Evolve June 2014 Resiliency Building Groups (Continued) For example, opening with a question, “ what have each of you done from the time when you first felt emotionally safe after the incident, up until this very moment here at work, that has helped you to begin to bounce back?” Each employee has found a way. The discussion generated by this ques- tion, begins an individualized, strength based discussion on resilience that is safe for all to participate. Hearing responses like: “contacting each oth- er”, “talking to spouses”, “praying”, “hugging children”, “long walks”, “staying within a routine”, “exercising”, statements of hope and optimism, etc., mark the beginning of resilient trajectories. For the EAP responder, this discussion introduces opportunities for teaching points on resiliency. Additionally, from this safe discussion, the group may move to new areas. Some may choose to retell their experience. This is completely their choice, not a formal process of the group. Their willingness to do so, demonstrates being psychologically ready to revisit their experience. They have made the determination that this group, in this environment (workplace), and with these colleagues, is safe for this level of disclosure . That is their decision not ours. Responders need to pay close attention to the potential physical reactions that a reactivated stress response can pro- duce. Remember this is crisis intervention not trauma therapy. Those who choose to share in the group, or at any other time for that matter, should never end their shared experience in the “victim” position, but with a plan to access their resilient attributes. Helping them shift from a “victim” self - appraisal, towards a “survivor” reappraisal can begin with timely, and compassionate suggestions. The group rounds itself out by normalizing post - stress reactions, post incident reintegration to work, and an overall summary. By EAP for EAP While many aspects of crisis inter- vention are universal among the various response agencies, i.e. ICISF, Nova, Red Cross, FEMA, etc., each require specific training in their own unique approach. This is because each response organization has a unique mission and a targeted population they serve. Just because one has been trained in one re- sponse model, say, Red Cross, does not mean they have met the training criteria to be responders in the ICISF, Nova or FEMA model. None of the major response agencies con- sider another’s training sufficient, by itself, to join their response teams. Why should EAP? Our mission and service population are unique. We have core technologies, a dual client focus, multiple EAP models, unique workplace cultures and variables. We attend to employees, managers, and human resource professionals. We respond to workplaces versus scenes. And more. With the latest research identifying the role organizational management and collegial relations have on resili- ent outcomes, EAPs are in a prime position to use their professional experience and EAP knowledge. We are responsible for our response approach and quite capable of creat- ing a research based application... By EAP for EAP. Learn more about these concepts and processes at our workshops or online training.
Evolve November 2014 Right Person, Right Position . Next, are your most experienced and talented EAP professionals in positions to carry out CIR re- sponse workflows? This is not work every EAP professional wants to do and if they identify themselves as such, they should not be in- volved on the front line. The initial consultation is a key intervention that sets the stage for the onsite work to come. The professional who receives these calls must be skilled in working with management, (who can be challenging and powerful individuals even under calm circumstances), and incidents that are fluid. They have to have the ability to take an abundance of information and quickly synthesize it into the building blocks of an onsite intervention. All while forming a positive partnership with the caller. A successful consultation/ intervention leaves management in a better place than when they first made the call. They also will feel confident in future contacts with the EAP. If there are underqualified professionals in this posi- tion, there is a potential gap in service. Remedy– Evaluate and ade- quately staff the position. Up to date tools. Assessment tools vary. EAPs who are evolving in their approach need to make sure these tools are still valid for what they are trying to accomplish. Many assessment tools or processes of the past do not ask questions about resilience. They are more concerned about impact and injury. This information is obviously im- portant too, but not as the central focus of the response. Primary focus on impact and injury is more consistent with a Psychological First Aid approach in community response. Assessment tools not updated is a potential gap. Remedy– Evaluate assessment tools/ processes towards gathering information on resilience. Conflicting priorities. EAPs also have to evaluate what are the potential conflicts that they may come up against when instituting a best practice, resilience response model. Is it cost effective? Can operations have dedicated CIR staff and manage the volume of in- coming traditional EAP calls? Are matters related to CIR primarily left to vendor operations and workflows? Has it been determined that there are other EAP services that warrant greater attention due to their potential value to customers? Assessing and building these four bridges will improve delivery of EAP CIR services and create research driven practices. Organizational Assessment Questions: In the pursuit of resilience, employees need to feel safe. Only from a position of safety can the trajectory of resilience begin. Our first task is to as- sess if the organization is cre- ating an environment of safe- ty. Key questions to include in the assessment are: Has a contingency plan been activated? This indi- cates that there has been some pre - thought/ planning/training into re- sponse. Therefore, the environment has some structure and form. Are work functions contin- uing? This indicates the level of impact the incident has had on work opera- tions. High impact will lead to disrupted work opera- tions and potentially a less than safe environment. Has leadership coordinat- ed/conducted a communi- cation plan updating em- ployees on the status of their organization? This indicates if management has assumed a position of leadership. This also pro- vides stabilization, and a message that leadership has regained control al- lowing employees to feel safer. Assessing organizational in- fluence on safety will provide direction for EAP strategies. Learn more about these concepts and processes at our workshops or online training. Employee Assistance Specialist—Clinical Get the new Certificate! Created by EAPA, delivered online by RDA. Go to www.eap - rda.com