I have an employee that has worked for me for a number of years. I like and respect him and I watched with sadness as his drinking got out of control and I urged him to get the treatment he eventually did accept. He is now in a rehab program and he wants me to participate in a joint therapy group session with him. He is not married and has no close family. I want to help but I am uncomfortable. Is this customary, to ask an employer to such a therapy group. We are not friends but I care a great deal for him. I think he wants me to help him in his ongoing journey. Are there any legal issues I need to be concerned about if I get involved as his employer and also as a person that is helping him stay sober. Should I attend? I think I would like to but it seems very strange to me.
Hello. I have never heard of a situation that resembles yours in working with addiction for many years. Group therapy sessions as part of a rehab program consists of people in the rehab program. I imagine if the rehab program wanted people in the program to be in a group with people in their support system outside the program, it being beneficial. However, the fact that you are this person's employer makes it inappropriate for you to join this group. You joining would cross boundaries that are best not crossed. Your uncomfortable feelings joining this group are appropriate and should be respected. I understand wanting to help this man and it sounds like the way you are supporting him as his employer with your empathy and caring is admirable and sufficient. I hope my opinion helps you. Best regards, Zelik Mintz, LCSW, LP