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Staff Counselling Service
What exactly is counselling?
Counselling is an opportunity for you to discuss and explore concerns and difficulties with an independent, trained professional who will listen, seek to understand, and support you in finding ways through your problems. Such confidential help, offered without judgement or criticism, can enable you to take a step back, reflect and see situations more clearly.
How counselling can help
The stresses and strains of modern life, when you might be juggling several roles and responsibilities at once, can seem overwhelming. Often it can help to talk to someone who is not involved in your situation.
Thoughts and feelings can be explored and a way forward identified through counselling sessions.
What reasons do people go to counselling?
All sorts of everyday topics or problems, large or small, can benefit from professional counselling. Sometimes concerns are obvious, such as family issues, relationship difficulties and breakdown. Bereavement and other losses, adjusting to change at home or at work, can all increase stress and distress, as can health concerns. Sometimes, people have experienced a traumatic event (like an accident), and may feel shaken by it months later. This is natural and can be something you wish to work through and discuss with a counsellor to improve your health and wellbeing.
However, it is sometimes the case that ‘problem’ as to why you’re feeling this way is less clear. An individual may feel ‘low’, ‘confused’, ‘overwhelmed’, or have an unspecific sense of unease which is worrying and unsettling.
Often there is no obvious cause for upset, or a sense of ‘not coping’.
Face to Face Counselling Sessions
By being a staff member of St John’s Winchester, you can have up to six sessions of face-to-face counselling for any personal or work-related issues within a twelve month period. An initial session will explore the background to the current difficulties, and identify a focus for the counselling sessions which follow, usually at weekly intervals.
The timescale for resolving difficulties varies with each individual and situation. As a result, at any stage in the face-to-face counselling process, you may be given information on other sources of support or more appropriate help. There may be a charge to you for these further services.
Who will I see?
Irene Hunt, in partnership with St John’s Winchester, offers face-to-face counselling for employees at the charity. Irene is an Accredited Counsellor with BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and has many years of counselling experience. Since 1997 she has been providing short-term counselling for a range of employees in different sectors.
Irene has worked in a number of settings, including charitable organisations, private practice, and for sixteen years for employees of a local council. She subscribes to the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, and has regular clinical supervision for her work.
If it is more appropriate and with your agreement, please note that Irene may arrange sessions with one of her associates if she feels that this will benefit you.
Where will counselling take place?
Irene mainly sees clients at her practice in the St Cross area (a short walk from the centre of Winchester). This venue offers a confidential and comfortable setting, with ease of access by car or public transport.
Please note that during the government mandated self-isolation and nationwide ‘lockdown’, face to face sessions may not be possible. However these can still be conducted over the phone.
Can I be sure it is confidential?
Irene is bound by her code of ethics to observe and ensure confidentiality, and will discuss this with you at your first session. The only information the charity will receive is anonymous statistical data to show how the face-to-face counselling service is being used. The charity will not know who has used the service.
If your line manager has discussed or recommended counselling to you, this will be kept confidential. They can arrange the counselling sessions for you or can put you in touch with Irene.
How do I arrange face-to-face counselling sessions?
Please contact your line manager for Irene’s contact information, including her confidential client line. Alternatively, refer to the leaflet on the Staff area of St John’s SharePoint (coming soon) or view the Staff Handbook.
If she is not available to speak to you in person, please do leave your name and details of when and how you can be contacted, together with a brief message.
Irene will call you back as soon as possible to find a time which suits for an initial counselling session.
If you prefer, you may also make initial contact by email or send a text message.
Working From Home
Some of our team members, particularly those who work in an office-based role, are able to work one of two days a week from home. This is usually an arrangement that has been discussed and approved by their line manager.
However, during the time of the COVID-19 crisis, many more staff who work in the St John’s offices have found themselves working at home so as to follow the government’s advice and guidelines.
IT and technology
Here is some helpful advice from the Mental Health Organisation:
“For many, IT and technology will be a lifeline during a period when our working patterns change. It can be quite an adjustment though to do a lot online, and we aren’t all tech geniuses”. With this in mind, here is a list of top tips:
- Ask for help – speak to a colleague or phone our BTP IT helpdesk. Wherever possible, try and use equipment provided by work such as your laptop or Chromebook. However, if there’s no alternative, most conferencing calls and online meeting software can also be used on mobiles and tablets.
- Use online training to guide you to learn new skills – Microsoft and other companies that provide remote working software have accessible, free videos available to help. Visit YouTube for more!
- Try and use video calls whenever you can – there’s no real substitute for seeing another person’s face and videoing can help you to stay connected and retain some element of normality in your working from home routine. If you would check in with colleagues in person whilst in the office, do check in with them virtually as well. Whether its by video, telephone call or email, communication is key.
- Visit and join the charity’s Staff and Volunteer Facebook Group designed for staff to chat, post updates and stay connected.