ABSTRACT | PDF

EDITORIAL

Organisational psychological medicine: an upcoming branch of psychological medicine

Russel D’Souza1, Avinash De Sousa2

1Dean, International Institute of Organisational Psychological Medicine; Head, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (Asia-Pacific), 2Secretary, International Institute of Organisational Psychological Medicine; Research Associate, Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai, India

Abstract

This editorial discusses the upcoming branch of psychological medicine, i.e. organisational psychological medicine.

Keywords: Mental Disorders. Psychiatry. Neurology. Workplace.

Correspondence: Avinash De Sousa, Secretary, International Institute of Organisational Psychological Medicine; Research Associate, Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, Sion (West), Mumbai-400022, India. avinashdes888@gmail.com

Received: 15 September 2017

Epub: 10 October 2017

DOI: 10.5958/2394-2061.2018.00018.6

Psychological medicine has been involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness and emotional problems. Due to their medical training, the psychiatrist understands the body’s functions and the complex relationship between emotional illness and other medical illness. Thus the psychiatrist is the mental health professional and physician, best qualified to distinguish between physical and psychological causes of both psychological and physical distress.

The medical specialty of psychological medicine, utilises research in the field of neurosciences, psychology, medicine, biology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. It has hence been considered a middle ground between neurology and psychology. Unlike other physicians and neurologists, specialists in psychological medicine have added expertise, to varying extents in the use of psychotherapy and other therapeutic communication techniques.[1]

Psychological health of human capital in organisations can be impacted by the workplace and beyond. Poor psychological health results in poor outcomes to the bottom line of both the human capital and the organisation. The studies on demoralisation on human capital of organisations found that it resulted in psychopathological sequelae. Similarly studies in embitterment in the workplace have found to result in psychopathological embitterment post-traumatic stress disorder.

Workplace related psychiatric pathology impacts on organisational outcomes and among other issues also results in poor retention and attraction of human capital. These affect negatively, the important management need of good talent management for increased production of goods and/or services. This leads to the initiation of the defined branch of organisational psychological medicine, which includes psychiatrists, with added qualifications and experience in management and administration, who are interested and involved in researching, studying the workplace related psychological and psychiatric pathology.[2]

This branch of psychological medicine’s scope of practice expands from the diagnosis and management of workplace related psychological disorders to added forte of preventive psychological medicine and resilience and positive psychological medicine applied to the human capital of organisations. These include population health initiatives of developing programmes that will enhance the outcomes of human capital of organisations. Thus the discipline benefits the bottom line of both, the individual and the organisation.[3]

The objectives of organisational psychological medicine –

1.      Increase the sophistication in human capital management practices by using the underpinnings of: neuroscience and psychological and intellectual (cognitive) medicine.

2.      Supporting senior management and employee understanding of the need to develop the ability to map and nurture the inner needs of the individual along with the organisation’s objectives and goals.

3.      Educating senior management on identifying, resilience building, and preventing psychopathological sequelae resulting from work practice in the human capital, thus protecting the bottom line of the organisation and human capital’s outcomes.

4.      Enhancing the health, psychological wellbeing, and productivity of the human capital of organisations.

5.      Increase the return on investment (ROI) of the human capital in an organisation.

6.      Provide support using scientific principles for an organisation’s corporate social responsibility endeavours and programmes.

Human capital refers to the collection of resources—all the knowledge, skills, abilities, talents, experience, intelligence, training, judgement, and wisdom possessed individually and collectively by individuals in an organisation. These resources are the total capacity of the people that represents a form of wealth which can be directed to accomplish the goals of the organisation. Human capital is the most important resource of an organisation and it plays a pivotal role in the success of the organisation. The psychological health of human capital in organisations can be impacted by the workplace and beyond.[4]

Poor psychological health results in poor outcomes in terms of the performance of both an organisation and its staff. Various studies of demoralisation on the human capital of organisations have concluded that psychopathological sequelae result in the decreased efficiency and productivity of the workforce. Similarly, other studies have highlighted that embitterment in the workplace resulted in psychopathological embitterment post-traumatic stress disorder. Undoubtedly, workplace related psychiatric pathology impacts on organisational outcomes and also results in recruitment difficulties and poor retention of staff. These in turn negatively affect the need for good talent management for increased productivity in the organisations. This has led to the initiation of the defined branch of organisational psychological medicine, which includes psychiatrists, with added qualifications and experience in management and administration, who are interested and involved in analysing and researching the workplace related psychological and psychiatric pathology.[5]

The discipline of organisational psychological medicine offers neuroscientific evidence based underpinnings and avenues for:

1.      Enhancing human potential of an organisation with the principles of positive psychiatry.

2.      Resilience and psychological medicine.

3.      Preventing psychopathological sequel in the human capital of organisations resulting from the workplace - preventive psychological medicine.

4.      Recognising and managing the psychopathological sequelae resulting from the workplace and beyond in the human capital of organisations.

5.      Enhancing human capital’s potential of an organisation developing and organising programmes with neurosciences, positive psychiatry, dynamic psychological principles, management underpinnings, quantum physics, and spiritual philosophy principles used in coordination for the dynamic outcomes.

6.      Maximising employee potential and output impacting on organisational creativity and entrepreneurship.

7.      Evidence based scientific programmes to enhance the use of available discretionary effort and behaviour.

8.      Offering programmes for total human capital management and enhancing organisational citizenship behaviour.

9.      Use of neuroscientific based programmes to enhance human capital’s sharpness in intellect, endurance, and presence of mind, resulting in individual’s skills of perception, observation, and expression being optimised.

10.  Preventing psychological pathologies in the human capital of an organisation.

11.  Programmes that identify and offer prevention of the psychopathological sequelae that ensures from the workplace practice in an organisation such as demoralisation, embitterment, occupation fatigue, and burnout.

12.  Preventing the psychopathological sequelae ensures the protection of the negative impact on the personal, physical, psychological, and social outcome of human capital. This ensures the bottom line of the organisation and the individual are protected.

13.  Advisory and advocacy to organisations’ leadership on programmes and education that will prevent psychopathological outcomes to the human capital in organisations.

14.  Evidence based management programmes that identify, manage, and resolve the psychopathology. Psychopathology education programmes for management that result in early identification and minimisation of negative outcomes.

15.  Knowledge on the principles of rehabilitation programmes – return to workplace education and training programmes. Relapse prevention and resilience programmes for human capital of organisations.

References

1.      Quick JC. Occupational health psychology: the convergence of health and clinical psychology with public health and preventive medicine in an organizational context. Prof Psychol Res Pract. 1999;30:123-33.

2.      Muchinsky PM. Psychology applied to work: an introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. 8th ed. Cengage Learning; 2006.

3.      Landy FJ, Conte JM. Work in the 21st Century: an introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. 5th ed. John Wiley & Sons; 2016.

4.      Jex SM, Britt TW. Organizational psychology: a scientist-practitioner approach. 3rd ed. Wiley; 2014.

5.      Riggio RE. Introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. 6th ed. Routledge; 2015.

D’Souza R, De Sousa A. Organisational psychological medicine: an upcoming branch of psychological medicine. Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2017;9:1-2. doi: 10.5958/2394-2061.2018.00018.6. Epub 2017 Oct 10.

Source of support: Nil. Declaration of interest: None.

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