Psychological difficulties are widespread in the community and equally widely avoided, denied or misunderstood. An individual who is failing to cope in an executive role may not only suffer considerable personal trauma, but can seriously impair the function of the company that person represents. Removing an experienced executive, who may have a key role in a corporation, could prove to be an expensive and wasteful exercise, the costs of which might be avoided if the individual could be helped and maintained in his or her position.
I offer a specialised psychological/psychiatric service to corporations with senior executives who are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties. I am in a position to provide expert appraisal and management of a distressed or disruptive employee, with the primary aim of keeping that person in his position and working more effectively. Since 2004, I have been running an executive assistance programme in Sydney, offering advice and treatment to senior management who find themselves suffering emotional or relationship difficulties.
At times it is possible to successfully intervene without any contact with the person in question, as frequently I can offer suggestions based solely on a description of troubling behaviour. I am experienced in the process of liaising with company representatives and devising strategies for managing a difficult or failing executive. This can sometimes be the only possible approach to an employee who appears to have no recognition of his own issues or the problems he is causing and therefore closed to the idea of being helped.
When I have no direct contact with the individual, the matter can be pursued without concerns for confidentiality, as at this level, the individual would not need to be identified. In practice, it is common for an executive to be very open to assistance, either in his own office or at my consulting rooms. Appreciating that I am a doctor of medicine and therefore bound by an oath of confidentiality can make a large difference to an individual’s willingness to talk to me. Naturally, once a direct contact does occur, the relationship amongst the client, his company and myself has to be carefully negotiated.
While many psychologists offer various forms of emotional aid, only a psychiatrist can provide a service that covers all potentials, because only someone qualified in medicine can make informed decisions as to the necessity for medication as a treatment option. As depressive illness is one of the most frequent complications developing in a pressured executive, on occasions medication is an essential element in its resolution. A psychologist does not have the benefit of medical training so is unable to provide the necessary treatment. Experience has shown me large amounts of time and money can be expended on unsuccessful psychological therapy, when in some situations antidepressant treatment can get a person back to a sense of untroubled normality and effective work within a couple of weeks.
Having said this, while I am skilled and experienced in the prescription of medication, the majority of problems cannot be managed pharmacologically. My particular interests are in negotiation of interpersonal difficulties in the workplace, the management of self esteem and anxiety and also in marital and relationship therapy. Here it is worth adding there is potential for all problems to be magnified if the executive is separated from family emotional supports while working in a foreign country and the emotional distress is often even greater for a spouse at home, who is living in isolation and lacks the structure of a work day. The latter is of particular importance to a corporation, as domestic difficulties are invariably reflected in work, so my experience in marital counselling can prove invaluable.
I am well placed to offer the service proposed. I have over thirty years experience as a psychiatrist, treating the full spectrum of psychological presentations. I can confidently claim a high standing in my profession and can provide references at a professorial level, if required. I am a member of the teaching staff of the Black Dog Institute of the University of NSW, which has world recognition as a centre for treatment of depression and anxiety states. I am also a clinical lecturer in psychiatry at Sydney University and have been since 1983. I have also worked with the Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service for over ten years, providing psychiatric services to outback New South Wales. In my years of private practice I have seen the widest range of problems experienced by executives at work and at home, in their homeland or as arrivals from other countries.
Executive Assistance is an individual operation. If you seek to make use of the programme, all aspects are managed by myself alone.
Ultimately and sadly, not all problems have solutions and if you believe they do, but you just haven’t found the answer yet, you are placing an enormous pressure upon yourself or your colleagues. Here the best I can offer is the observation that if I am unable to solve the difficulty, it is moderately unlikely there is someone better qualified, more able or more experienced who would be capable of doing more.
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