Employee Assistance Newsletter Fall 2008
Communication in the Workplace

Sara Kapler, M.A., C.Psych. Assoc.

Counselling is Worth Your Investment

Sean Kerry, M.A.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Anita Chard, M.S.W., R.S.W.

Welcome to our Fall 2008 newsletter. For many of us, Fall represents the informal beginning of a new year. We often begin new projects and set personal goals to improve the way we manage our work and personal lives. Your EAP counsellors are available to assist with identifying and achieving personal goals. This newsletter provides articles with helpful information on improving communication in the workplace, preventative counselling aimed at improving marital and couple relationships, and important facts and information on the importance of sleep and how a good night’s sleep impacts on improving your overall health.

Virginia Palmer, Editor

Communication in the Workplace

Sara Kapler, M.A., C.Psych. Assoc.

Communication in the Workplace

Have you ever had difficulties communicating with co-workers, or felt that your message was not getting across in the workplace? If we have difficulties communicating with others we may lose out on the opportunity to develop strong working relationships with our colleagues and experience a sense of job satisfaction.

Communication isn’t just about what you verbalize. Have you ever had someone tell you “I’m not mad” through gritted teeth while their body is clenched? Obviously there is more to the story than what that person is telling you. When we communicate a message to someone, the majority of this communication comes across nonverbally. In order to be effective communicators in the workplace it is important to pay attention not only to what we say, but how we say it. Some nonverbal communication components include the tone and volume of your voice, your body posture, and the degree of eye contact you use. Communication isn’t only about getting a message across, but also about receiving messages. How are your listening skills?

People tend to have more success in communicating with others when they actively listen to what is being said. Active listening involves nonverbal and verbal skills. Have you ever tried to talk to someone at work while they are typing at the computer? Did you feel that you were truly being listened to? When we face our coworkers with an open posture, give eye contact, and use encouragers such as head nodding, coworkers will likely to want to communicate more with us. Skills such as paraphrasing, where you restate the essence of what has been said, and using clarifying questions in order to understand another’s position, help us to ensure we have heard and understood what is being said before we respond.

Sometimes if there is a workplace conflict, or an issue that we feel strongly about, we may get caught up in our emotions and our communication skills can become less than professional. When there is conflict or you feel your emotions are running high, here are some helpful points to remember:

  • Take a break. Most people are okay when you tell them that you need to think about something before you respond. Do something to clear your head, such as going for a quick walk or taking a few deep breaths. Wait until you have calmed down before you return to the conversation.
  • If someone is doing something that is upsetting to you, separate the behaviour from the person. Telling someone that you were upset by how they responded to you will be better received than criticizing their character.
  • Avoid using “you” statements that distance you from your feelings. Instead, use statements that begin with “I feel ______”. Avoid using “you” statements that accuse. Many people interpret statements that begin with “you” as blaming and often become defensive in response.
  • These are skills that anyone can learn-it just takes practice! Communication skills can develop with the help of others. There are many available books out there and EAP counsellors can be helpful communication coaches.

    Counselling is Worth Your investment

    Sean Kerry, M.A.

    Marital therapy, also referred to as “couples counselling” is interesting work. When consulting with my colleagues about some of the key processes in couples counselling, a single question continues to emerge: “Why now?” That is, why have these two individuals decided that their relationship warrants counselling at this particular time?

    It seems that clients often attend marital counselling after several months or even years of dissatisfaction in the relationship. Over time, the wounds from several years of conflict have led to pain and even resentment. These well-entrenched feelings then make repairing the relationship a very challenging task for both the therapist and the couple.

    Benefits of Counselling

    As a practitioner, I can’t help but wonder if the couple had agreed to attend counselling earlier, would it be easier to “untie the knot” that has formed in this relationship? Having worked in practice for several years with a number of distressed couples, I feel that I can say with some confidence: Yes. This is not to say that highly distressed and argumentative couples are “beyond hope” since their unresolved conflicts have been ongoing. I’ve seen motivated couples who were determined to untie the knots in their relationship, respond and rebuild highly damaged relationships. However, marital therapy should not be considered as simply a last resort for saving a relationship. Over the course of any relationship, it is quite natural for disagreements to emerge over financial decisions, parenting style, or even the quality or quantity of intimate time spent together. By opening a dialogue about these difficult topics early and learning new conflict resolution styles, the impasses in marital relationships can be overcome.

    More couples should consider counselling as also a way to enhance their current relationship and to take action to address problems before they become greater concerns.

    In my work, I have seen couples who invest in therapy with the goal of giving their relationship “a minor tune up”. One of the most exciting things about this type of counselling is the opportunity to facilitate new learning between the two individuals and to foster this process of discovery for the good of the relationship. From what I have seen, a little investment can go a long way.

    Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

    Anita Chard, M.S.W., R.S.W.

    Sleep is important to our physical and mental health – it can strengthen immunity, improve memory, and aid physical restoration. On the other hand, poor sleep may increase moodiness, reduce concentration, and challenge our ability to cope with stress.

    Getting a good night's sleep

    ASSERTION GROUP FOR WOMEN

    6 Weekly sessions starting in November 2008.

    Learn about assertion and assertion behaviours.

    Practice using those behaviours in social situations

    Group Leader: Eva Mourelatos M.A.

    Contact QCS at 613-966-4262 for more information

    COUNSELLORS AVAILABLE THROUGH YOUR EAP:
    • Anita Chard, M.S.W.,R.S.W.
    • Rev. Dr. Kent Clayton
    • Treena Cook, M.S.W.,R.S.W.
    • Dr. Greg Kerr, M.Sc.
    • John Lunman, M.S.W., R.S.W
    • Eva Mourelatos, M.A.
    • Ginny Palmer, B.A.
    • Julia Sorensen, M.A., CCBT
    • Alice Olson, M.S.W.,R.S.W.
    • Sara Kapler, M.A., C.Psych. Assoc.
    • Sean Kerry, Ph.D., C. Psych.
    • Stacy Gall, Ph.D.

    When life demands and stresses occur, sleep can often be negatively impacted. The subsequent fatigue may make it more difficult to cope with and resolve problems. The following guidelines will be helpful in creating the best possible conditions in which to get a good night’s sleep.

    1. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. You can use an alarm clock set for your bedtime to interrupt your evening activities and remind you to go to bed.
    2. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day, all of which can disrupt sleep quality.

      Create a dark, quiet, cool, and peaceful environment in which to sleep, ideally free of computers, television, or work projects.

    3. Physical exercise can help prevent night wakings, although it should not be done too close to bedtime. Exercise is the only known way for older adults to increase their time spent in restorative deep sleep.

      Get some sunlight during the day, which can help regulate your sleep.

    4. About a half-hour before lying down to sleep, have a nighttime routine that signals it is time to go to bed. For example, have a warm bath and some time to read.
    5. Use slow, deep breathing to relax and unwind for sleep.
    6. If you have difficulty falling asleep, or waken during the night and are unable to get back to sleep, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing or boring until you feel sleepy again.
    7. Don’t worry about your sleeplessness. Anxiety about not sleeping well can keep you awake.
      Changes to sleep can take time, so be patient as you try your new plan. Adopting these suggestions, as well as seeking support to address any thoughts or concerns that may be keeping you awake, should improve the quality of your sleep.

    Adapted from various sources

    In Our Next Issue
    Introducing PLAR Personal and Professional Growth Program – Shawn Doyle, RSSW

    ***PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT SERVICES***

    Are you a worried parent whose child or adolescent is experiencing difficulty with:

    *not achieving at the expected level?
    *Mathematics, Reading, Spelling, or Writing skills?
    *paying attention and/or concentrating?
    *managing emotions and getting along with others?

    A Psychoeducational Assessment by Quinte Assessment and Treatment Group Inc. can identify causes of your child’s problems and recommend what can help.

    Dr. Lih-Yea Guo, Ph.D., C.Psych.,   Dr. Carl Sordoni, Ph.D., C.Psych.,
    Eva Mourelatos, M.A., Sean Kerry, Ph.D.
    Sara Kalper, M.A., C.Psych. Assoc.

    Quinte Counselling Services Inc.

    208 John Street
    Belleville, Ontario, K8N 3G1
    Tel: 613-966-4262
    Fax: 613-966-4265
    Toll Free: 1-800-527-7793
    qcs@qxplore.com www.qxplore.com

    QUINTE COUNSELLING SERVICES INC.

    Qxplore employee assistance program

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Serving clients in Central and Eastern Ontario with a focus on Napanee, Belleville, Trenton, Quinte West, Prince Edward County, Hastings County, Lennox and Addington County and Northumberland County.