Exploring the role of the industrial-organisational psychologist as counsellor
Jorgensen, Lené I.
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Orientation: Industrial-organisational (I-O) psychologists are often confronted with counselling interventions in the workplace and thus it is vital that they are effectively prepared for their role as workplace counsellors. Research purpose: The aim of this study was to review the role of I-O psychologists as counsellors and to ascertain whether these practitioners are effectively prepared for this purpose. Motivation for the study: I-O psychologists are mainly concerned with the deep-rooted problems individuals experience in the workplace, and they therefore need appropriate counselling skills. However, it is not clear whether graduates in this discipline receive adequate training for this role. Research design, approach and method: A qualitative research design with convenience and snowball sampling of 22 participants was utilised. Participants were practising I-O psychologists across Gauteng and North West (South Africa). Semi-structured in-depth interviews were used to gather data, which were transcribed verbatim and analysed using content analysis. Main findings: Participants were familiar with the meaning of counselling and confirmed that they are faced with a range of counselling situations requiring a unique set of skills and competencies. Based on these findings, participants made recommendations for the future training of I-O psychologists and recommended that counselling be included in the scope of practice of I-O psychologists. Practical/managerial implications: The role of the I-O psychologist requires training in short-term therapeutic techniques and counselling in tertiary education. Contribution/value-add: The study clarifies the role of the I-O psychologist as a counsellor that will ensure that I-O psychologists can be trained more effectively for this role.