Case Study: Family and Financial Stress


PROBLEM: Job stress and pressure of being the sole earner for family


An employee in Belgium, recently called our global EAP service at a stressful time after her husband had lost his job without warning. She told the counselor that she felt an enormous amount of pressure as the sole earner for her family, which consisted of her husband and a child applying to attend a university. She was also concerned about her husband, who seemed down after his construction company unexpectedly went bankrupt following a series of mistakes and financial errors.

She told the counselor that she felt compelled to work longer hours and accomplish more at work, even though the amount of money she earned wouldn’t change. She felt it was now necessary for job security, but the added pressure she was feeling was taking a toll on her wellbeing and her family. After listening to the client for a few minutes, it became apparent to our counselor that the caller was overcome with anxiety. She was having trouble dealing with her emotions around the recent financial changes because she had never encountered anything similar. Our counselor began to explore self-help strategies that could calm the woman, affirm her feelings, and then help her deal with them in a positive way.

After speaking with the counselor on that first call, the individual reported feeling markedly better and appreciated the convenience of being able to access counselling support over the phone. The counselor recognized that a significant level of progress could be made over the phone, and the client agreed that short-term, structured telephonic counseling seemed like a good solution. After five sessions with the counselor, she reported significantly decreased levels of anxiety and fear, and was actively using the self-help strategies to move past her anxiety and be the successful mother and employee she needed to be.

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The story above is based on a real-life situation, but details have been changed or omitted to protect the anonymity of the individual receiving support.