In-House Counsellor: A Case Study
Being human makes us want to be seen and to be heard for who we are. Those times when we do feel seen heard, we might not even notice and realise it’s a thing. Those times when we don’t feel seen or heard, we still might not realise why we do but it will show in our feelings and reactions.
This post isn’t about being seen and heard but that’s just part of the story of how I came to realise the value of the service I offer to employers as the “in-house counsellor” rather than providing an “enhanced telephone counselling service”.
I find it so frustrating when I know my service is different to what others offer but I can’t seem to articulate it. When I hear that an employer already has an Employee Assistance Program wellbeing provider or health insurance that includes psychotherapy, it riles me! But why?
I do realise it’s not the potential client’s fault! So I must find a way to clearly articulate my offer, so I can be heard, and so potential employer clients see what I have to offer that’s different.
A conversation with Caroline Peverett of Türner and Co inspired me. We are good friends and I was lamenting (moaning?) about my lack of employer clients other than her firm. My messaging to potential clients about the value I offer in terms of quality and price clearly weren’t cutting it.
And as it turns out, whilst I do provide excellent quality and value, there’s more to it than that.
Caroline said something along the lines of “it’s probably because we all know you”.
She was right of course. Team Türner do all know me and know who I am. They see me, that I’m friendly and a regular person and they see that I’m approachable. I think it makes a difference that I’ve worked for professional service firms and commercial companies (large and small – charities too as it happens) so I see and hear the Team and I get their work environment.
This is how it would work for you, if you choose me as your in-house counsellor.
I met the team leaders, managers and staff at the beginning of the contract, just to say hello, exchange names and let everyone see who I am. I had a longer discussion with Christine Turner, founder of Türner & Co about the commercial aspects, how staff would book and how we deal with confidentiality and anonymity for staff*.
Leaders and managers in the firm now have confidence to encourage staff to get in touch with me:
- as a general message from time to time in team meetings, and
- specifically when someone is struggling.
By knowing who I am, it’s easier for staff to break through the barrier and get in touch. It just isn’t a big deal. And once we’ve had the first appointment, it makes it so much easier for them to get in touch a second time when they need help.
They can head to the website too, and have a look at my video and what I have to say.
Added employer benefit
By reinforcing the message and encouraging staff to get in touch with me, the team:
- witness how important their mental health is to leadership
- have gained confidence to speak to their manager when they are struggling, in the knowledge they will be listened too,
which can only be a good thing.
I feel so privileged to be engaged as the in-house counsellor, and feel part of the team even though I’m quite separate.
What’s on offer for you
If you choose to engage me as your in-house counsellor, I include a visit (in-person or remote) to say hello to leaders, managers, and staff. They can see there’s a real person attached to the service, and I help leadership decide how to make sure I’m spoken about regularly, to keep psychological wellbeing as a regular topic.
There’s a bit more information below, but I welcome even the most tentative conversation by email email@example.com or call 07968767232.
“It’s important to us that our team has great mental health support. Counselling West Bridgford’s telephone service ensures this support is easy to access and Michelle’s high level qualifications and friendly approach reassures us. CWB’s good value pay-as-you-go contract means we only pay for the service time we use.”
Christine Turner, Türner & Co
*I provide confidential, non-judgmental telephone counselling support and the employer doesn’t know who has counselling appointments unless the employee chooses to tell their manager. I invoice on a pay-as-you go basis, and we’ll get together to discuss if the number of appointments seem to be increasing to unusual levels. I’m trusted by leadership, and bound by both ICAEW and UKCP ethical standards.
One or two appointments tends to be enough. Usually, individuals want to just say out loud what’s going on in their life, or work out what action they can take to feel better, or a mixture of both. You may choose to limit the number of appointments per employee. You may also wish to provide blocks of in-person or video counselling for a particular employee who requires extended therapy.