A Wider Role for EAPs: "On Demand" Services No Longer Meet Organizations' Risk-Management Needs

By Derr, W. Dennis | Behavioral Healthcare, September 2006 | Go to article overview

A Wider Role for EAPs: "On Demand" Services No Longer Meet Organizations' Risk-Management Needs


Derr, W. Dennis, Behavioral Healthcare


The past five years have provided a number of opportunities for change in the EAP field: the events of 9/11, extreme natural disasters, biologic attacks, and the looming threat of a global avian flu pandemic. The convergence of these events along with increased awareness of their impact on organizations and human capital have provided a great opportunity for EAP and workplace behavioral health experts to be in leadership positions around risk and response.

One such expert is Robert Ursano, MD, the director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress and professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Speaking at a conference of government, research, and private-sector leaders on crisis response, he stated, "Only by sustaining the social and emotional health of employees can organizations and the nation sustain continual operational effectiveness in light of today's new threat environment."

Historically, EAPs' role has been to respond only "on request" or postevent with psychological debriefings designed to alleviate individual symptoms in response to a traumatic experience. For many organizations, however, EAPs' postevent response is no longer enough. EAPs' skills as behavioral experts can be reclaimed as a key consultative value to organizations.

The traditional behavioral health and EAP therapeutic approach of leading with a clinical first model does not serve organizational crisis management or response very well. This became evident following last year's devastating hurricanes, when traditional resources and responses were overwhelmed or nonexistent and continue to be in short supply. Many EAPs found themselves operating in a new environment, providing aid and comfort directly related to necessities of daily living, assisting overwhelmed HR managers in locating evacuated employees and separated family members, and supporting community responses through religious organizations. These tasks were critical to creating organizational continuity of operations.

In a recent conversation with EAP counselors working for Gulf Coast governmental agencies, one counselor pointed out that although the daily living struggle a year later is difficult, the worst thing EAPs can do is to pathologize the situation based on expectations of normal living. For Gulf Coast residents, "normal" has become different from what other Americans consider normal.

Experts on Human Behavior

In current risk-management process thinking, the term "convergence" to manage risk describes bringing together internal and external experts who have key contributions to the success of influencing and protecting employee behavior before, during, and after a crisis. This convergence of experts often includes organization and/or community leaders in medicine, security, safety, human resources, employee assistance, and operations. Each plays a key role in behavior management, preparing the workplace for operational risk management and employees' families for crisis behavior.

Many risk-management experts speak of the three Rs of continuity:

* redundancy, in which "people knowledge" is spread and shared across a working population;

* reliability, in which people have the knowledge and ability to back up or take over for the equipment that does most of the work; and

* resiliency, in which the human factor has the learned flexibility to function under new or difficult conditions.

Together with other organizational professionals, EAPs can play an active role in improving the three Rs and planning to ensure they function well after crises. In fact, in some larger organizations EAPs actively are joining the risk-management process. Many of the larger behavioral health/EAP provider organizations, however, have yet to be able to successfully provide this level of value because of their operational and structural distance from the organizations they serve.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Wider Role for EAPs: "On Demand" Services No Longer Meet Organizations' Risk-Management Needs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.