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'Relationships' Series Takes Aim at Home and Work Stresses

August 25, 2020

The last several months have altered our routines. For some, the stressors have been disruptive but manageable. For others, the stress has caused a deterioration in relationships, sometimes leading to or worsening abusive and destructive behaviors. During the first week of August, the University of Texas Police at Houston (UT Police), in collaboration with the MD Anderson Employee Assistance Program (EAP), presented a webinar series, Relationships: A Seminar for All, featuring professionals that addressed a variety of strategies, techniques and resources to help address challenging relationship dynamics with a focus on this time of uncertainty.

"The goal of this series is to ensure that our workforce is aware of the different resources available to them and their families. We also want people to know the signs of abuse and how to report it," said EAP Specialist Kendra Lee-Martin who helped facilitate the events.

Over the course of the series, participants heard from professionals representing different practice areas, including a private-practice certified licensed therapist, an ombudsperson with MD Anderson, a victim's counselor with Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence, and two detectives and an officer with The University of Texas Police at Houston.

"If you or someone you know needs a trusted professional to talk to confidentially, contact MD Anderson's EAP at 713-745-6901," Lee-Martin advises. "We are here to help you with problems that affect your life both on and off the job."

MD Anderson employees, faculty members, designated trainees, students or retirees are eligible to use the institution's EAP services at no cost. Immediate family members of employees and faculty are also eligible to benefit from these same services at no cost.

Through the Employee Assistance Program at UTHealth, employees can take advantage of programs that help with mental, physical financial, personal and professional, and occupational wellbeing. Resources can be found on the UTHealth EAP webpage

VIDEO: Respect in Relationships

The first person to present in the webinar series was Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Kearin Miller. Her presentation, Respect in Relationships, was an insightful look into how we communicate with coworkers, family and spouses. Miller's seminar attended by more than 150 participants.

VIDEO: Connecting Through Conflict: Conflict Resolution in the Moment

On Tuesday, viewers heard from Carrie Anderson, an associate ombudsperson with the MD Anderson's Ombuds Office. Anderson presented on Connecting Through Conflict: Conflict Resolution in the Moment, which tackled issues surrounding communication and conflict, and sharing strategies on how to show empathy, how to apologize and using the EAR Model. 

VIDEO: Domestic Violence 101

Domestic Violence 101, presented by Nicole Franklin-Jones, outreach director for the Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, took an in-depth look at what the cycle of abuse looks like, what healthy relationships look like, and emphasized the resources AVDA offers, not only for victims of domestic violence, but also for abusers. Franklin-Jones encourages anyone experiencing violence in their relationship to contact her via email or by telephone at 713-224-9911.

VIDEO: Violence in the Home: Its Signs and Impact to the Workplace

Two detectives with the UT Police Threat Management Team, Kimberly Happ and Viola Douglas, participated in the webinar series educating attendees on Violence in the Home: Its Signs and Impact to the Workplace. The presentation outlined the role of STOP/2-STOP and how to work with UT Police or your Employee Assistance Program in reporting conflict at work or at home. The Threat Management Team assists with all aspects of domestic violence situations and will arrange for the protection of an individual and coordinate associated services as needed. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, contact the Threat Management Team by calling 2-STOP or 713-792-STOP (7867). You may remain anonymous.  

VIDEO: Introduction to Verbal Defense and Influence

The webinar series concluded with Introduction to Verbal Defense and Influence (VDI) presented by UT Police Community Outreach Officer Manuel Leston. Officer Leston is an award-winning educator certified in verbal de-escalation techniques that are adaptable to almost any interaction with another person. Participants learned how to defend and deflect using words and diffusing tension during heated interactions. 

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