What is an EAP?

   Written by on February 25, 2016 at 2:09 pm
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Here is your “are you smarter than a fifth grader” question.  What is an EAP?

A hint: it is not a disease or the newest government agency.  It may be a way to get help for some of the challenges of life you are facing.

Life can get stressful.  Challenges face all of us every day, some little, some huge.  Knowing where and how to get help can seem like an insurmountable task.  One source of help you may have and not even know about is your EAP, or Employee Assistance Program.  This is a benefit offered by your employer.  The way an EAP works is that the EAP organization contracts with counselors in your area that can help in a myriad of areas.  For example, a number of EAPs have contracted with the counselors at Discovery Counselor to help.  You can schedule an appointment with the counselor at no cost to you.  The EAP organization covers all costs.

So when should you consider using your EAP?  ComPsych, one of the largest EAP organizations, lists the following as the top four challenges and stressful situations for which their members have looked for help.

Work Stress.  The number one reason that people use their EAP benefits is stress at work.  Work related stress increases anxiety and makes being productive at work almost impossible.  This can be anything from feeling burnt out on the job to the common “I hate my job” or “I hate my boss” complaints.

Balancing work and home.  All of us at one time or another face the ever-important—and ever-so-difficult—balancing act of work, home, family, friends, and down time.  Unfortunately, according to recent reports by the Center for American Progress, too many employers make it impossible to juggle work and family obligations.  In fact, only about half of workers have the flexibility to adjust their work schedules to care for a child or elderly parent.  And the danger of losing a job or missing a promotion because of illness, pregnancy, or taking care of loved ones when working at companies focused solely on the bottom line leaves too many parents having to choose between their jobs and their families.  In the U.S., our work hours are longer and vacations shorter than most nations.  The counselors at your EAP can help you with the stress caused by this balancing act.

Financial Struggles. Knowing how to create a budget that brings the pile of bills in line with the dollars in our take home paycheck can seem almost impossible.  Gas prices are down, that helps.  However, prices for other necessities like clothes and food don’t seem to be following.  Luckily, an EAP can help employees deal with foreclosures, bankruptcies, a spouse’s job loss, or taking care of elderly parents.  Your EAP will have counselors who can help with financial issues.

Depression.  With all these stresses, it’s no wonder depression is among the top four biggest problems for employees.  Depression is certainly not a minor issue.  The CDC estimates that depression affects one in 10 adults.  Depression is not only a “down feeling” it can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  If you are facing depression, you are not alone.  Your EAP can refer you to counselor who has experience helping people with depression.

At least there’s some good news: Employee assistance programs have helped millions of people deal with critical events that are part of their daily lives.

The best thing about using an EAP is that it is free.  The EAP organization will have contracted with the counselors to which the EAP organization will refer you.  Call your HR department and find out what benefits you may have.

Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors, there is victory.  Proverbs 11:14

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Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin, Discovery Counseling.  Call us at 434-808-2637 or 434-808-2426 if you have any comments or questions;. 

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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