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Workplace Fear: An Opportunity for Redefining the Role of EAP in the Workplace


Workplace Fear: An Opportunity for Redefining the Role of EAP in the Workplace Presented by Reidar Hansen, LCSW Houston EAPA Houston, Texas 1/10//12 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Workplace Fear: An Opportunity for Redefining the Role of EAP in the Workplace

Workplace Fear An Opportunity for Redefining the
Role of EAP in the Workplace
  • Presented by
  • Reidar Hansen, LCSW
  • Houston EAPA
  • Houston, Texas
  • 1/10//12

  • Cultural
  • Organizational
  • Personal

Fear as a cultural Artifact
  • 19th century Britain-fear of dying poor,
    un-mourned, unremembered, ending up on an
    anatomists table.
  • Early 20th Century-being buried alive
  • World War I fear of bombing
  • World War II-standing on the street instead of
    taking shelter

Fight or Flight Syndrome
Responses to Fear
  • Denial
  • Distraction
  • Confrontation-EAP
  • Coping-EAP
  • Letting go-EAP
  • Escape-Quiet riot-EAP

What Do We Give Up To Feel Safe From Fear?
  • In Public Discourse
  • Limited mobility
  • Wasted time
  • Civil liberties (Habeas corpus)
  • Security guards (intimidation)
  • Personal invasion (I.D. Checks, metal detectors,
  • In Workplace
  • Relationships
  • Jobs/careers
  • Personal integrity
  • Sense of self
  • Motivation
  • Risk taking
  • Workplace productivity
  • Workplace creativity

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Post 9/11 Workplace
  • High levels of magnified anxiety/depression
  • Increased use of prescription drugs
  • Alcohol use up
  • hyperawareness
  • Frustration/anger
  • Loss of sense of security and trust
  • Work related problems stemming from psychological
  • Overall sense of mistrust
  • Its not going to get better.
  • World unsafe/loss of innocence
  • Distrust of co-workers based on
    religion/political beliefs
  • Reflection in catastrophic terms
  • Ten Years Later The Impact of 9/11, B.
    Hutchinson and J. Tuttle in J. of E.A.

Some Positives
  • We are resilient and have the ability to learn.
  • Increased sense of camaraderie-Were all in this
  • Realize that we live in a world in flux.
  • Opportunity for personal growth.
  • Appreciation for the moment.
  • Ten
    Years Later. The Impact of 9/11 A Decade of
    Change, by J. Tuttle and B. Hutchinson in
    Journal of Employee Assistance

Current External Factors
  • We live in a Culture of Fear.
  • Lack of national leadership.
  • Political gridlock/bickering.
  • Global upheaval and uncertainty.
  • Permanent war/persistent conflict.
  • Stock market fluctuations/global economy.
  • Jobless recovery/fear of double recession.
  • Homes underwater (23).
  • Natural disasters.
  • Cost of living rising/less income
  • Middle class disappearing.
  • Unemployment 9, real unemployment 16
  • Personal debt (credit cards, home loans)

The Workplace, Post 10/2008
Common Workplace Fears
  • Violence
  • Bullying
  • Toxic supervision
  • Safety
  • Layoffs, mergers, downsizing
  • Change
  • Speaking up
  • Loss of trust
  • Loss of relationships
  • Loss of credibility
  • Not seen as a team player
  • Labeled a troublemaker

Workplace Realities
  • Continued outsourcing of jobs.
  • Layoffs in public and private sectors.
  • Salaries stagnant/CEO salaries growing/workers
    losing ground.
  • Loss of benefits (retirement, health care).
  • Unions under attack.
  • Loss of trust between employees and management.
  • More personal problems coming to work.
  • Retirement postponed/less opportunities for
    younger workers

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How do you feel when you see these statistics?
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Money Problems Costs to Organizations
  • Costing businesses 15,000 per year per affected
  • Productivity down 20 hours per month per employee
  • Accidents up 60-80 per affected employee.
  • 40 0f employee turnover due to stressors
  • Money related distractions can account for 10 of
    a departments budget.
  • Responding
    to Workers Financial Crises by Deborah Price in
    The Journal of Employee Assistance

New Workplace Terminology
  • Speed-up- an employers demand for accelerated
    output without increasing pay.
  • Multi-tasking-research shows that we are lousy
    at it.
  • Productivity- we are working smarter and
  • Off-shoring-continues with no end in sight.
  • Off loading -cutting jobs and dumping work on
    remaining staff.
  • Super jobs - doing more than ones job worth of
    work. Half of all American workers say their jobs
    have expanded,usually without a raise or bonus.
  • The Speed-Up by Monica Bauerlein in
    Mother Jones, July/August , 2011

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U.S. Productivity
  • Grew twice as fast in 2009 as in 2008
  • Grew as fast again in 2010
  • Workforce down/output up
  • Corporate profits up 22 since 2007
  • American workers work 122 hours per year more
    than Brits and 378 hours per year more than
  • Economic
    Policy Institute

Sound Familiar?
  • Not listening to your child tell about their day.
  • Mind racing at 4 AM.
  • Dreading dinner with family or friends.
  • Exhausted
  • Checking work related voice mail, checking
    e-mail, texting on vacation, in bed, at stop
    lights, etc.

  • Fears
  • Being seen as a slacker
  • Not seen as a team player
  • Seen as disloyal
  • Inability to pay bills
  • Being passed over
  • Being downsized

Effects on Employees
  • Loss of faith in self and skills/talents
  • Share own negativity with others
  • Motivation and excitement for work diminishes.
  • Belief that efforts wont lead to fulfillment of
    personal or professional goals.
  • Loss of identity/belonging, control, security,
    status, trust, future, and purpose.
  • Quiet riot

  • Navigating the Winds of Uncertainty by R.M
    Westbay and G.F. Sarfaty in The Journal of
    Employee Assistance.

Where fear is present, the potential evaporates
for people to help solve their own and their
organizations problems, to help bring change,
and adapt to new ways of doing business.K.Ryan
and D. Oestreich in Driving Fear Out of the
When you are afraid, you are not yourself.
Thomas Friedman
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This is not a time to sit around and act
rationally when the situation calls for panic.
George Steinbrenner
Owner, N.Y. Yankees
Big Questions
  • When will this crisis be over?
  • How will this crisis change you/us?
  • The worst thing we can do is go back to normal.
  • Rev. Jim
  • in
    Discovering Values

We are talking about changing our workplace!!
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The Four Room Apartment
  • Contentment
  • Things are good. Relaxed, here and now, centered,
    focused, in control, then need for change emerges
  • Denial
  • Focused on other things, anger , avoidance,
    frustration, realization that change before you
    is real
  • Renewal
  • Creative change, integration, insights, getting
    it all together, participation, sense of
    community, desire to make things happen,
    self-confidence, energy, desire to make things
  • Confusion
  • Neither here nor there, uncertainty, ambiguity,
    suspicion, rumors and flights of imagination fill
    in gaps, daily grind seems poorly connected to
    your goals, chaos, feelings of doubt

Which room are you in?Which room is your
organization in?
Solutions What To Do In Each Room
  • In Contentment No need to do anything but carry
    on maintaining and tuning the system
  • In Denial Share information only. Dont force
    advice (it will deepen resistance of denial)
  • In Confusion Get people together. Share
    information. Focus on short term goals
  • In Renewal Give people some structure and let
    them put the new together

Why is EAP important Now?
  • EAP 101-employees bring problems to work.
  • Seen as soul of the organization.
  • Pulse on the organization (not so much so with
  • Seat at table (courageous messenger, voice of
  • Can optimize workplace support (Wellness, EAP.
  • Proactive orientation
  • Skill sets to identify and address behavioral
  • Role as change agent, facilitator, problem
    solver, and conflict manager
  • Diminished role of H.R.

Opportunities for EAP
  • Coaching leaders (managing conflict, emotional
    intelligence, recognizing signs of psychological
  • Speaking truth to power
  • Discussing the undiscussables. Rebuilding
    organizational trust.
  • Leading change.

Opportunities for EAP (cont.)
  • Supporting and collaborating with Human Resources
  • Support workplace environmental and personal
    efforts at building resiliency
  • Develop resources (financial counseling)
  • Allowing emotional expression from employees
  • Rebuilding morale
  • Organizational transformation

The Four Skills of Emotional Intelligence
  • Identifying emotions-awareness of emotions/yours
    and theirs.
  • Using emotions -let emotions influence thinking
  • Understanding emotions-What do they really mean?
  • Managing emotions-stay open to emotions
  • The Emotionally Manager by D. Caruso and Peter

Role of EAP
  • Know your own emotions
  • Put on your mask first
  • Help managers and employees use emotional
  • What emotions are you seeing in employees,
    managers, and yourself?
  • How do you feel about what is happening?

  • Work related problems that people hesitate to
    address with those who could do something about
  • The elephant in the living room.
  • The dead moose on the table.
  • The secret everyone knows.
  • From Overcoming Organizational Defenses
    by Chris Argyris

  • Peers not pulling weight
  • Unethical practices
  • Work styles
  • Office romances
  • Incompetent leadership
  • Gossip
  • Relationships between departments
  • Diversity
  • Leadership styles
  • Workloads
  • Levels of trust
  • Pay inequality/promotions
  • Relationships between management and

Some tough questions?
  • Have we as a profession supported organizational
  • By helping individual employees cope with
    workplace fears/stressors are we treating
    symptoms rather than root causes?
  • By addressing micro issues and providing crisis
    management, are we losing opportunities to
    address macro organizational issues?

EAP and Undiscussables
  • What are some situations you have wanted to speak
    about to management, but hesitated?
  • Have a discussion about workplace fears and how
    they are affecting the work environment?
  • Have a discussion within your own work team, with
    H.R. partners, or at a local EAPA meeting.

Trust has been shattered by individual and
corporate greed, a focus on the short-term
(downsizing and moving offshore) and the
unethical behavior of people in positions of
  • Trust-believing others have your best interest at
  • It is the foundation of all relationships.
  • It inspires confidence, mistrust evokes fear.
  • When trust is high, people and systems function
    well. When low, systems break down.
  • Trust-Openness-Realization-Interdependence

  • Jack Gibbs Trust Theory

Rebuilding Trust
  • Where has trust been lost in your organization?
  • Can it be restored?
  • Does EAP have a role?
  • What actions can you support and at what level?

Characteristics of the Resilient Employee
  • Belief in continuous learning
  • Personal and professional network
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Coping skills
  • Creativity
  • Problem solvers
  • Assertiveness
  • Handles change well
  • Healthy dependence on others
  • Personal insight
  • Independent spirit
  • React vs. respond
  • Flexible
  • Thrives under pressure
  • Bounces back from setbacks
  • Participate in life
  • High tolerance for pain, uncertainty, and
  • Learned optimism/expectancy

Qualities of a Resilient Organization
  • Organizational mission
  • Positive corporate culture
  • Align individual and organizational values
  • Accept and encourage change, proactive
  • Promote organizational learning
  • Elastic and adaptive
  • Clarity of purpose
  • Forward thinking
  • Positive, can-do mindset, adversity as
  • Recovers rapidly from adversity
  • Listens to complainers
  • Environment of support, trust, and open
  • Partnering and strategic alliances
  • Connect employees to mission and values of
    organization (gives meaning to daily work)

Top Performing Companies
  • Philosophy focused on
  • Development and support of effective
    leadership among all levels of management.
  • The needs and interests of employees, as
    well as those of customers and stockholders.
  • Kotter and
    Heskett, 1992

Have the wisdom, courage, and the compassion to
lead /influence others with authenticity,
humility, and service.Help eradicate the use
of intimidation, humiliation, and demoralization
(bullying) in the workforce. Heart Centered
Leadership by Joel Bennitt
EAP and Human Resources
  • Historical Relationship
  • Competitive
  • Territorial protection-scope creep
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Contentious
  • Collaborative
  • Adversarial
  • Colleagual

Human Resources Under Stress
  • Having to deal with freezing salaries,
    eliminating merit increase, cutting hours,
    understaffed, laying off employees, business
    crises, hearing difficult stories from employees,
    struggling to be or stay at the table, personal
  • Half of 372 H.R. professionals said the stress of
    being involved in staff reductions has negatively
    affected their jobs.
  • One third are considering a career change.
  • Only 9 have reached out to EAP for help.
  • From Workforce

Opportunities for EAPs
  • Provide debriefing and emotional support
  • Stress management and resiliency workshops
  • Coaching/counseling
  • Collaborate to change/transform organization.

Reclaiming the soul of H.R. means getting back
to the fundamental reasons for your existenceas
an H.R. professional it was nurturing and
protecting the human spirit. I think that EAPs
should be able to relate well to this.Cathy
Raymond in Reclaiming the Soul of Human Resources
Protect means protection from decisions,
strategies, and information gaps that hurt
peopleIts also about ensuring that business
needs are balanced with understanding how people
are vulnerable and will be affected. Nurture
is about helping people build confidence in
themselves and their organizationsthat involves
working toward open, collaborative relationships,
ones based on trusting and being trustworthy.
Cathy Raymond in Reclaiming the Soul of Human
The challenge to you and your fellow
professionals is to get clear on why you exist
and then align all aspects of your work to
fulfill this purpose. Cathy Raymond in
Reclaiming the Soul of Human Resources
Organizational Transformation
  • We work in organizations we love and hate.
  • Organizations were not built with our meaning or
    purpose in mind.
  • This affects our success.
  • We must have grand expectations
  • We must embrace our organizations as they really
    are and work hard to change them.
  • We must challenge ourselves to take action.
  • Geoffrey Bellman in The
    Beauty of the Beast

Individual Interventions
Fear is a Gift.
Gavin DeBecker
  • Inspire Intelligence
  • Reduce us to stupidity
  • Secret is what we do with it
  • Heightened state of awareness and careful
    action-even courage
  • At worst-paranoia and violence
  • Key is conscious awareness and gaining control
    over it
  • Opportunity for growth
  • Replace with strength and conviction

When you face your fear, most of the time you
will discover that it was not such a really big
threat after all. We all need some deeply rooted
form of powerful motivation-it empowers us to
overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams.

Les Brown
Speaker and
Life is not about waiting for the storms to
passIt is about learning to dance in the
rain.Vivian Green in The Power of Gratitude by
M. Anderson and B.J. Gallagher
Combating Fear
  • Read! educate yourself on a issue/knowledge is
  • Turn off the news! Mute the ads!
  • Respond rather than react
  • Live in the now
  • Understanding ones circle of influence and
  • Embrace change
  • Align personal values with workplace values
  • Identify needs vs. wants.
  • Question and change your thinking
  • Changing frames and narratives which cause fear
  • Practice gratitude
  • Reestablish relationships
  • Live healthier
  • Practice spirituality

Brain Science and Fear
  • New brain research and emotions
  • Brain centers for thinking and emotion
  • Effects of emotional brain on behavior
  • Brain hijacking
  • Battle of emotional brain and thinking brain

Cerebral Functions - Thinking and Feeling
Differences In Cerebral Functions
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Neocortex Thinking Brain
  • Emotional Competencies
  • Amygdala

Fear and the Brain
  • Amygdala (associative role) and Hippocampus
    (sensory relay role) contribute to the
    acquisition of conditioned fear responses
  • Cue (tone) context (background
    stimuli)conditioned fear response
  • Cue conditioning is faster and more resistant to
    extinction than contextual stimuli
  • Amygdala is an important component of the system
    involved in the acquisition, storage, and
    expression of fear memory
  • Involves cellular and molecular mechanisms

Effects of an Amygdala Override
  • Stops cognitive thinking
  • Impulsive feelings override rationality (complex
    thinking, creative insight, long term planning)
  • Experience worry, anxiety, panic, frustration,
  • Triggers knee jerk reactions
  • Fly off the handle
  • Fear response

What Happens When the Amygdala Overrides?
  • Perception that something will hurt you
  • Intense emotional reactions and over reactions
  • Past hurts resurface
  • Extreme dislikes

What to Do When the Amygdala attacks?
  • Calm down with breathing tools
  • Shifts focus from outside to inside
  • Controls stressful emotions and anxiety
  • Increase energy and awareness
  • Harmonizes nervous system
  • Diverts attention to a safe place
  • Centers the mind and quiets mental chatter
  • Seek information, gain insight, think, respond

Information-like anything else that is consumed
or ingested-may have toxic and even lethal
levels. Too much information may be stressing you
to death.Billy Goldberg, M.D.
Hope and Living in the Now
  • Hope is the counterbalance to despair
  • For most of us, hope is about the future
  • The anticipation of a continued good state,
    an improved state or release from entrapment or
  • For some of us, hope is about the present
  • The enduring feeling that life makes sense
  • The belief in something greater than self

  • Thanks to P. Chard

The Importance of Hope
  • Hope is the sustenance for the soul
  • When it weakens, the body often follows
  • The will to live may dissipate
  • Emotional resilience erodes
  • Hope is an active, powerful process that lifts us
    out of despairBut how?
  • Thanks
    to P. Chard

Present Hope Living in the Now
  • Focused on what is now
  • Experiential
  • Sure thing
  • About being
  • Based on unifying philosophy and a sense of

  • Thanks to Philip Chard

.Besides, if good things are coming, they will
be a pleasant surprise. If bad things are, and
you know in advance, you will suffer greatly
before they ever occur. Life is the moment we are
living in right now.
Paulo Coelho
  • Do you have a unifying philosophy or belief
    system about existence?
  • How does this philosophy help you cope with your
    wounding or suffering?
  • Can you immerse yourself in the present as a way
    of coping?
  • If so, how do you accomplish this?

  • Thanks to P. Chard

What Works?
  • Coping strategies when hope diminishes
  • Immersion in the now (absorption)
  • Prayer or spiritual practice (transcendence)
  • Talking with others (belonging)
  • Task completion (empowerment)
  • Sources of hope
  • Family
  • Religion or spirituality
  • Friends
  • Professional caregivers

What Works?
  • Ways in which others support hope
  • Visiting (being present)
  • Listening and talking (genuine contact)
  • Physical comfort or help (touching)
  • Cheering up (laughter)
  • Accepting as is (affirmation and compassion)
  • Telephone call, cards (being remembered)
  • Thanks
    to P. Chard

Sources of Self Healing
  • Expression-art, music, dance, photography
  • Nature-walks, gardening, quests
  • Each other-friends, family, (sometimes)
  • Forgiveness-atonement, ritual
  • Good enough-getting off your hook
  • Laughter-the genuine kind
  • Here and now-always available
  • Being-rather than just doing or having
  • Spirit-connecting with what is greater

Trust in What You Believe In
  • God, higher power, spirituality
  • Spiritual Reality
  • Your essence is revealed
  • Your options regained
  • Your beliefs confirmed
  • Your purpose unveiled
  • Remember who you are.
  • We are in the world, but not of it.
  • Remember what really matters.
  • What is What can be.

  • Roger Teel-Mile High Church

Overcoming Worry/Anxiety
  • Fear not-The phrase appears over 62 times in
    the Bible.
  • Dont sweat the small stuff! Will this matter a
    year from now? Who can remember what you were
    worried about 1 year ago?
  • The Logic of Statistics-Thomas Kepler
  • 40 of things we worry about never happen.
  • 30 have already happened
  • 12 involve other peoples opinions
  • 10 are needless health worries which only
    make us sicker.
  • 8 are legitimate

We experience moments absolutely free from
worry. These brief respites are called panic.
Cullen Hightower
Ive developed a new philosophyI only dread one
day at a time.
Charlie Brown
Worry pretends to be necessary, but serves no
useful purpose.
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it
only saps today of its joy.
Leo Buscaglia
If there is a solution to a problem, there is no
need to worry. If there is no solution to a
problem, there is no need to worry.
Dalai Lama
Serenity Prayer
  • God grant me the serenity to accept the things I
    cannot change courage to change the things I
    can and wisdom to know the difference.
  • Reinhold

Avoid the unmanageable,Manage the
unavoidable.Thomas Friedman inHot, Flat, and
When the wind changes direction, there are those
who build walls and those who build windmills.
Chinese Proverb
Welcoming Change
  • Recognize that life is change
  • Understand the change
  • Identify the spaces that change creates
  • Find a mentor
  • Relax your mind, open your heart, be spontaneous,
    and find joy.
  • Keep centered and grounded.
  • Count your blessings-Show gratitude!

Crisis Dangerous Opportunity
Chinese saying
Without the strength to endure the crisis, one
will not see the opportunity within. It is within
the process of endurance that opportunity reveals
Opportunity is missed by most because it is
dressed in overall and looks like work.
Albert Einstein
That which doesnt kill me makes me stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche
What are the Opportunities?The silver lining
  • Determine what is really important to you?
  • Chance to focus more on family?
  • Chance to pursue your dream career?
  • Chance to focus more on family?
  • ??????????????????

Cultural Message
  • Greed is good Its all about me, and I want it
    all and I want it now.
  • Vs.
  • Enough is enough.
  • J. Wallis, P 27.

Treating Affluenza
  • Affluenza(n) is a painful contagious, socially
    transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety,
    and worry resulting from the dogged pursuit of
    more (deGraff).
  • (1) the bloated, sluggish and unfulfilling
    feeing that results from efforts to keep up with
    the Joneses, (2) an epidemic of stress, overwork,
    waste, and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of
    the American dream, (3) an unsustainable
    addiction to economic growth (PBS).

Clarify and Align Goals and Values
  • Work
  • Family
  • Personal/leisure
  • Financial
  • Home

Clarifying Goals and Values
  • What do I value most?
  • Job
  • Children
  • Spouse/partner
  • Friends
  • Religious/spiritual
  • Physical health
  • Emotional/mental health
  • Money
  • Clothing
  • Social activities
  • Social status
  • Appearance
  • Environmental
  • Co-workers
  • Home/apartment

Questioning and Changing Thinking
  • The blame game b lame
  • Being a victim and blaming others leads to
    helplessness, hopelessness, and resentfulness.
  • It keeps focus off you by looking for external
  • All things are possible to one who believes.
  • Insanity is doing the same things over
    expecting different results.

Take Action!
  • The cure for despair is not hope. Its
    discovering what you want to do about something
    you care about.

  • Meg Wheatley

Reading List
  • The Emotionally Intelligent Manager How to
    Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of
    Leadership by David Caruso and Peter Solovey,
  • Reclaiming the Soul of Human Resources by Cathy
    Raymond, 2011
  • Driving Fear Out of the Workplace Creating the
    High-Trust, High-Performance Organization by
    Kathleen Ryan and Dan Oestreich, 1998
  • The Courageous Messenger Hopw toSuccessfully
    Speak Up at Work by Kathleen Ryan, Daniel
    Oestreich, and George Orr,III.,1996. 2010.
  • Rediscovering ValuesOn Wall Street, Mainstreet,
    and Your Street by Jim Wallis

Reading List
  • The Beauty of the Beast Breathing New Life Into
    Organizations by Goeffrey Bellman, 2000
  • The Addictive Organization by Anne Wilson Schaef
    and Diane Fassel, 1988.
  • When Society Becomes An Addict by Anne Wilson
    Schaef, 1987.
  • Getting Things Done When You Are Not in Charge
    by Geoffrey Bellman, 2001.
  • Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace by Dennis and
    Michelle Reina,2006.
  • How Washington Mutual Lost Its Heart by
  • Mark C. Crowley in Seattle Times, 9/23/11
  • Trust A New View of Personal and Organizational
    Development by Jack Gibb, 1991