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Working Through Family Issues with EAP


Anne Dale

Olathe, Kansas
December 2013

A member uses the Employee Assistance Program to work through family issues while dealing with her mother’s health crisis.

Last Fall, my elderly mother faced a serious health crisis. At the same time, my own estrangement issues with my mother and siblings came to a head. I was stuck, and knew I needed help in order to move forward with my life.

When I called Portico's Employee Assistance Program, a helpful representative gave me several names of in-network licensed therapists, all located close to where I live. He explained that the plan covered the entire cost of the six counseling sessions.

Thankfully, the therapist I chose was a good match for me. The combination of her 20+ years of experience in family counseling, my readiness to work, and the six sessions the EAP provided helped make this a time of productivity and healing. She provided an atmosphere of safety and confidentiality: a place to be "heard," where emotions were not judged. I willingly tried her suggested techniques and read the books she recommended on personal growth. Her insights helped me come to terms with the fact that I'd been stuck for years in grieving for the family I wanted, instead of learning healthy tools for working within the reality of the family I'd been given. She helped me see my part in the years of strain and miscommunication.

My work did not end with the sixth counseling session. In the year that followed, no longer paralyzed in grief, my life has moved forward. I was able to make amends where appropriate, and open new lines of communication with my siblings.

This Fall, my 88-year-old mother, already in the early stages of Alzheimer's, went through surgery for a cancerous breast tumor. I am pleased to report that our family experienced two miracles: 1.) Mother is cancer-free; and 2.) All six siblings were present in November on a siblings conference call. We brainstormed ideas, talked openly about how best to meet Mother's needs, and discussed what we each had to offer to her care.

Most likely the two family camps will never totally reunite. But I believe the counseling I received through Portico's EAP made all the difference in my willingness and ability to set aside old hurts and issues. I am so grateful I was able to step up, to give my mother the best I have to offer in her remaining years.

email Share your Wellness Voice at livewell@porticobenefits.org

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Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

(Administered by Beacon Health Strategies)

Phone 800.432.5155

Portico Customer Care Center

Phone 800.352.2876


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