Occupational (Work) Psychology is concerned with optimising performance and with how individuals, small groups and organisations behave and function in relation to a job or activity.
Work can be defined as any activity with a mental or physical effort to achieve a goal or result. It can be paid, or unpaid, undertaken in a workplace, at home or virtually. Work helps you to gain a sense of pride, purpose and self-satisfaction, and promotes independence, contribution and community.
As an Occupational Psychologist, I work with individuals in a variety of roles, adaptable to the evolving work landscape, with the emergence of remote working, flexible schedules, and changing job structures. I can help with issues such as achieving work-life balance, building resilience, managing stress and anxiety, and achieving overall wellbeing while acknowledging the importance of family, friends, social groups, volunteering, and committees and interest groups as "teams". I employ my skills to work with clients in various life situations, including those who work outside traditional organisational structures or have unique occupational roles such as full-time parents, carers, volunteers, retirees, self-employed individuals, sole traders, and more.
Occupational Psychologists tend to be associated with big private and public organisations whose focus is to maximise employee performance and experience, however my experience is in applying this expertise in the not-for-profit sector, and directly with individuals. While it has conventionally been associated with business environments, the principles of occupational psychology can be effectively adapted to various other contexts, and can be applied to various roles and responsibilities in private and work lives, emphasizing its significance in fostering well-being, self-empowerment, purpose, drive, and connection.
I have worked with a range of occupational groups, with varied needs, including people with disabilities, and women returners, those re-entering employment following a break due to rehabilitation, or child-rearing, and unemployed adults re-training following industry changes, as well as adult-learners entering further and higher education, and all the associated wellbeing, identity and mental health issues these types of life changes and challenges can entail.
I now work directly with clients, addressing issues they have identified as important for them, across all their work and life roles. I assist clients to improve performance, achieve work-life balance, build resilience, manage stress and anxiety, and promote overall wellbeing.
I do this in several ways:
Assessment and Understanding: The first step is to assess your current situation, your various roles in life, such as parent, carer, partner, including occupational roles, and your personal circumstances. This includes understanding your daily routines, responsibilities, and any sources of stress or anxiety. Through discussion, which might include brief assessments, we can together gain insights into your unique challenges and objectives.
Counselling and Emotional Support: For individuals who are experiencing stress, anxiety, or other difficulties in their lives, counselling support offers a valuable resource. I offer a safe space to express your feelings, manage your emotions, explore coping strategies, develop emotional resilience, and make informed decisions about your many roles, commitments and priorities.
Personal Development: Developing personalised plans for personal development is often very beneficial. This involves setting clear and achievable goals that take into account your specific circumstances. These goals may relate to improving time management and use of current resources available, setting boundaries, enhancing interpersonal skills, or acquiring new skills.
Psychoeducation: Psychoeducation is crucial in providing information and strategies to manage your mental health, stress, and overall wellbeing. I can provide resources, and offer guidance on topics like stress management, resilience-building, time management, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Work-Life Balance: I can help you consider strategies to balance your various work and personal roles effectively. This may include time management techniques, setting priorities, delegating tasks, and establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life.
Resilience Building: To enhance your ability to cope with life's challenges, we can develop resilience-building strategies. This may involve identifying and reframing negative thought patterns, enhancing problem-solving skills, and fostering a positive outlook on life.
Social Support and Networking: Acknowledging the importance of social networks, I can help you develop new connections as sources of support. Maintaining strong social connections is invaluable at providing emotional support and reducing any feelings of isolation.
Self-Employment and Sole Traders: For those in self-employment or sole trading, I can assist in developing strategies for managing workloads, setting realistic goals, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and handling the unique challenges that come with entrepreneurship.
Retirement Planning: For retirees, I can assist with the transition from a structured work life to retirement, helping you find new purposes and interests to maintain your overall wellbeing.
Volunteering and Committee Work: I can help volunteers and committee members better manage their commitments, develop leadership skills, and find fulfilment in their roles.
Feedback and Follow-Up: Regular sessions and follow-ups can prove important to assess progress and make necessary adjustments to an individual's plan.
Occupational psychology is a versatile field that extends beyond the traditional boundaries of public and private business. Its principles can be applied to the voluntary sector, caring, parenting, volunteering, community work, and various other work-related activities. By incorporating occupational psychology into these contexts, individuals can enhance their well-being, self-empowerment, purpose, drive, and connection. This holistic approach not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the success and sustainability of non-traditional work roles and activities, ultimately enriching society as a whole.
In this contemporary working landscape, I adopt a flexible and holistic approach, considering the unique needs and demands of each individual's situation and the interconnectedness of your roles within the broader context of family, friends, social groups, and teams, as these can significantly impact an individual's work-life balance and overall wellbeing.