September 29, 2005
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There are many times that each of us can benefit from emotional support or hearing another’s story. In some situations we may feel that we may want to share or gain some emotional strength from others facing some similar issue(s) in life that we are. Also, we may feel we have already burdened those who are close to us on a daily basis and participating in a topical support group may be a very safe and rewarding experience.
A support group’s basic purpose is to provide mutual aide and emotional support for those who share a similar concern or predicament. Support groups assist in enhancing our understanding and coping skills in dealing with stressful life situations or with concerns that are often “out of our personal control”. Support groups are almost always provided in a confidential setting and are usually at minimal cost or no charge at all.
Those who attend support groups frequently share that they feel they have gained feelings of understanding and new resources by their experience. Groups can vary as much as the reasons for their existence. Finding one that is the right fit often depends on a number of things. If you do decide to try participating in one, give it a few tries. In addition, try a few different groups as often the particular composition of a group can make a big difference in the benefits to you. At times, the demographic mix of the group and the personalities of the participants can affect your comfort level. Since there are such a variety of groups in existence don’t make a judgment on the value of a support group for your concern just on one particular group.
Some of the most common issues that people go to support groups for include when they are personally or someone they love or care for, is suffering from cancer, bereavement, diabetes, depression, anxiety or alcoholism, (or other chemical dependencies). There are many other human conditions and many physical or mental health disabilities. One may feel less alone when they discover and are able to share with others with similar life concerns or experiences. Through mutual sharing and listening one can often learn some new coping strategies and options.
To locate a support group that may be of interest and help there are a number of options. A FASAP staff member can assist you with identifying and locating many groups. Additionally, one can search the Michigan mental health we directory at www.mhweb.org, check your local newspaper for listings, check with your local library or a clergy member.
As always we would suggest that when a problem or concern becomes overwhelming to someone that they always consider seeking the advice of a medical or mental health professional. For medical advice your primary care physician is often a good stating point and for mental health resources FASAP can assist in recommending resources and providers.
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Workplace conflict, great teams: gender differences?
If I hear it one more time I just might scream: some man saying, “It’s just too many women together in the office – they can’t get along.” And it’s even worse when a woman says something like that!
Still, here’s one relatively conflict-free team that thinks being all-male DOES make a difference. Recently I interviewed a team of three men who work closely together on a daily basis. Their team of three has a reputation for being a stress-free, conflict-free team, so I asked them to tell me how they did it.
Simple, they said. “We each know we want to work in a pleasant environment.” Well, that’s not unusual – but, they talked about it – now that IS unusual! Not because their boss asked them to, or because they were in a special meeting, or anything – just because it came up, and they talked about it. Realizing that each of them wanted this same thing set the tone. They also realized that their environment, pretty much, was each other – the three of them – so how they worked together was really what mattered – and that’s the frame of mind they bring to work each day.
Second, they told me, “We’re really different from each other – three different generations. We live in three different towns in two different counties, we have real different personalities and backgrounds – but still we care about each other as human beings.”
They looked at each other, guys being embarrassed, and laughed, and said, “Well, you know, not like hanging out together all the time, or group hugs, or anything like that. But when Jake’s newborn baby was sick – that was important to all of us, and we checked up every day on how it was going, you know?”
Third, although they can see “complaining and negativity” around them in different parts of the University, they consciously keep separate from it by seeing themselves as their own separate team, so that it won’t infect them. (Note: it is a commonly noted characteristic of high-performing teams that they do see themselves as distinct, and in some way different from, the larger organization of which they’re a part. They have a team identity of which they’re proud. This is pretty clearly true of the Closer Shop team!)
Finally, they don’t sit on irritation or let it fester. “When we do get upset with each other, we just have it out and get over it.” So I asked them – what kind of things irritate you, and what does “having it out” look like?
“Well, usually it’s like this: we really like to tease each other, and most of the time it’s fun. But you know, some days you just might not be in the mood for it, or it just goes one thing too far, and you’ve had it. It’s got your goat. Or the other kind of thing would be the work itself – you’d be doing a piece of the job and one of the other guys is looking over your shoulder and telling you you’re doing it all wrong, and it just ticks you off. So then you stand there and say something like ‘Gosh darn it, back off, you idiot, you’re not such a brain yourself.’ Or it might be worse language than that but I won’t repeat it here. And then, you know, you’re over it.”
I asked, “So, is that OK with the other person, the one that got yelled at?” They were surprised, and said, “Well, sure, he pretty much had it coming, didn’t he?”
And it was this final point that brought up the whole subject of gender differences. This all-male team doubts that women are able to have it out, and then forget it and be just as close as before, the way they do.
What do you think? How does your team manage disagreement and clear the air? We would love to hear your thoughts – just send them to email@example.com .
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No one really knows what causes Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), but genetics may play a role, and so may environmental causes. It is a progressive disease, which destroys a person’s ability to learn and reason, make judgments, and carry out daily activities. It may also change the person’s personality, resulting in anxiety, suspiciousness, and hallucinations.
There is currently no known cure, but the major risk factor is age. After age 65, the chances of developing the disease double every five years. Yet just because you may forget where you put your keys or what your close friend’s name is, doesn’t mean you are getting Alzheimer’s. (For more information on the symptoms, please check out the following website: www.alz.org ) And not everyone who gets older or who has a close relative with Alzheimer’s will get the disease.
Researchers have discovered several effective methods to help prevent this disease:
“It’s hard to prove a lot of these things, but I’m convinced there’s enough evidence for a cause-and-effect relationship,” states Gary Small, a researcher at UCLA. But what do you have to lose by adopting them? These are healthy choices for all sorts of reasons.
If you are caring for someone who has dementia, or worry that a loved on may be showing some symptoms, call the Work/Life Resource Center, 734-936-8677, for resources and caregiving tips.
Sources: The Alzheimer’s Association, Washington Post, (8/14/05), Health Orbit (8/12/05) Sixwise.com, and Center for Healthy Minds.
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FASAP now has a satellite office in the Dennison Building located on Church Street between North and South University. The office is located in room 738 and is easily accessible and in a confidential setting.
To schedule an appointment to see a counselor at either FASAP’s main office at the corner of Hoover and Greene or in the Dennison location please call 936-8660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The University of Michigan Center for the Child and the Family is offering an excellent lecture series on parenting and family issues. All sessions are held from 7 to 8:30 in the evening and cover a range of topics from “How to help your adolescent with ADHD at home and at School” to “Divorce: Surviving and Thriving”. All sessions are free though pre-registration is requested.
Please see www.umuccf.org for a complete listing of the lecture series or call 764-9466.
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FASAP is now offering an eight week educational series on Managing Anger. A pilot was successfully run in the spring of 2005 with nine graduating participants. The purpose of each group is to help individuals learn more appropriate ways to manage anger. It focuses on accountability and responsibility for ones own behaviors. FASAP counselors focus on learning and maintaining improved social problem solving skills to be implemented into ones daily life. Additionally topics addressed include: understanding the anger response, anger triggers, payoffs and consequences.
Each group runs for eight weeks with one hour sessions each week.
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Please join the Work/Life Resource Center Staff in a celebration of the University's commitment to your family and personal life.
Established in 1990 as the Family Care Resources Program, WLRC strives to meet its mission of helping the University provide an environment which is supportive of, and sensitive to, the healthy balance between work life and family/personal life by providing services and information that every University community member can use.
From its innovative Kids Kare at Home program to the Child Care Referral Service, WLRC is always looking for ways to provide useful family-friendly services . And WLRC offers much more than childcare resources. Its web site is filled with information on parenting , breastfeeding, eldercare, brown bag presentations and even flexible work arrangements .
Please accept this invitation to join WLRC on the Diag with an “open house-style” event. There will be cake, goodies and giveaways. And, if you schedule allows, you are encouraged to bring your children and let them enjoy a moonwalk, face-painting and story time.
For more information about WLRC, including a history of the unit, visit www.umich.edu/~hraa/worklife or call 734-936-8677.
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A representative of FASAP and the WLRC can come to your department or staff meeting a make a short (10 to 20 minute) presentation on the range of services that are offered by the two programs.
To arrange a presentation please call 936-8660 and speak to a program representative.
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resolutions is published in January, May and September of every year. To obtain additional information regarding our services contact FASAP/Mediation Services at (734) 936-8660.
Hospital employees may contact the M-Works EAP at 763-5409 for counseling service.