• Bringing EAP to Faith Communities: Genesis of a Canadian Congregational Assistance Plan

      Vennen, Mark Vander; Smit-Vandezande, M.; Van Wyk, Ken, M.Phil., M.B.A.; Csiernik, Rick (2013)
      Inspired by Employee Assistance Programming, this article reviews the evolution of a parallel process for a different constituency, members of faith communities, a Congregational Assistance Plan. The relationship between spirituality and counselling in Canada is discussed leading to a review of the process through which two Christian-based counselling agencies developed a network to serve the personal and mental health needs of church parishioners. The goals of the Congregational Assistance Plan are presented along with its structuring, implementation and utilization data for the churches that piloted the initiative.
    • A tale of two churches: the development of a Congregational Assistance Program.

      Smit-Vandezande, M.; Vennen, Mark Vander; Van Wyk, Ken; Csiernik, Rick (Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 2013-01-02)
      Drawing upon the principles of employee assistance programs, a congregational assistance program was piloted in two churches: one urban and one rural in Ontario, Canada. The developmental processes of a faith-inclusive, external counseling service with no direct-cost user fees is discussed highlighting the distinct issues addressed by each congregation. Despite uncertainties, the use of the program for a range of personal issues exceeded utilization expectations with the program’s ease of access, confidentiality and lack of fees cited as significant factors.