Opinion | Covid-19 crisis: for psychological care in companies

Posted on Oct 1, 2020 at 12:48 PMUpdated Oct 1, 2020, 12:49 PM

The crisis we are going through with its various preventive measures, including containment, has led to economic disorganization with multiple consequences on the financial and organizational levels. This challenged our view of the role of work and greatly increased the sense of uncertainty. The way of protecting oneself against the biological risk has generated situations involving a significant increase in psychological risk.

During confinement, domestic violence, conjugal and child violence increased significantly by 30%, as well as social aggressiveness, eating and sleeping disorders … people unevenly according to their psychological vulnerability or their previous resilience capacities.

Means of psychic protection and defense have their limits, and are becoming exhausted in the face of the ongoing crisis with the appearance of new economic deteriorations. Our defense systems will continue to weaken, suggesting an increased weakening of people and, consequently, of work collectives.

Weak support in the company

Despite the historical deployment of awareness of the risks of suffering at work, the fact remains that the treatment of the psychological dimension in companies remains far below the real needs of the working population. The increase in the level of vulnerability caused by the crisis continues to widen the gap between need and its management and consequently, increases the psychological risk for employees and the psychosocial risk within the company.

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To respond to this rise in the deterioration of psychological health that companies are facing, one would expect that they would resort more to psychologists to help improve the situation. This is sometimes mentioned, but in reality few decision-makers employ psychologists. The world of work retains a reluctance to implement a psychological practice within it, on the organization itself, favoring the curative.

The obstacles to the use of psychologists

There are several obstacles to the demand for intervention by psychologists in the workplace. For many managers, calling in a psychologist is only possible when the ordinary means of management have been exceeded and people's health is visibly affected. Decision-makers themselves seldom possess an in-depth psychological culture enabling them to appreciate the necessity and the quality of the contributions of psychology professionals. The world of psychology, with its compartmentalization and wars of disciplines, also contributes to the lack of visibility of what could be a better contribution on the part of a professional in psychology.

These blindnesses participate in the strong contradiction between the real psychological needs (individual and collective) in the company and the answers which are provided to them for their treatment. They leave decision-makers and managers without support, faced with the increase in workload, risk and the multiplicity of constraints.

Psychoeducation in the company

The world of work and professionals in psychology could benefit from a better level of exchange, greater permeability for shareable benefits and mutual enrichment. For example, a psychologist could deliver psychoeducation to supervisors against in-depth knowledge of daily business.

This aim of strengthening collaboration for a gain in maturity presupposes reciprocal openness and adjustments. It is at this price that we will be able to achieve a level of co-responsibility that carries a contract of alliance between better protection of employees and sustainability of the company.

Didier Anthor is a clinical psychologist at work, founder of the firm Absilia.

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