EAP CIR BLOG

After the second week of offering group support, we saw an increase in attendance and the addition of EAPA posting their first educational/support group.  We support this resource and hope all in EAP are able to access the Association's forum.  EAP professionals from around the world continue to participate in open, support meetings learning from each other as we navigate through these challenging times. A brief synopsis of this past week follows:

Stage of Incident- EAP request for response continued to vary.  What was clearly observed through our different groups was the level of activity across the different time zones. East coast more intense then West coast with outstanding pockets of activity. I encourage group members to join different groups at different times so that you can experience and prepare for different types of requests. Our EAP CIR services must adapt to our customer's response need at this stage of the incident vs. attempting to bring them into our routine proces...

Presently, COVID 19 has immersed all of us in a global critical incident, creating a massive rippling effect, among all our systems. I’ve been involved in many critical incidents, none with the reach, or depth that this one has.  From an EAP CIR perspective, we are or will be involved in many ways over a long period time. I do not have all the answers, but I do now the process of resilience is a universal concept that will require flexibility, creativity and cultural sensitivity.

Today and the Near Future:

We tend to think of EAP CIR as an intervention once the initial crisis has subsided and safety has been somewhat restored.  Today and in the near future, however, we are in the emergency response stage. Priority is supporting operations focused on medical safety first, psychological safety second.  As such, we should be thinking about utilizing the principles of Psychological First Aid (PFA) and its goals to increase levels of safety.  Implementing techniques and strategies that a...

December 15, 2019

Check out our article in the next Journal of Employee Assistance, first quarter 2020! Here is a brief overview.

The frequency of mass shootings is increasing.  Each incident does not just impact one EAP client, as many other critical incidents or disruptive events do, but come with such potency to employees and organizations that the ripple affects are more widespread;  often moving beyond local communities, to reactions felt across the country. EAP’s are being recognized as a critical employer/employee resource and partner to successfully navigate the crisis, restore safety and return to normal operations.  The work demanded of EAPs challenge their own resilience where internal operations succeed through grit and perseverance all while maintaining a quality of excellence over their entire book of business.  What is within our control when providing EAP CIR, is prevention and preparedness. Making sure all our moving parts are in sync with up to date training in CIR consistent with the E...

November 15, 2019

All we can do is keep at it.  According to the Violence Project who have studied every mass shooting incident since 1966, Active Shooters have 4 common elements:  1. Early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age; 2. An identifiable grievance or crisis point; 3. Validation for their belief system, have studied past shootings to find inspiration; 4. the means to carry out the attack.  All of these items can be addressed. Specifically, Number 2 by EAPs who promote and engage in preventative planning with their organizational clients. "Grievance and crisis points" can occur in workplaces and according to the Department of Homeland Security, most commonly around organizational change. In fact, the DOH cites in its 2015 Interagency Security Committee the value of an active, well-known EAP presence towards its workplace violence prevention initiatives.  EAPs are subject matter experts and should be involved when planning before, during, and after these situational events. Ove...

Still, a very fresh memory.

In response to the Sandy Hook shooting, I received a call from an EAP call center to check my availability to provide onsite EAP CIR.  During the description of the incident, the counselor broke down into tears. He apologized repeatedly while he tried to get through the discussion. I listened, assured him it was ok and normalized his reactions. He said they have been getting so many calls about this. I asked him if he needed to take them all or if he could take a break from them. His response was "I'll be alright", cleared his throat and changed the topic back onto the case to finish the referral. Now I was in tears.

One call, one moment. Sometimes intense, sometimes routine, but they always come. We all have a story.

We have to take care of our own.  All this work we are providing for others. The calls we take on a daily, sometimes hourly, even on a back to back basis will take its toll.  The things we see, the way we experience them in the aftermath of an inc...

January 11, 2019

Robert Douglas and Associates (RDA) is excited to release its new trainings for 2019 and beyond, in EAP Critical Incident Response. Its been over 5 years since the release of MSRA, and we've learned a few more things...

The Resilience Continuum 

Expanding the Multi-Systemic Resiliency Approach

MSRA focused on an onsite, EAP crisis intervention approach operationalizing the power of resilience. In its release over 5 years ago, MSRA has become a top CIR approach within the EAP community.

Let’s do better. We optimize our interventions, by elevating the value of pre-incident partnership with our EAP organizational clients and support greater flexibility and adaptability of their employee base. While these two attributes are key sources of strength in bouncing forward through any adversity, they are particularly helpful in maximizing an onsite, CIR effort.

We also have to ask ourselves, what can EAPs do to help employees and organizations sustain resilient outcomes? What is our post-incident rol...

In today’s political climate, critical incidents have brought upon discussions beyond the traditional focus on psychological and emotional impact. The passionate debate on gun regulation in response to mass shootings as witnessed by the recent Parkland HS shootings in FL, organizations being shaken up by sexual harassment claims, and the use of government funding and allocation of resources for natural disasters, have all entered the EAP CIR environment. These emotionally charged issues are relevant and have the power to change or solidify one’s belief system.  As a responder helping employees with their reactions, your views, beliefs, and morality may be tested and will have to be managed so that it does not affect your judgement in responding to clients.  This is not a new concern. Acts of violence from homegrown terrorism aimed at abortion clinics, environment, religion, etc., have raised our awareness of the need to be impartial despite our personal beliefs. It is our ethical respo...

Request for EAP CIR after a sexual harassment allegations, claims, investigations and subsequent job actions, like termination, of high level employees have been increasing. The sudden exposure and exit of executive leadership and public figures have stunned institutions, colleagues and the general public. What is usually investigated internally and as confidentially as possible, the #MeToo movement has ripped open the curtain and news has rippled down through the ranks creating internal shake ups, policy review, and cultural awakening. EAPs have been asked to send onsite counselors to provide services.

Sexual harassment issues are not new to EAPs. Counselors often work with employees who are sorting out their options on how to proceed when they believe they were subject to harassment. EAPs receive referrals from Human Resource professionals when allegations are made, claims substantiated, and may be involved with sensitivity trainings. It can be a delicate and complex process when, as...

October 13, 2017

Recent events like the hurricanes, earthquakes, shootings, and fires go beyond just providing primary crisis intervention response services, but additional services beyond initial response. Such impactful events require a Psychological First Aid approach initially, which promotes safety and access to concrete physical and psychological resources. Our work, however, is not done. While we have helped to restore a sense of safety, what’s next?

Like we have seen with Hurricane Sandy, shootings in San Bernardino, Newtown CT, Tucson AZ, Orlando, FL and events of 9/11 and Oklahoma City, amongst others, organizational and employee needs do not end when we go home from our onsite services. Now that they are safe, how can we assist them in moving forward.  While the Multi-Systemic Resiliency Approach addresses this, consider follow-up trainings focused on post incident resilience building.  This is a didactic training 1-4 weeks post initial onsite services.  This is a time where employees and org...

Leadership on the Management Consultation (MC) phone call get the opportunity to talk about the incident, and improve emotional regulation which puts them in a better position to lead having had the chance to gain support and empowerment from the EAP and colleagues. Knowing that a strong source of employee resilience comes from the interaction of leadership, how they conduct themselves post critical incident is key. Discussing these strategies is part of the MC and an important reason why they need to be on the call.

Getting leadership to the table to participate in the MC after a critical incident is often argued from the point of the need for assessment information. While this

remains to be true, very often the organizational contact’s primary task is to engage the EAP to send out a crisis responder(s). In addition, they may have little information about the actual incident and its impact. When this is learned, the management consultation becomes more of an order fulfillment process....

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