OCCUPATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST: WHY AND FOR WHOM?
OCCUPATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST: WHY AND FOR WHOM?
Uncomfortable professional situation, lack of motivation, burnout, long-term unemployment, work-related phobias or the desire to retrain... The reasons that can lead to consulting an occupational psychologist are multiple and varied and can concern us all at one time or another in our career. Discover in this article why and how to consult an occupational psychologist.
Occupational psychologist: what is their role?
Burnout, harassment or chronic stress: these are terms that we often hear in the media, as part of a society that is increasingly interested in mental health and the psychological consequences of work.
However, the scope of action of the occupational psychologist is much broader, since they may be called upon to intervene with employees as well as with companies. Indeed, well-being at work is a central concern for many companies, many of whom are looking to develop a more human approach within their teams. This is first and foremost for ethical reasons, but also to attract, engage and retain a talented and qualified workforce. Situations such as these are where an occupational psychologist can step in and provide solutions.
Moreover, in the ever-changing world of work, workers often face many professional upheavals, such as company restructuring, redundancy, unemployment, career transition, and many others.
The occupational psychologist is there to help them take stock of their situation, their skills and their expectations, and to support them in finding solutions. It should be noted that an occupational psychologist is different from a clinical psychologist, and therefore does not practice therapy.
Why consult an occupational psychologist?
The occupational psychologist can intervene with various actors:
Companies have many reasons to call upon occupational psychologists, for example to support managers and HR teams in the recruitment of new talents. The practitioner can then assess the candidates and draw up their profiles, according to the companies' expectations.
Their role is also to provide companies with the keys to promote dialogue with their employees and quality of life at work. They can intervene for training, restructuring, internal mobility or any type of problem requiring an understanding of the expectations and needs of each employee.
The occupational psychologist can support managers in their missions, improving their ability to understand the situation and the people in their team, in order to act in an adapted and beneficial way.
Whether it is when a manager takes up a new position, changes responsibilities or faces a specific difficulty, the occupational psychologist can, for example, help a manager to:
- Communicate better to strengthen team cohesion
- Develop their managerial posture
- Learn to manage stress and emotions
- Develop self-confidence and self-esteem
- Facilitate change
- Optimise organisation
- Delegate responsibility, involve the team
- Learn to manage difficult personalities
- Reconcile professional and private life
Workers who are going through a difficult situation at work
Fortunately, when mental health deteriorates at work (and impinges on private life), there are solutions, such as consulting a psychologist. With their expertise and knowledge of the human condition in the workplace, this specialist can support employees who are experiencing difficulties such as:
- Loss of motivation
- Loss of meaning
- Stress or anxiety
- Work overload
- Moral and sexual harassment
- Conflicts with colleagues or management
- Feeling isolated
- Difficulties in adapting to change
- Organisational difficulties
- Loss of self-confidence
- Feeling of not being able to evolve
- Desire to change direction or to seek a new professional opportunity
- Fears and phobias that interfere with working life
- Issues related to remote working
People who are looking for support during a major change can also turn to an occupational psychologist, for example in the case of:
- Restructuring of the company
- Integration into a company
- Unemployment (long-term or otherwise)
- Professional transition
Thanks to their expertise, the occupational psychologist will provide help and support, whatever the situation the company or the employee is going through. In addition to being able to put words to their problems, obtaining an external opinion will allow employees to see things from another angle, to put things into perspective and to better analyse the problematic situation in order to learn how to react correctly and to put in place appropriate solutions.
How do the consultations proceed?
The way the psychologist's intervention takes place will depend on several things. Firstly, unless a psychologist is present in your company (which may be the case in large organisations but rarely in smaller ones), it is up to you to take steps to find an independent practice near you.
The occupational psychologist must respect the code of ethics of their profession, and their duty is to preserve the private life and intimacy of their patients by guaranteeing respect for professional secrecy. No one is obliged to reveal anything about themselves, so it is up to the employee to decide whether or not to reveal their exchanges with the psychologist to their company and colleagues.
The first step is often difficult: picking up the phone and making an initial appointment with the psychologist. During this call, you will be asked to briefly explain the reasons why you want to consult the psychologist and, of course, to indicate your availability.
Some psychologists allow patients to make an appointment directly online, even for a first consultation.
Then, during the first session, the specialist will ask you questions to try to understand your situation and your difficulties, and define with you the course of action to follow.
During this first appointment, the psychologist and the patient will agree together on the duration of the support. Thus, the follow-up will be more or less long depending on the situation and the needs of the patient. It may be limited to a single appointment or, on the contrary, extend over several months. In any case, the patient is free to shorten or extend this psychological support.
Remote consultations have become widely available these past two years and a growing number of occupational psychologists offer them. This option may suit some people, while others will feel more comfortable face-to-face. It's up to you!