What is counselling process?

When someone undergoes counselling, they form a therapeutic relationship with the person providing the service.

This relationship is informed by many things—the events, characteristics and conditions that come about during the counselling, or as a result of it, are part of the counselling process.

This process helps people to establish exactly what they need from their counsellor in a friendly and practical manner.

It’s easier to discuss issues with someone who makes you feel comfortable—especially during employee counselling, where sensitive issues around workplace mental health may come up.

What are the stages of the counselling process?

Most employee counselling sessions follow a routine. Some might vary slightly, but these four stages of counselling process are always in the same order:

Stage 1: Develop a relationship

For someone to open up, they need to feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. For this to happen, a counsellor needs to establish a firm rapport with the employee.

This will involve finding out how they like to communicate, what they’re comfortable with discussing, and the speed at which they’re happy to move through the rest of the process.

Stage 2: Assess

In this stage, the counsellor aims to figure out what’s actually going on, and whether change is necessary to improve that. And, of course, what those changes could be—situations, attitudes, environment.

During the assessment process in counselling, counsellors aim to get an overall picture of their client and the problems they face.

This is ongoing—it’s not a case of finding one problem and concentrating on that, it’s about working out what the client needs over a period of time, and adapting the process to overcome the problems which present.

Stage 3: Set goals

This stage is a mutual process—the counsellor and the employee set the goals together. Involving the employee in this stage is beneficial, as they’re far more likely to see the whole thing through if they feel in control of their goals.

During this stage, the client and counsellor will discuss in detail exactly what the client needs to get from the sessions and work out a step by step plan to achieve it.

Stage 4: Implementation

The next stage is the development of a strong plan that the counsellor and client work on together. It should address the problems, practices and behaviours that are causing issues.

The best way to do this is by figuring out activities that will address, prevent and intervene with unhealthy behaviours and lifestyle choices while reinforcing strengths and learning new coping skills.

So, to briefly go over the counselling process step by step:

  • Develop a relationship
  • Assess the issues
  • Set goals
  • Implement plans

What are some barriers in the counselling process?

There are a few common obstacles that all counsellors encounter from time to time. Luckily, they’re quite easy to manage:

  • ­Anxiety: Some people are worried and anxious about entering therapy and talking to a counsellor
  • A lack of signposting: If counselling is available to employees, it’s not always immediately obvious
  • Cost: Counselling and therapy are often seen as being very expensive
  • Previous experience: Not everyone responds to the same methods of counselling in the same way, and a negative experience can cause someone to doubt the efficacy of all methods


With the PH7 EAP plan, your employees will have access to 24/7 mental health support line, face-to-face or telephone counselling sessions and full digital support with the online ‘My Healthy Advantage’ app.

We can help you to boost your productivity levels and reduce mental health-related sickness in your workplace.

Call the team to find out more 01282 479 929