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 responsibility to be aware of our belief systems and maintain our professional boundaries to be most effective. It is not your debate to participate in. Before accepting a response assignment to an incident that has the potential to become a highly charged climate due to the controversial nature or elements of the incident, ask yourself:
1. What would I say if asked directly by the impacted organizational leadership, my position on a particular controversial topic?
2. Has this incident sparked an interest in you to become more actively involved by asserting a position?
3. If a heated debate emerges within one of your resiliency groups, how might you handle this?
4. How might you conduct yourself among multiple stakeholders with different views?
5. If you are representing an EAP, do you know what their position is on the controversial topic?
We all would like to believe that we can remain neutral under the toughest of circumstances. Its not easy. At risk are the impacted employees vulnerable to suggestion. It would be highly inappropriate to impart our viewpoints when our mission is to restore safety around them. We must be conscious responders, aware of our own bias and beliefs. There is no shame if we realize we cannot be completely impartial. All EAP personnel and CIR vendors should run through an internal check when these types of conditions exist before accepting an assignment so that we can offer the best services to our clients. Join us on 4/20 for EAP CIR’s most important training, Ethical EAP Critical Incident Response.