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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200


DU PLESSIS, Marieta  and  THOMAS, Emma C.. Counselling preparedness and responsiveness of industrial psychologists in the face of COVID-19. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2021, vol.47, n.1, pp.1-13. ISSN 2071-0763.

ORIENTATION: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought to the forefront the need for industrial-organisational psychologists (IOPs) and organisations to place an emphasis on employees' mental and physical health at all timesRESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to determine how prepared IOPs are to counsel employees during the pandemic and how responsive they are to provide counsellingMOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: It is not clear to what extent such counselling is being practised by IOPs in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemicRESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A qualitative approach was used to gain an understanding of registered South African IOPs' experiences of workplace counselling, particularly during the time of the COVID-19 pandemicMAIN FINDINGS: Regarding preparedness, we found that IOPs are ill-prepared to counsel in the workplace. Preparedness was influenced by participants' counselling education, skills and knowledge; experience; convictions about counselling; and psychological and organisational preparedness. Whilst some IOPs did engage in more counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic, most reverted to mitigating actions such as referrals, wellness management, equipping managers and change initiativesPRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The results of this study indicate that, under pandemic conditions, there is an increased need for counselling practices within the workplace and that IOPs should explore the ways in which they could play a more active role in such counsellingCONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Although we found that IOPs generally responded to employees' mental health needs in a positive manner, there was a lack of counselling preparedness and responsiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic

Keywords : COVID-19; mental health; counselling; industrial psychology; preparedness; responsiveness.

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