Featured in "Counseling Today"
Amanda Hembree, LPC CEAP of Lagniappe Counseling, was recently highlighted in a feature story of the September issue of Counseling Today magazine, the premier publication of the American Counseling Association. The article "Hard at Work", written by Bethany Bray, explores the interplay between mental health and the workplace.
Behaviors that can indicate a client’s mental health is leading to problems in the workplace include frequent absences, tardiness, difficulty motivating themselves to perform their job, or job performance issues such as struggling to meet deadlines or other work expectations, says Amanda Hembree, a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and certified employee assistance professional with a private practice in New Orleans.
Perfectionism can also be a factor, she adds. For example, a client with OCD may miss deadlines or have trouble contributing to team projects because they need extra time to prepare and complete compulsive rituals or steps until an assignment is just right. This can especially be the case in job roles that involve safety, Hembree points out. Employees with OCD may feel they need to check and recheck their equipment, tools and other safety protocols repeatedly, causing them to be late or struggle to complete other tasks.
At the same time, Hembree acknowledges that many people with mental health challenges find “workarounds” to push through the workday and keep themselves from being noticed by co-workers or supervisors.
A client’s workplace challenges may also fly under the radar in counseling sessions unless the clinician fully explores how the person’s mental illness is manifesting across their life, Hembree stresses. Clients may seek counseling for a different presenting issue, such as parenting struggles or communication problems within a marriage, and fail to recognize or acknowledge that work problems can be a contributing factor to difficulties in their personal life.
“Don’t discount work,” Hembree urges her fellow counselors. “Clients are spending 40-plus hours there each week, and it will affect what they’re bringing into the counseling office. Work plays a big role in our lives, and you [the counselor] have to figure out the intersection of why they’re in your office and what is going on at work and what can be helped in both realms. None of us lives in a vacuum. Mental illness will affect every part of a whole person’s wellness — and especially work.”
The entire article can be read here.