DSCF0100 - another biltmore lobbyPHOENIX, Ariz. – “EAP Heats Up: Flourishing into the Future,” was the theme at the Annual World EAP Conference, held Oct. 16-19 at the Arizona Biltmore. Some of the highlights will be posted on this blog. Watch for more highlights and articles in future issues of the Journal of Employee Assistance (JEA) and Employee Assistance Report  (EAR) – see http://www.eapassn.org and the “Employee Assistance Professionals” tab at http://www.impact-publications.com respectively.

DAY ONE – The first day of the conference began for me with a look at the new “EA Specialist, Clinician (EAS-C)” certificate training, led by Judy Beahan, Robert Intveld, Marina London, and Tracy McPherson. The pre-conference session offered attendees with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge necessary to join affiliate provider panels and grow their private practices. More information on EAPA’s new certificate of recognition is available at www.easpassn.org/EASpecialist.  An article about the EAS-C also appears in the 4th quarter issue of the JEA and the December 2013 EAR.

The highlight of day one was the annual EAPA Marketplace Grand Opening Reception. The event is a great way to meet the conference exhibitors to network and see what types of products and services they offer. Some of the nearly 100 vendors included: Adolescent Growth, Inc., CareLike, Crisis Care Network, Eldercare Locator, Hazelden, Recovery Trek, and many others.

DAY TWO – Darrell Scott, founder of Rachel’s Challenge, and father of Rachel Scott, the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999, presented the opening keynote. The opening presentation offered an incredibly moving and inspiring example of how even small, deliberate acts of kindness and acceptance can start a chain reaction of kindness  and compassion that empowers us to positively affect the culture and climate of our workplaces, schools, and communities. Rachel’s message has reached millions, and Mr. Scott has appeared on CNN, Larry King Live, Oprah, and other TV programs.

Breakout sessions I attended were:

Screening and Brief Intervention for At-Risk Drinking: Outcomes Six Months Later – Presented by Susan Baker, David Lower, and Patricia McKee, this panel examined whether screening and brief intervention (SBI) is effective in an affiliate EAP model by sharing data from an SBI initiative implemented in a call center.

Best Practices for Surveying EAP Clients: Validate the Case for Your EAP – Offered by James Haring and Dave Sharar, the presenters reviewed how, when done well, outcome-driven surveys can increase client response rates and satisfaction.

Workplace Implications of the Opiate Addiction Epidemic and Synthetic Drug Misuse – Presented by Jeffrey Reynolds and Stephanie Siete, the presenters explained how prescription opiate addiction is now considered a national public health emergency in the U.S. Common side effects and typical signs of addiction in the workplace, were among other areas discussed. While the trends presented were disturbing, they also revealed useful information for EA professionals working in substance use addiction.

Mindfulness: Practical Applications for the Employee Assistance Professional – Bruce Greenhalgh shared his observations of how mindfulness positively impacts concentration, mental health, emotional intelligence and well-being, which in turn promotes higher engagement in the workplace.