DC EAPA Chapter


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President's Corner

From our president……..

President’s Message 2020: 

Greetings from Washington DC and welcome to the DC EAPA chapter.  I am so honored to serve as the President of this chapter. For those of you who may not know me, after starting off in the addictions field, I entered the Employee Assistance industry 22 years ago in an internal EAP with a major transportation carrier. Now I work with Firefighters, EMT’s and Sheriffs in one of the suburban counties in Northern Virginia.   I started coming to meetings at this chapter about 20 years ago and I have been fortunate to serve as the chapter’s treasurer from 2015 to 2019. I have appreciated working with the past president Bob Norton and the board, Barbara Fornoff, Carolyn Stueve, Jenifer Schotlander and Cindy Wagner. The previous board taught me the importance of service and continuing to provide our members and guests with relevant educational opportunities and a forum to network during our monthly meetings.

Jeff Becker continues to serve as our webmaster, and we continue to be grateful for his patience and skills.  I also want to thank the K Street Kolmac Outpatient Clinic staff that has so graciously provided us the space to hold our meetings at 1411 K street, NW in Washington, DC.

In our continuing commitment to the chapter, I am joined by 1st Vice President Kristin Scholl, 2nd Vice President Rachel Kaufmann, Secretary Amy Williamson, and Treasurer Bob Norton. Yes, Bob and I bookended some high energy, terrific women who have taken on their positions with humor and flexibility!

As we move through the 2020-2021 year, we are facing challenges never seen before. The COVID-19 Pandemic is wreaking havoc around the world. We hear in the news that COVID-19 is a “novel” coronavirus. The dictionary tells us that novel simply means “new or unusual in an interesting way”. Throughout this pandemic, Employee Assistance providers, whether internal to organizations or as private practice entities, have continued to work and find ways to handle the needs of organizations and employees in unique and one can say, novel, ways. Another challenge that we are facing is the ongoing trauma of racial injustice which has come to the forefront because of recent incidents in the United States. It is yet another issue that is redefining how we listen, perceive, communicate, and help. 

 So, we too must be novel, or new or unusual in an interesting way. To accomplish this, the DC EAPA chapter has been finding new ways to support you, our members. The chapter exists to serve you!  As I started my term as president, I never thought that we would be bringing technology to our meetings the way we have. We will continue to conduct our monthly DC EAPA meetings in a Zoom format so that you have access to the monthly presentations. Through this time, we have discovered a silver lining with an increased attendance from EA professionals in other parts of the county who are joining our Zoom call. We will continue to offer PDH’s for our educational presentations. For the EPA practitioner, the presentations provide information in the most current treatment modalities and effectiveness. For treatment providers, we offer opportunities to share about their programs and inform members of their services. And for independent practitioners, we offer networking, education, and an opportunity to interact with colleagues. 

Currently our members work directly or maintain an interest in the Employee Assistance field. Our membership includes government, private, independent and management based EAP’s, Social Workers, CSAC’s, behavioral health treatment providers, students, and marketing professionals.  I would like to see HR professionals, Union representatives and life and career Coaches join our meetings. We are all interconnected as we work to support employees and organizations. Please bring a colleague to a meeting! Although we have gone to Zoom meetings, we are still meeting every month except August and the Zoom format has made it easier.

I urge you to attend the Weekly COVID 19 discussions that EAPA International is hosting from 12 noon east coast time until 1 pm. Every Wednesday, there have been very important, poignant and informative presentations and discussions among the members. It is helpful to hear from Employee Assistance professionals from around the globe as they share their experiences, approaches, and vulnerabilities, in the commission of their work.  The honest and sometimes uncomfortable discussions within the profession are helping us to grow to the “New Normal”, whatever that may be. 

Lastly, I hope that you are all taking good care of yourselves and your families physically, spiritually, and emotionally. With the issue of vicarious traumatization that we can experience in this field, it is of paramount importance that we practice self-care and positive thinking.

We will continue to keep you updated as we move ahead. Please be assured that this unforeseen pandemic has strengthened our commitment to providing the best educational opportunities we have available. Thank you for your patience and support and please take care and stay safe. 

 Yours in Service,

 

 Maia Dalton-Theodore, LCSW, SAP