Q&A: Gary Cashel, Treatment Consultant

Gary Cashel talks Treatment Consultancy, and how his experience as an Employment Assistance Professional at an international alcohol giant makes him even more passionate about helping others today.

How long have you been working with Treatment Solutions? About six months. The leadership and team support has been amazing. What we do isn’t easy… it takes a certain mindset to go out day after day and compete with others who do what we do. Our strengths are our product, and the care and concern Treatment Solutions gives to our clients; our job is to convey those aspects to everyone we meet.

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How’d you get your start? What originally brought you into the EAP field? My undergrad degree in Alcohol Education prepared me for counseling — which I did for quite a few years mostly in a hospital setting, working with adolescents and adults in the substance abuse field. While working I went on to earn my master’s degree in Counseling and gained greater knowledge about Employee Assistance Programs. I liked the idea of working as an employee assistance professional because it provided the means by which to affect personal and systems change in the workforce.

Working for almost twenty years at St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch, internationally recognized as a top tier company with a world-class employee Assistance program, provided me with that opportunity. I began my career there as a case manager, and during my last ten years was both humbled and proud to serve as the Director of the EAP program.

In your own words, what’s an EAP employee’s job? It depends on the environment. At Anheuser-Busch, an internal assessment and referral EAP, simply stated, our function was to assist employees and their family members with mental health and substance abuse issues. The mantra in the corporate EAP world is “a happy employee is a productive employee,” so our goal was to increase employee productivity by taking care of their mental health and substance abuse needs. Among other responsibilities, we consulted with management about workplace problems, conducted mental health and substance abuse trainings, managed the mental health short term disability program, responded to critical incidents in the workplace and addressed the treatment aspect of the company’s drug testing program. A successful EAP is aligned with the company’s values, enhances the company and offers a positive ROI.

How did your experience in the alcohol industry affect your experience working with addicts and alcoholics?  The culture of Anheuser-Busch is one that celebrates beer and the consumer. It was an odd sort of cognitive dissonance for me at times. As a mental health professional, I often saw the devastation that alcohol, when used by an addicted person, inflicted on families. Yet, our role as an EAP in addressing these issues in the beer industry was the same as in any other business.

How does all of your past experience come together most effectively as a Treatment Consultant? My background has helped me to communicate effectively with people and develop trusting relationships. My knowledge of substance abuse disorders and treatment allows me to assist those who are looking for a better way to live. As a Treatment Consultant, I’m often the first person clients speak to in their effort to get well. It’s my goal to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, and show support in their decision to get help.

What’s your favorite thing about being a Treatment Solutions Treatment Consultant? Having an impact. It’s very rewarding to help an individual and/or their family members escape the bonds of substance addiction. When people contact me, they are often frightened, in pain and utterly confused by the circumstances in their lives. I am in a position to offer them hope. In addition, having the support of my boss and peers and being part of a hardworking, dedicated group also makes me proud to be a part of the Treatment Solutions team.

What does “teamwork” mean to you? I’ve played competitive soccer for most of my life. I know what it takes to win and have fun. A team is made up of individuals with different habits and personalities. The challenge is in everyone believing in and trusting one another, pulling together and pushing each other in a positive way. A team has to recognize and celebrate successes as well as learn from losses, because you’ll experience those too.

Name your favorite things in the world. My family. I have a wonderful wife and two great, grown children that make me very proud. They make me laugh a lot, which is important to me. I love humor, music, traveling, watching soccer, trying to stay healthy and fishing, when I get the chance.

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