Do You Treat EAP’s Like a Smash Repairer?

Great article by Rob Sams published recently on LinkedIn Pulse HERE

Do You Treat EAP’s Like a Smash Repairer?


Could it be that listening is one critical skill that we all need to focus on if our aim is to ‘help’ others? What lessons could we take from Lifeline about how to best help someone in a time when life doesn’t feel worth living anymore?

I’m wondering if the traditional approach to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) does much at all in terms of supporting people who are struggling with mental health concerns?

Is there a temptation to deal with someone who is experiencing the challenges of mental illness in a similar way to that in which we may deal with a car that has been damaged? That is, we send it off to the ‘smash repairer’  to be ‘fixed’ and subsequently loose interest in ‘it’ until ‘it’ is ‘fixed’, shiny and back to it’s ‘showroom condition’? What does this ‘dehumanizing’ approach mean for ‘people’ who work within our organisations? If people are treated as objects, what does this mean for their motivation?

It can be tempting to treat people at work in the same way that we may treat our damaged vehicles when our team report to be suffering from the symptoms of mental illness. That is, to ‘fob them off’ until they are ‘as in new position’.

Have you ever heard yourself saying; "We have a great EAP Program who can help you work through things….." while at the same time ‘thinking’; ‘phew, I’m glad that problem is out of the way….’

Does ‘outsourcing care’ work?

What does this mean for relationships at work? Should we focus our attention more on managers and leaders to become better equipped to have meaningful conversations and to listen and ‘meet’ people rather than focus on ‘fixing’?

What does it mean to ‘fix’ someone who is dealing with mental health challenges anyway? How should we deal with the challenges of work, family, self, teams, and the mystery that is mental illness?

Do we need to spend more time to understand ‘others’, and in doing so, ‘meeting’ them with the sole purpose of ‘understanding’, rather than ‘controlling’? What of the paradox of helping?

Author:           Robert Sams

Phone:             0424 037 112



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