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STRESS AND COUNSELING. By Cemre ATESIN. What Stress Is??. Strees is the general term applied to the pressures people feel in life. The presence of strees at work is almost inevitable in many jobs. However, individual differences account for a wide range of reaction to stress;.

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stress and counseling



what stress is
What Stress Is??
  • Strees is the general term applied to the pressures people feel in life. The presence of strees at work is almost inevitable in many jobs. However, individual differences account for a wide range of reaction to stress;
Stress: When it becomes excessive, employees develope various syptoms of strees that can harm their job performance and health;
  • Physiological: Ulcers, Digestive problems, Headaches, High blood pressure, Sleep disruption.
  • Psychological: Emotional instability, Moodiness, Nervousness and tension, Chronic worry, Depression, Burnout.
  • Behavioral: Excessive smoking,Abuse of alchol or drugs, Absenteeism, Aggression, Safety problems, Performans problems.
extreme products of stress
Extreme Products of Stress
  • Stress can be either temporary or long-term, either mild or severe. If stress is temporary and mild, most people can handle it or at least recover from is effects rather quicly.
extreme products of stress5
Extreme Products of Stress
  • Burnout: The human body can’t instantly rebuilt its ability to cope with stress once it’s depleted. People become physically and psychologically weakened from trying to combat it. This condion is called burnout.
extreme products of stress6
Extreme Products of Stress
  • Trauma: Another severe product of stress is trauma, occurs following a major threat to one’s security. The event could be a natural disaster, an organizational crisis, dramatic employee abuse by the employer, or personal job loss.

One promlematicdisorder is called workplace trauma. Attitudinal clues to workplace trauma include severe moodiness, concentration difficulties, and alienation, in addition to the more distinctive behaviors of tardiness, absenteeism, and accident-proneness.


A common source of workplace trauma is sudden job loss, with its potentially crushing effect on one’s self-esteem. The individual impact was often magnified by two factors –the lack of warning and the lack of insularity felt by even high-performing employees.Some experience layoff survivor’s sickness, with feelings of uncertainty, anger, guilt, and distrust. They are simultaneously glad to have a job and guilty that their workmates were displaced. In the meantime the job pressures on them often increase dramatically as they try to shoulder the tasks of former colleagues. They also wonder, “Will i be the next to be cut?”


Another source of trauma is to witness workplace violence. Sometimes a trouble employee takes dramatic and harmful physical action against coworkers, managers or company property. These violent, anger-based acts can include unprovoked fights, destruction of property or use of weapons to harm others.Any person who witness violence, receiver injury from it or lives under the fear of repeated future violence may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The shock of sudden and dramatic violent incidents often produces immidiate stress-related syptoms. More significantly, the effects of these traumatic crises may last for years and require lengthy treatment.


Even more important than detecting stress, burnout and trauma is its prevention.For example, the U.S. Postal Service has established a crisis management plan that focuses on five areas;1-Careful selection of new employees2-Zero tolerance policy to deal with aberrant behavior3-Improvement of the work culture4-Mandatory training for managers to help them spot potential problems5-Threat assesment process that is automatically implemented after an employee is dismissed.As a result, actual assaults have dropped sharply and employee fears about violence have been cut in half.

causes of stress
Causes of Stress

An important first step in prevention is to examine and understand the causes of stress. Conditions that tend to cause stress are called stressors. Although even a single stressor may cause major stress, usually stressors combine to pressure an employee in a variety of ways until stress develos.

The major sours of employee stress are evenly divided between organizational factors and the nonwork environment.

To control stress, then, organizations, usually begin by exploring its job-related causes.

job related causes of stress
Job-Related Causes of Stress

Almost any job condition can cause stress, depending on an employee’s reaction to it. For example, one employee will accept a new work procedure and feel little or no stress, while another experiences overwhelming pressure from the same task. Part of the difference lies in each employee’s ezperiences, general outlooks and expectations, which are all internal factors.

Work overload and time deadlines put employees under pressure and lead to stress. Often these pressures arise from management and a poor quality of management are an automatic supervisor , an insecure job climent, lack of control over one’s own job and inadequate authority to match one’s responsibilities.


-Work overload-Time pressures-Poor quality of supervision-Insecure job climate-Lack of personal control-Inadequate authority to match responsibilities-Role conflict and ambiguity-Differences between company and employee values-Change of any type,especially when it is major or unusually -Frustration-Tecnology with training or support


Role conflict and ambiguity are also related to stress. In situation of this type, people have different expectations of an employee’s activities on a job, so the employee does not know what to do and can’t meet all expectations. In addition since the job often is poorly defined, the employee has no official model on which to depend.A further cause of stress lies in differences between company values and ethical practices. Substantial differences can lead to significant mental stress as an effort is made to balance the requirements of both sets of values.Some jobs produse more stress than others. Those which involve rotating shift work, machine-paced tasks, routine and repetitive work or hazardous environments are assosiated with greater stress. Workers who spend many hours daily in front of computer screens also report high stress levels. Evidence also indicates that the sources of stress differ by organizational level.


Middle managers may experience stress when their job security is threatened by news of impending corporate downsizings. Workers are more likely to experience the stressors of low status, lack of preceived control, resource shortages and the demand for a large volume of error-free work.A related source of stress that affect many employees is worry over their financial well-begin. This situation can arise when cost-saving technology is introduced, contract negotiations begin or the firm’s financial performance suffers. Clearly, there are numerous and powerful force at work that can contribute to the feeling of stress.

  • Another cause of stress is Frustration. It is a result of a motivation begin blocked to prevent one from reaching a desired goal. These reaction to frustration are known as defense mechanisms, because you are trying to defend yourself from the phyhological effects of the blocked goal.
  • The situation is more more serious when there is a long-run frustration such as blocked opportunity for promotion. Then you have to live with the frustration day after day. It begins to build emotional disorders that interfere with your ability to function effectivly.

Types of Reactions

  • One of the most common reactions to frustration is aggression. Whenever people are aggressive,it is likely that they are reflectng frustrations that are upsetting them. Additional reactions to frustration include apathy, withdrawal, regression, fixation,physical disorder and substitute goals.
  • You also may develop a physical disorder such as an upset stomach or choose a substitute gaol, such as becoming the leader of a powerful informal group in office politics. All of these are possible reaction to frustration.

Source of FrustrationAlthough management can be the source of frustration, it ia only one of several sources. Also can be frustrated by the work itself such as a part that does not fit or a machine that breaks down. Even the environment such as a rainy day may prevent you from doing the work you intended.Some research suggests that it is the little things called hassles, rather than major life crises that produce frustration. Hassles are conditions of daily living that are perceived to threaten one’s well-being. They have been found to be related to both symptoms of ill health and levels of absenteeism.The most frequent hassles include having too many things to do,losing items, being interrapted and having to do unchallenging work. Such as dealing with problems of aging parents, having insufficient personal energy. It is possible that none of these hassles alone will cause the average person to become frustrated. However, the cumulative effects of multiple hassles may well result in a feeling of unwelcome stress.

frustration and management practice
Frustration and Management Practice
  • Motivation is lacking then very little frustration is likely to develop. One implication is that when management attempts to motivate employees strongly, it also should be prepared to remove barriers and help prepare the way for employees to reach their goal.
stress and job performance
Stress and Job Performance
  • Stress can be either helpful or harmful to job performance, depending on its level. When there is no stress, job challenges are absent and performance tends to be low. As stress increases, performance tends to increase, because stress helps a person call up recources to meet job requirements. Constructive stress is a healthy stimulus that encourages employees to respond to challenges. Eventually, stress reaches a plateau that corresponds approximately with a person’s top day-to-day performance capability. At this point additional stress tends to produce no more improvement.
  • Finally, if stress becomes too great, it turns into a destructive force. Performance beging to decline at some point because excess stress interferes with performance. An employee loses the ability to cope; she or he becomes unable to make decisions and exhibits erratic bahavior. If stress increases to a breaking point, performance becomes zero; the employee has beakdown, becomes too ill to work, is fired, quits or refuses to come to work to face the stress.
stress vulnerability
Stress Vulnerability

Stress Threshold

Perceived Control

  • Worker vulnerability to stress is a function of both internal and external stressors. One internal factor is an employee’s stress threshold. Some people have a low threshold and the stress of even relatively small changes or disruptions in their work routines causes a reduction in performance. Others have a high threshold staying cool, calm and productive longer under the same conditions.
  • The second internal factor affecting employee stress is the amount of perceived control they have over their work and working conditions. Empoyees who have a substantial degree of independence, autonomy and freedom to make decisions seem to handle work pressures better.
type a and type b people
Type A and Type B People

Type A People

Type B People

  • They are aggresive and competitive, set high standarts are impatient with themselves and others and thrive under constant time pressures.
  • They appear more relaxed and easygoing. They accept situations and work withing them rather than fight them competitively. Type B people are especially relaxed regarding time pressures, so they are less prone to have problems associated with stress.
approaches to stress management
Approaches to Stress Management
  • Both organizations and individuals are highly concerned about stress and its effects. In attempting to manage stress, they have three broad options –prevent or control it, escape from it or learn to adapt to it (handle its symptoms).
  • These steps are aimed at reducing or eliminating stressors for employees. Some employees can escape stress by requesting job transfers, finding alternative employment, taking early retirement or acquiring assertiveness skill that allow them to confront the stressor.
social support
Social Support
  • Some people experience stress because they are detached from the wold around them; they lack warm interpersonal relationships. Individuals with driving ambition and strong need for independence may fail to develop close attachments to frinds and collegues. To achieve their lack of social attachments may result in anger, anxiety and loneliness –all producing stress in their lives.
  • Social support is the network of helpful activities, interactions and relationships that provides an employee with the satisfaction of important needs. There are four types os support in a total network; instrumental, informational, evaluative and emotiona.
  • Some employees have turned to various means of mental relaxation to adjust to the stresses in their lives. Patterned after the practice of meditation, the relaxation responce involves quite, concentrated inner thought in order to rest the body physically and emotionally. It helps remove people temporarily from the stressful world and reduce their symptons of stress. The ideal ingredients of this relaxation effort involve

-A confortable position in a relatively guiet location.

-Closed eyes and deep, confortable breaths

-Repetition of a peaceful word or focus on a pleasant mental image

-Avoidance of distracting thoughts and negative events

-Soothing backround music

biofeedback sabbaticals
Biofeedback Sabbaticals
  • A different approach for working with stress is biofeedback, by which people under medical guidance learn from instrument feedback to influence symptoms of stress, such as increased heart rate or severe headaches.
  • Whereas relaxation and biofeedback are methods for coping with stress, sometimes it is wisest to at least temporarily remove yourself from it. Some employers, recognazing this need for employees to escape, have created programs allowing sabbatical leaves to encourage stress relief and personal education. Some sabbaticals provide unpaid time off, others give partially paid leaves and a few continue full pay while employeea are away. Most employees return emotional refreshed, feel rewarded and valued by their employees.
personal wellness
Personal Wellness
  • In general, here is a trend toward in-house programs of preventive maitenance for personal wellness that are based on research in behavioral medicine. Corporate wellness centers may include disease screening, health education and fitness centers. Health care specialists can recommend practices to encourage changes in lifestyle, such as breathing regulation, muscle relaxation, positive imagery, nutrition management and exercise, enabling employees to use more of their full potential. Clearly a preventive approach is preferable for reducing the cause of stress, althought coping methods can help employees adapt to stressors that are beyond direct control.
employee counseling
Employee Counseling
  • What Counseling is?
  • Counseling is discussion with an employee of a problem that usually has emotional content in order to help the employee cope with it better. Counseling seeks to improve employee mental health and well-being. Good mental health means that people

1-Feel comfortable about themselves,

2-Right about other people,

3-Able to meet the demands of life.


Counseling may be performed by both professionals and nonprofessionals.Counseling usually is confidential so that employees will feel free to talk openly about their problems. It also involves both job and personal problems, since both types of problems may affect an employee’s performance on the job.

need for counseling
Need for Counseling
  • The need for counseling arises from a varienty of employee problems, including stress. When these problems exist, employees benefit from the understanding and guidance that counseling can provide.
  • Most problems that require counseling have some emotional content. Emotions are a normal part of life. Nature gave people their emotions and these feeling make people human. One the other hand, emotions can get out of control and cause workers to do things that are harmful to their own best interests and those of the firm. They may leave their jobs because of triflinf conflicts that seem large to them or they may undermine morale in their departments. Managers want their employees to maintain good mental health and to channel their emotional along constraction lines so that they will work together effectively.

What Counseling Can Do?The general objectives of counseling are to help employees grow in self-confidence, understanding, self-control and ability to work effectivey.The counseling objective is achieved through one or more of the following counseling functions. The six activities performed by counseling.

1 advice 2 reassurance
1-Advice 2-Reassurance

Many people view counseling as primarily an advise-giving activity but in reality this is only one of several functions that counseling can perform. The giving of advise requires a counselor to make judgments about a counselee’s problems and to lay out a course of action.

Counseling can provide employees with reassurance, which is a way of giving them courage to face a problem or a feeling of confidence that they ae pursuing a suitable course of action.

One trouble with reassurance is that the counselees do not always accept it. They are smart enough to know that the counselor can’t know that the problem will come out all right.


4-Release of Emotional Tension

Counseling can improve both upward and downward communication. In an upward direction, it is a key for employees to express their feeling to management.

Counseling also achieves downward communication because counselors help interpret company activities to employees as they discuss problems related to them.

An important function of nearly all counseling is release of emotional tension; this release is sometimes called emotional catharsis. People tend to get an emotional release from their frustrations and other problems whenever they have an opportunity to tell someone about them

They are more relaxed and their speech is more coherent and rational.

5-Clarified Thinking


  • The case of Irwin also illustrates another function of counseling, that of clarified thinking.
  • Clarified thinking tends to be a normal result of emotional release but a skilled counselor can aid this prosess. In order to clarify he counselee what is right. The result of any clarified thinking is that a person is encouraged to accept responsibility for emotional problems and to be more realistic in solving them.
  • Another function of counseling is reorientation of the counselee. This is more than mere emotional release or clear thinking about problem. Reorientation involves a change in the employee’s psychic self through a change in basic goals and values.
  • The manager’s job is to recognize those in need of reorientation before their need becomes severe so that they can be referred to proffissional help in time for successful treatment.
types of counseling
Types of Counseling

Directive Counseling

Nondirective Counseling

Directive counseling is the process of listening to an employee’s problem, deciding with the employee what should be done and then telling and motivating the employee to do it. Directive counseling mostly accomplishes the counseling function of advice but it also may reassure, communicate, give emotional release and clarify thinking.

Nondirective (client-centered) counseling is at the opposite end of the continuum. It is the process of skillfully listening to and encouraging a counselee to explain troublesome problems, understand them and determine appropriate solutions. It focuses on the counselee rather than on the counselor as judge and adviser; thus it is client-centered. Managers can be use the nondirective approach;however , care should be taken to make sure that managers aren’t so oversold on it that they neglect their normal directive leadership responsibilities.

use by professionals
Use By Professionals
  • Professional counselors usually practice some form of nondirective counseling and often accomplish four of the six counseling functions. Communication occurs both upward and downward through the counselor. Emotional release takes place even more effectively than with directive counseling and clarified thinking tends to follow. The unique advantage of nondirective counseling is its ability to couse the employee’s reorientation.
  • Profissional counselors treat each counselee as a social and organizational equal. They primarily listen in a caring and supportive fashion and try to help the counselee discover and follow improved courses of action.
Participative Counseling

A Contingency View

  • Nondirective counseling of employees is limited because it requires professional counselors and is costly. Directive counseling often isn’t accepted by modern, independent employees.
  • Participative (cooperative) counseling is a mutual counselor-counselee relationship that establishes a cooperative exchange of ideas to help solve a counselee’s problems.
  • A manager’s decision to use either directive, participative or nondirective counseling with an employee should be based on an analysis of several contingency factors. It should not be made solely on the manager’s personal preference or past experience.
  • However, the manager’s knowledge and capacity to use a variety of methods are clearly critical factors in choosing hoe to proceed.