Program seeks to make lives better at McChord

By Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs on February 10, 2017

The name of the office often times confuses people - the Employee Assistance Program does not offer resumé building or critiquing, nor do they help you find a job, there's a different office for that, but the EAP office does offer a selection of valuable services to Department of Defense civilians.

Carl Newhouse, Joint Base Lewis-McChord senior EAP coordinator, and a team of four EAP coordinators are there to help with different challenges DoD civilians, retirees and dependents who may be struggling in their work place or personal lives.

Newhouse, who is also a certified social worker, has spent the last five years at McChord assisting people.

"There's a few pieces to the EAP," said Newhouse. "We work very closely with the Air Force Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program, behavioral health and other offices."

Newhouse was asked to stand up the program here five years ago, but he said it is not a new program for the Air Force.

"We fall in line with Air Force Instruction 90-508, the Air Force Civilian Drug Demand Reduction Program," Newhouse said. "If a person wants to come see us, they can and it's a confidential service for DoD civilians, spouses of active-duty servicemembers, and retirees and their spouses."

The services they offer are very diverse.

"We offer communication classes, work force development, civility classes, workplace violence classes, diversity classes and short-term counseling, all of which do not go on a medical record."

The team often conducts mass trainings regarding management and work place civility in units across the base.

"Sometimes if there's a multi-generational work force, there may be issues with cohesiveness," Newhouse said. "Maybe they aren't meshing well; management can call us to help and we can provide support and provide information through our classes."

Newhouse and his team can help educate those offices and help provide them with tools to better the environment.

"We are able to support and talk with people and they can see us independently," Newhouse said. "But we don't give diagnoses; I try to emphasize that."

The short-term counseling can be an alternative for a person who doesn't want to go to a therapist or a chaplain.

"Our role is to make sure if you are working, that you're healthy," said Newhouse.

For more information about the Employee Assistance Program, please call 253.732.2214.