Dear Therapist:

I am considering hiring a therapist for work purposes. I...don't feel the need for therapy in my personal life but someone suggested seeing a therapist to help me/coach me in my management position. Basically, even if I am doing well can this help me perform even better? Perhaps it would be a good idea for our bottom line if we hired someone for the company to motivate employees and help manage workplace issues. What can/should a therapist offer in these situations and do you think this is a good idea?

 

Response:

Though I have helped people in the area of job performance, it has typically been as peripheral to the primary issues that were being addressed. This is not my specialization, so I cannot give you very specific advice.

There are professionals, both within the mental health field and in other fields, who are trained to help people to optimize their work performance. Industrial/organizational psychologists often work in this area. Business coaches and other consultants aim to increase performance, to help develop strong leadership qualities, to build trust, and to improve focus, among other goals.

I believe that, for the most part, therapy and business coaching are separate and distinct fields. However, they are sometimes combined…and sometimes both aspects can be helpful, depending on the work environment.

Each business’s needs are different. Some can more greatly benefit from basic coaching approaches, while others may benefit to a smaller degree. Some companies find that working with a therapist (as separate from business coaching) helps to avoid strife, and to identify and deal with emotional and interpersonal issues before they become problematic.

Just as an individual can benefit from therapy even when it is not strictly necessary, a company can benefit from the input of a therapist. When someone contemplates seeing a therapist, they generally have some understanding of the issues that need to be addressed. Similarly, if a company is considering hiring a therapist or coach, a sense of specific problems and goals can help to determine the need for outside help.

“Company therapy” can be viewed as similar to family therapy. When there are issues within a family, a therapist can help the family members to identify maladaptive feelings and reactions, and help the family to change their behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Within a work setting, a therapist can do much the same thing, helping to foster a more cohesive and productive environment.

-Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW

 psychotherapist in private practice

 Brooklyn, NY

 author of Self-Esteem: A Primer

 www.ylcsw.com / 718-258-5317