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Helping employees cope through difficult times has become a key focus for HR leaders and managers. Fortunately, there’s an emerging field of “self-serve” therapy that can help employees, managers, and leaders learn therapeutic techniques for coping independently.

“Learning these skills is vital for employees and employers who are dealing with workplace stress,” said Mandy Morris, a therapist whose own short technique videos are featured on Centered.

There are three well-known therapeutic methods that companies should keep in mind. We’ll start with an overview of each, and then we’ll dive into how they can improve your organization.

Type Known For Useful For
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Considered the “the gold standard” of anxiety treatment

Challenging negative thoughts and behaviors, and developing new coping mechanisms
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Designed to help individuals regulate intense emotions

Handling difficult feelings and navigating complex interpersonal interactions
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Therapeutic framework designed to increase psychological flexibility

Recognizing our attempts to suppress, manage, and control our emotions and experiences

Applying CBT, DBT, and ACT Techniques

Workload Management and Productivity

Many studies have shown that stress can have negative effects on productivity. “Work stressors, and personal stressors for that matter, can often be overwhelming to employees and make it difficult to be productive and stay focused at work,” said Talia Bombola, a therapist whose technique videos are also on Centered.

When employees are able to learn coping techniques, they are better equipped to self-regulate their feelings, staying productive and present. “An effective and regulated employee is one who learns coping skills around tolerating the discomfort of difficult feelings,” Bombola notes.

Creating a Positive, Anti-Burnout Culture  

Culture and norms within a company are often the central contributors to burnout, which 77% of employees report to experience at some point in their careers. A central contributing factor to burnout is not knowing when to say “no” at work — which is where mental health support can be key.

“The emotional culture of your company will deepen when employees learn how to set boundaries within themselves and within their relationships with co-workers,” Bombola says.

Navigating Challenges at Work

In especially stressful work situations, both on a personal level (like receiving negative feedback or being put on a performance improvement plan) and corporate level (furloughs), having stress management techniques can be incredibly helpful for employees.

With respect to performance, having emotional navigation skills can also help management get to the root of issues. “If leaders aren’t willing to explore what is going on with someone’s feelings and thoughts that are driving behavior, they’re going to spend a frustrating amount of time correcting the same behaviors over and over,” said Morris.


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