Wellness does not wait for EAPs to arrive. The natural, upward trajectory of resilience begins before EAPs are contacted to go on-site and provide crisis intervention. If this is true, and research demonstrates it is, shouldn’t this be influencing our approach in helping organizations and their employees? Shouldn’t we be capturing this forward momentum and building our interventions around this forward progress? The answer is yes, and deploying an approach that perpetuates resiliency while identifying and responding to those in need of services beyond crisis intervention, begins with how we conceptualize our response approach.
Looking Through the Resiliency Lens
First, we have to be able to recognize it. Behaviors associated with resilience can be as subtle as the first deep breath one takes when the worst of it is over, or the organization reaching their first contact on a phone tree. We are used to looking through the medical model lens. When we do this we see impact. We see injury. Consistent with this approach, therefore, we bandage, support and refer. It is a triage, crisis intervention approach. That is Psychological First Aid. Compare this to looking at the same incident through a resiliency lens. Yes, we see the impact, but we also see the influences of wellness. The effectiveness of the manager's role in supporting and leading, the degrees of altruism within the work place, the positive connections among personnel, how significant others are notified and incorporated, the personal strengths being utilized to get through the adversity and the actions all around to restore a level of safety. That is what we will see through a resiliency lens. Those are the natural elements that are restoring safety and fostering the pursuit of wellness. These are the actions that reflect the culture of the organization.
If EAPs rush in without looking through this lens and acknowledging the effectiveness of the organization's systemic response, we risk stepping on it. If we do not see what employees, as a system, are already in pursuit of wellness and safety, we risk interrupting their natural sources of resilience. If our onsite professionals, as a system, are not properly trained in EAP and Resiliency they will work out of step with the EAP response mission. All of these systems, the organization, employee, EAP, and onsite response provider need to work in sync. Need to develop partnerships so that in unison, they move together to the collective goal of wellness.
That is the Multi-Systemic Resiliency Approach. Our mission in EAP is to get everyone working off the same blueprint and looking through the same lens. Ask yourself where the gaps are when considering the interconnectivty and level of partnership amongst each of the response systems and you've just outlined your next steps.