling is an exchange of ideas and feelings between two people.

(ii) It tries to improve organizational performance by helping the employees to cope with the problems.

(iii) It makes organization be more human and considerate with people’s problems.

(iv) Counseling may be performed by both professionals and non-professionals.

(v) Counseling is usually confidential in order to have free talk and discussions.

(vi) It involves both job and personal problems.

Functions of Counseling:

The general objective of counseling is to help employees to improve their mental health and develop in self-confidence, understanding, self-control and ability to work effectively. This objective can be achieved by performing various counseling functions.

They are,

(i) Advice: One of the important functions of counseling is offering advice to the counselee. The counselor has to understand the problem of the counselee completely, before offering advice and suggesting a course o-f action.

(ii) Reassurance: In order to give courage to face a problem confidently, counseling provides employees with reassurance. Normally reassurance is not acceptable to the counselee. However, it is useful in some situations.

(iii) Communication: Counseling will improve both upward and downward communication abilities of the counselees.

(iv) Release of Emotional Tension: Releasing emotional tension is an important function of counseling. People feel emotional release from their frustration after counseling. Release of tension may not solve the entire problem, but run over mental blocks to the solution.

(v) Clarified Thinking: Release of tension and thereby removal of mental blocks to the solution through counseling allows the counselee to think freely and objectively. Thus, clarified thinking tends to be the result of emotional release.’

(vi) Reorientation: Reorientation is not just emotional release or clear thinking but it involves a change in the counselee’s psychic self through a change in the basic goals and values.

Non-directive Counseling:

This type of counseling is at the opposite end of the continuum. It is the process of skillfully listening and encouraging a counselee to explain troublesome problems, understand them and determine appropriate solutions. The employee also plays a vital role in this type of counseling.

Employee primarily controls the direction of counseling, takes up the responsibility, develops solutions, and assumes equal status with the counselor and is psychologically independent as a person.

Participative counseling:

Both directive and non directive methods suffer from limitations.

While the former is often is not accepted by independent employees, the latter needs professional to operate and hence is costly. Hence, the counseling used in most situations is in between these two. This middle path is known as participative counseling. Participative is a counselor-counselee relationship that establishes a cooperative exchange of ideas to help solve an employee’s problem. It is neither wholly counselor-center nor wholly counselee-center. Counselor and counselee mutually apply their different knowledge, perceptions, skills, perspectives and values to problem into the problems and find solutions.

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