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11/2007 RVCC Welcomes New Director of CONCERN/EAP

River Valley Counseling, Inc. welcomes Valerie Longworth as the new director of CONCERN, the agency’s Employee Assistance Program, located at Holyoke Hospital.   Ms.  Longworth has a master degree in counseling and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in industrial psychology. 

Ms. Longworth is a Springfield native who is not new to River Valley Counseling Center, Inc.; she was employed with the agency from 1988- 2000 as a counselor for the Partial Hospitalization program.  During this time, Ms. Longworth worked with other key staff to establish the current In-patient Treatment services.  Ms. Longworth left the social service arena to pursue an opportunity that was a slight diversion from her established career path.  She was offered an opportunity that many will never receive: an employment position encompassing one of life’s true passions.  For three years, Ms. Longworth advocated for animals as  the Director of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) in Springfield. 

In 2003, she returned to her counseling career and became an employee of Longview, one of the area’s largest privately owned employee assistance firms.  Employee Services International (ESI) purchased Longview, and gradually, the personalized care and attention Longview once offered to their customers was replaced by a corporate practice of providing a “one size fits all” approach.  Ms. Longworth believes that this philosophy is not appropriate when creating successful custom employee assistance programs. 

As CONCERN’s new Director, her initial goal is to increase awareness by educating Valley Health System employees about the program and market the program’s benefits to recruit additional businesses participation.  Business owners need to consider health and well-being of their employees; if employees are not functioning at their full capacity, for any reason, the productivity of the business is affected.  Employees utilizing employee assistance services should know that services are completely confidential and are free to them and their family members.  Businesses that contract with CONCERN are charged a flat fee based on the number of employees the organization employs.  Ms. Longworth brings a comprehensive approach to promoting wellness among employees.  She plans on incorporating new, innovative components including stress management techniques into the program’s current offerings.  She also plans to resurrect the CONCERN Newsletter as a mechanism to share program announcements and program offerings.