Organizational Consulting Services

Questions? Contact Faculty & Staff Assistance Program


In addition to individual counseling, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program provides consultation services to University leadership.

About FSAP's consulting services

University leadership — chancellor’s and dean’s offices; department chairs and division chiefs; principal investigators, directors, managers and supervisors, HR generalists and business partners, etc. — can take advantage of FSAP's consulting services. These services are based on the principles of organizational psychology and behavior, and are designed to restore or enhance the functioning of employees in their jobs and the teams they belong to. All program consultation services, like our individual counseling services, are confidential, offered free of charge, and are designed to address issues often encountered in management:

  • Psychiatric symptoms or behavioral problems
  • Interpersonal conflict among team members
  • Impact of organizational change
  • Breakdowns in respect, trust, and civility
  • Impairment due to substance abuse
  • Employee or patient safety concerns
  • Critical incidents
  • Problematic communication

Available services

Managers and supervisors may need guidance in addressing behavior or performance problems. Such situations may involve possible impairment due to mental health or substance abuse, problematic interpersonal relations, significant changes to the organization, poor team cohesion, and the like. Our program provides supervisors and managers with free, confidential consultations about such situations, including effective strategies for dealing with them. 

If an employee has a form of impairment — whether substance abuse or a mental health condition — supervisors must take special care to ensure that its impact on their performance, behavior, and interpersonal relations is well-managed. This is particularly true if the employee works in a safety-sensitive position (e.g., health care providers, vehicle operators, childcare workers), or if the impairment may significantly affect the operations of a team. The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program works with the supervisor and the employee to make sure that they are properly assessed and referred for the appropriate kind of treatment. This typically involves a short leave of absence. When the employee is ready to return to work, FSAP works with the supervisor to set up a Return to Work Agreement that provides a framework of accountability and support designed to maximize their chances for success. A key element of such arrangements is FSAP’s case management service, where a counselor will work with the supervisor, the employee and their treatment providers, to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement and help the employee deal with any challenges or obstacles that may arise, so that they are able successfully to fulfill their obligations and retain their position.

Conflicted working relationships can have a very detrimental effect on team performance and  the overall workplace climate. They can lead to poor morale, incivility, and even complaints of a hostile work environment. If the conflict centers around disagreements about how to work together to achieve shared business goals (e.g., roles and responsibilities, priorities, deadlines, methodology, and so forth), FSAP recommends employing the mediation services of the UCSF Office of the Ombuds. In other instances, the conflict may have a significant psychological or emotional component, involve a serious personality clash, a breakdown of trust, or an inability to resolve past issues. In such cases, a more clinically informed approach may be needed, for which FSAP offers its Facilitated Conversation service. This service, like all FSAP assistance, is confidential and voluntary. A counselor will work with both parties to clear the air around past disputes as well as to establish new agreements for working together in the future.

In a community as large as UCSF, there are bound to be incidents that can have a profound, disturbing, or upsetting impact on our employees. Such critical incidents range from natural disasters to workplace bullying, from sexual and other forms of harassment to stalking to intense but nonviolent interpersonal clashes. They may include a possibly suicidal staff member or even the death of a co-worker or a patient. Such stressful incidents typically affect many people at once, sometimes an entire workgroup or department. FSAP offers expert Critical Incident Debriefing services, where counselors will meet with the affected team members help them deal with the event, learn any important takeaway lessons, and process the event's impact on them individually and as a group.  

One of the most serious (if infrequent) kinds of critical incidents that can occur in the UCSF community is workplace violence. Violence in the workplace is defined as any violation of the UCSF Zero Tolerance Standard for Workplace Violence policy (MyAccess login required), including acts or threats of violence as well as intimidating behavior. FSAP is a standing member of the UCSF Threat Management Team (TMT) and is responsible to provide expert guidance on the psychological and behavioral aspects of such incidents. Any manager or UCSF community leader who believes they may be facing such a problem may consult with FSAP about their concerns. A counselor will help you gather all of the information relevant to assessing the nature and severity of the problem, and if warranted, will take the case to the full Threat Management Team, and then work with you afterward to ameliorate the impact of the incident on your team.

UCSF has revised UCSF Administrative Policy 150-27: UCSF Policy on Violence and Bullying, effective Nov. 1, 2019. The revision adds language to define and prohibit bullying and abusive conduct as is currently outlined in the UC president’s Guidance on Abusive Conduct and Bullying in the Workplace as well as in California Assembly Bill 2053. It also clarifies where to report violence as well as bullying and abusive conduct. Read the revised policy.

Retreats for staff, faculty and leadership groups generally are designed to deal with normal business operations and organizational development. Sometimes a workgroup may deal with significant challenges, stressors, or critical incidents that significantly impact group function and how its members relate to one another. If some form of team (re-)building is called for, FSAP can help design and facilitate a retreat (half- or full-day) that can involve facilitated group discussions, trainings in needed group skills such as better communication or change management, recreational team-building activities, etc.

Promoting wellness and emotional intelligence within the UCSF community is a priority for the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. FSAP regularly provides a wide variety of psychoeducational services to the UCSF community, including Grand Rounds lectures, presentations, trainings, seminars, workshops and custom-tailored courses for different organizational groups and departments. If you believe your group would benefit from our psychoeducational services, consult with an FSAP counselor, who will help identify the best approach and design a one-time or ongoing program to meet those needs.

Trained FSAP counselors, with experience in mindfulness training, offer an eight-week Mindfulness-based Self-compassion Course. This course is a free service to campus and UCSF Health faculty and staff with limited availability offered year around. Prospective participants must attend the information session to enroll. This program promotes mindfulness through a heart-centered and compassionate approach to everyday living. Course goals include increased self-awareness, emotional regulation, and decreased stress. The group is open to all UCSF faculty, staff, residents, postdocs and clinical fellows.

Attend a mandatory March 19 information session to learn more about the spring course, which will meet from 3-4 p.m. on Tuesdays from April 2, 2024-May 21, 2024.

Join FSAP clinicians for a virtual eight-week mindfulness course to help:

  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Increase mental resilience and distress tolerance
  • Decrease self-defeating thought patterns
  • Increase experiences of happiness and productivity