This weeks post will be over benefits that rarely get used though they can be soooo beneficial! EAP or Employee Assistance Program is something that most employers provide though they hardly ever get used. It is completely FREE for the employee. The reason I am discussing this topic this week is because I recently decided to see what it was all about.
A while back I was talking with a co-worker buddy about his marriage and how he was getting counselling because his (our) pastor referred him to this professional christian counsellor. I asked him about it, and if he though it helped...he said "oh yes!, in a big way", and that he was skeptical at first about going to counselling. Side note....isn't if funny how we, as humans, seem to reject the thought of seeking counsel, though the bible states over and over again how seeking counsel is wise, and that it is something that the wise will do. Ok, back to the topic at hand....so, I asked my buddy, "do you think you will continue counselling after you've resolved the issues at hand?" he said "yes, most definitely...I see this as something that we will continue throughout our marriage". This got me to thinking, why do we, as a people, seek counsel only after we are find ourselves in need of rescuing?, and would be beneficial for both Ashley & I to seek counseling now, even though we are not in any marital trouble or even having any issues? This questions weighed on my mind for a while, then I saw a poster at work regarding EAP and how it is a benefit, available to us at anytime and included self help, addiction, marital, depression, financial, and more types of professional help for us as employees at no cost...AND it is completely anonymous and confidential, all you need to do to access this benefit is to call the toll free number that is on your human resource website, or you can get the number by contacting your HR rep, and they cannot ask you why you need the number....in fact you don't even have to give your HR rep your name. Once you get the number you call and talk to an individual with EAP who will get all your information like your name, where you work, and more. They will look you up in their system to verify you are in fact an employee for the organization or company who provides the benefits. Once verified you tell them what type of help or counselling you need and they will give you a list of different professionals in your area who are "in-network" and you choose who you want to see. They will give you all the contact info for that professional and then tell you to call them to set up the appointment. Go to your appointment and you don't have any co-pays and they don't need your insurance card. This is all completely confidential and they cannot tell your employer that you are seeking help. They just bill the employer for the session directly without any indication of who is seeking help. Usually employers will limit the amount of help you can receive in a 1 year period, for instance, I will be able to receive 6 marital counselling sessions at no charge to me. Ashley has this EAP as well, and can get 6 sessions per year, so between the two of us we can go to a marriage counseling session once per month for as long as we want at no charge to either of us. Some people may think that their employer would frown upon them if they knew they were seeking treatment or help....this is a LIE, and a bad one at that. Your employer has the benefit for a reason....they want healthy, happy employees! If you are both happy and healthy, the cost of doing business goes down because turn over will go down, and so will the health insurance costs. If your employer didn't want their people taking advantage of this benefit they wouldn't provide it. I'm not saying you need to go and tell everyone your personal business, but you shouldn't be scared of using this benefit either....that is why they set it up to be completely confidential and anonymous...so people wouldn't be scared to use it.
Ashley and I set up our appointment and we attended our first of many to come sessions with a marriage counsellor who has a christian foundation. Let me tell you how refreshing it was just to sit down with someone who is focused on helping us attain any goals we had in our marriage. He even said that he wished more married couples would seek counseling even if there is nothing wrong, that way little issues can be talked through and resolved before things could get bad, and to avoid rough times and/or traumatic events in a marriage. We had no issues we wanted to discuss when we showed up, but he got us to talking about little issues we have or had in the past and we were able to find things that were never addressed that could cause problems in the future. I am serious when I say that I am soooo glad we tried it out and I am truly looking forward to our next session. We has set it up to where we will make a "date night" out of the counselling session and have dinner afterwards.
Getting counselling from your pastor is another good route. Though if you have the EAP benefit I would use that if you can find someone who has their practice foundation based on your beliefs. Here is why, a pastor is usually the first line of help for someone when they are finding themselves in trouble or having problems....this is NOT a bad thing, this is a GREAT thing! Though continually using your pastor as a counsellor can be over using that benefit...just think, they have an entire congregation they are responsible for and probably counselling the majority of them. They're job is to be your mentor and spiritual leader...not counsellor, though that is one of their many roles. If you can alleviate their load by seeking help from someone who does this as their job, such as a professional counsellor, you will be lifting some of that burden off of your pastors back. If your employer or business does not provide this EAP benefit, then by all means see your pastor as much as you need, this was directed towards those who have the benefit though may choose not to use it and just use their pastor instead.
Women reading this, I know most men are usually the ones who do not want to go to counselling especially if there is nothing wrong. Tell them you read about this firefighter who did this and had completely found it to be worth while and beneficial and is even looking forward to the time spent with his wife making their marriage even better.
Like always, THANK YOU for reading, I hope this helps you. I know I am better for doing it.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or would like to post a helpful comment as well, please do so everyone can enjoy!