Assistance Program Is Popular Employee Benefit

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Brigitte Espinet
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With confidentiality at its core, the Faculty Staff and Assistance Program (FSAP) may be one of the best-kept secrets around campus. But not really.

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With confidentiality at its core, the Faculty Staff and Assistance Program (FSAP) may be one of the best-kept secrets around campus. But not really.

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With confidentiality at its core, the Faculty Staff and Assistance Program (FSAP) may be one of the best-kept secrets around campus. But not really.

According to FSAP Director Anne McSorley, the assessment and referral counseling program is well utilized throughout the Tech community.

“Even beyond the academic institution arena, we’re actually above industry average in terms of usage,” McSorley said. And she should know — having been in the business for some 25 years.

To what does she attribute the popularity of Tech’s program? That same core tenet: confidentiality.

“It’s the No. 1 reason employees keep coming back to us. They feel confident about absolute confidentiality because they’ve seen it in action,” McSorley said.

To her point: She makes reference to her practice of never acknowledging clients around campus unless they take the initiative to do so. McSorley explained, too, that the fact that the FSAP is actually independently operated off campus (1100 Spring St.) goes a long way toward boosting employees’ comfort level in utilizing this confidential benefit.

Tech has been offering this free service for more than 20 years, and for the past 16, McSorley has served as FSAP director and consultant to the Institute through her own private company.

McSorley and her team of licensed mental health professionals have wide-ranging expertise in counseling, executive coaching, and consulting.

“We respond to employees in need — whether they are having issues at home or at work,” she said.

That means employees can depend on the FSAP as a resource for a plethora of issues ranging from family relationships, to substance abuse, to psychological issues, to financial pressures, to work-related conflicts, and other emotional or organizational health concerns.  

So how does this service work? Self-referral mainly. An employee can call FSAP at 404-894-1225 for an initial phone assessment followed by up to three face-to-face sessions in one calendar year. At that point, FSAP refers the employee to external resources for continued care.

Though FSAP is primarily an assessment and referral service, there is the option for an employee to receive counseling beyond the three sessions from FSAP interns satisfying their critical hours requirement.

With regard to management’s involvement, McSorley says if a manager feels an employee may benefit from FSAP support, the manager can reach out to FSAP for coaching on how to encourage an employee to self-refer.

“We empower the manager to empower the employee,” McSorley said.

The FSAP is not an emergency service, though, so employees are urged to call at the earliest sign of a concern. That way, the situation can be assessed and a plan of action determined before the situation becomes a crisis.

Having provided a snapshot of the FSAP, here is a bit more about McSorley.

Tell us something about your background.
Originally from Philadelphia, I’ve been based in Atlanta for nearly 20 years. I have an undergraduate degree in business administration from Temple University and a graduate degree in counseling and psychological services from Georgia State University. In my more than two decades of counseling, coaching, and consulting, I’ve had a variety of corporate and public sector clients such as Georgia Department of Human Resources, U.S. Marshals Service, Lockheed Aeronautical, and AT&T.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Success. I like to move people from distress into problem-solving mode to successful outcomes. Oftentimes, I’ll talk to someone who feels absolutely hopeless; moving that person in the direction of hopeful is extremely satisfying, and it happens every day.

How do you strike a balance between demonstrating compassion and not relaxing professional boundaries?
Counseling is a very intimate process. It’s a science and an art – one based on the premise of providing each client with unconditional positive regard. As counselors, being authentic is not just part of our job, it’s who we are.

What’s the biggest myth about counseling you’d like to dispel?
That talking about your feelings is wrong. That notion is especially prevalent at Tech where we operate more with the thinking brain than with the feeling brain. But, in my experience, even the most skeptical of clients have told me they’ve felt better after talking about whatever issue they came to me with.

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Keywords
Faculty Staff Assistance Program, FSAP, Office of Human Resources
Status
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Feb 17, 2014 - 10:26am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:15pm