What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based benefit program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counselling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems.  EAPs address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems, and psychological disorders.  EAP counsellors also work in a consultative role with managers and supervisors to address employee and organizational challenges and needs.  Many EAPs are active in helping organizations prevent and cope with workplace violence, trauma, and other emergency response situations

I am a manager in a large organisation having worked there for over 20 years. Over a period of about 5 years, I gradually developed work related stress, due to harassment by some members of the management team, it was quite insidious in nature. I tried to continue working but despite all my efforts I was unable to stop it developing into something very serious. My levels of stress reached such extremes that I had no alternative but to take a period of sick leave, having failed to engage my HR unit to resolve the matter. The consequences of my work related stress caused me to lose confidence in all work settings, doubt my own abilities, avoid working with others productively, avoid confrontations with staff , and I gradually isolated myself from the day to day work and from other staff. My confidence dipped to such extent that I developed a misconception that I was somehow failing in my job. In addition, my home life and personal relationships suffered massively. As I was deeply troubled and concerned about my mental wellbeing while I was absent from work, I decided to contact a psychotherapist. I knew that the job was not beyond me and also knew that I needed to reflect and identify where I was at, from a personal and professional perspective. I have been attending psychotherapist Eugene O'Reilly now for a number of months and I found that the following things have benefited me greatly. 1. The psychotherapist facilitates my own thoughts on many of the issues which have affected me 2. The psychotherapist also enabled me to let go my emotions in a safe secure and private space so that I could try to move forward both in personal and work related term 3. My psychotherapist reviews and actively encourages me to self analyse in a number of areas 4. The psychotherapist is a non-judgemental space 5. The psychotherapist ensures that all conversations are completely confidential and is focused on me and not any other area of my life 6. The psychotherapist allows me to bring work-related issues to the session when necessary 7. The psychotherapist does not judge me or my behaviour at any time. 8. The psychotherapist has equipped me with a range of skills to manage stressful environment far more effectively 9. The psychotherapist has assisted me in recognising areas in my work life which may have contributed to the levels of stress I suffered by my failure to address them 10. My psychotherapist has enabled me to realise behavioural patterns that I engaged in during particularly stressful times which did not help the overall situation 11. The psychotherapist provides me with confidence, security and technical knowledge to help rebuild, my mental state, my confidence and ensure that I am better equipped to recognise and respond to any work related issues 12. While I have returned to work a number of months ago, I still attend the psychotherapist to discuss, analyse and clarify any areas which might be 'triggers' to work-related stress.