Foundation, reminding you that a fully-integrated approach for assisting surivivors of
traumatic loss involves a balance of head and heart.
It surprises some people that Albert Einstein (1879-1955), known best for his
Theory of Relativity, also wrote about relationships, as in the following:
“A human being is part of a whole called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in space
and time. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate
from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of poison to us, restricting us to our personal desires
and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free
ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all
living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. We shall require a
substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”
While it is natural to feel empathy, and to want to help one’s own family
members and friends, the philosophy behind Human Services Response™
involves seeing all others as deserving of our highest level of service at all
times – and particularly during tragedy. HSR calls us to embrace the widest
circle of compassion possible, to ensure that all persons involved in, or affected
by, a tragedy feel validated and as though their needs and feelings are of
utmost importance to all in the organization experiencing the tragedy.
In the more than thirty years that the Family Assistance Foundation has conducted
research on survivors of workplace tragedies, an inconsistent response to
survivors of the same tragedy has occurred all too often. Many times, some survivors
describe receiving compassionate care and said the company employees left no
stone unturned in assisting them. But in the same accident response, other survivors
felt abandoned and as if the company failed them in the aftermath of the tragedy.
In each case, we eventually discover problems in the planning process.
Probably one of three factors is at play here, and possibly more than one.
First, the well-supported survivors were lucky in meeting compassionate company
representatives who did their best on their own. Secondly, the plan was not detailed
enough in terms of training and/or direction to be properly executed. And thirdly,
there were insufficient resources to support providing a consistent response or to
perform at an optimal level.
Therefore, in addition to ensuring the company has a wide circle of compassion,
an organization must ensure proper planning, training, and resources are in place,
and practiced on a regular basis, to ensure consistency when it is time to execute
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Aviem & Family Assistance Foundation
555 North Pont Center East, Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30022
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