When Does Helping Become Enabling?
It’s tough to watch a coworker suffer with a personal problem, and it’s natural to want to help. But when does helping turn to enabling? This question helped give rise to employee assistance programs to assist employees with personal problems, and coworker (peer) referral is a popular route by which many clients seek help. But when should you recommend the EAP? The answer is simple: at the very beginning. You can be a friend and recommend the EAP at the same time. One does not preclude the other, and it sets the stage for two things: (1) your friend thinking about the EAP right away and (2) the likelihood he or she will choose that option when you recognize the need to back away. Omitting the mention of the EAP in the early stages of helping a friend will make it harder for you to let go and harder for him or her to choose professional help.
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