Faculty and Staff Assistance Program -- Common Questions

Is FSAP confidential?

The FSAP maintains strict confidentiality -- we are covered by the same confidentiality laws as any clinician in the community.  Our records are completely separate from medical or personnel files and no information is released without your written permission.  The main exceptions to confidentiality are in cases where a person is a danger to self or others, if a child is being abused or if an elderly person is being abused.  In those cases, we may be required to take actions to keep the person or the public safe and we will act in a way that still maintains as much privacy for our clients as is possible.   If you have any questions about confidentiality, please ask us.

Can I get work-release time?

Supervisors are able to grant work-release time for FSAP appointments but they aren’t required to grant release time.  Some employees prefer to maintain their privacy and then they can use sick or personal time to come to an appointment. It is perfectly legitimate to describe a meeting with us as a “medical appointment” and you do not need to disclose any other information about the meeting to a supervisor.

Can my supervisor make me go?

No. The FSAP is a free benefit for employees and is completely voluntary. Supervisors can encourage you to come in but they can not require it.   Remember that FSAP services are confidential. No information will be disclosed to supervisors unless the client signs a written release.

We do offer free Substance Abuse Assessments for employees who have tested positive for alcohol or drugs at work.  In that case, employees do need the assessment to return to work. However, this assessment does not have to be done by FSAP.  A person can find their own substance abuse professional to conduct the assessment, which might cost money or be billed under insurance.  We offer the service to help clients finish the assessment quickly and to save them money but it is up to the employee whether they would like to utilize our services or look elsewhere.

Does it cost anything to make an appointment with FSAP?

No we are completely free and we don’t bill your insurance.  If we refer you to a community therapist then you will begin accessing your insurance benefit and you may have to pay a copay or deductible.

I’ve never been to counseling -- what’s it like?

Counseling offers you a chance to talk about your difficulties with a neutral person.  While it can feel awkward at first, most people find it’s helpful to talk about what’s going on and, for some people, simply “talking it out” actually helps people to feel better.  Often counseling does focus on ways to find solutions to problems, whether by changing how you view the problem, how you are interacting with other people or how you can take practical steps to change the situation.

I’m having a major problem with my supervisor -- can you intervene?

Our office is not the place to come to file an official complaint or to find someone to intervene in the situation with a supervisor or with any work issue.  If are looking to make changes in how your workplace is operating, a good first stop is your union office.  We also encourage you to go up the "chain of command" by talking first to your supervisor and then to your supervisor's supervisor if you aren't satisfied with the response.  Our counselors offer a good place to talk about how you want to handle a situation -- we can help you find solutions but we can’t solve the problem for you.

Does your office help with accessing benefits?

No.  You should contact the Benefits office at HR.

I have a Disability.  Can your office help me with that?

People who are looking for workplace accommodations should contact the Accessible Workplace office at 413-545-6948.  If you are looking for a place to talk about issues around your disability, then our office is a good place for that.