Psychiatrist hired to help Hermanoff

DETROIT: As Detroit faces up to the realities of recession, PR firm

Hermanoff & Associates has come up with the unusual plan of teaming with

a noted Michigan psychologist to help its clients through the next 12


Dr. Robert Erard, past president of the Michigan Psychological

Association, will head Hermanoff & Associate's crisis response

department and provide guidance to clients dealing with low

productivity, restructuring, and anxiety regarding layoffs.

"We do a lot of handholding in our industry," said Sandy Hermanoff,

president of Hermanoff & Associates. "And lately we've been hearing from

clients about issues that have arisen out of the New York tragedy and

the recession."

Hermanoff says that her firm has been approached by clients seeking

advice on how they should quell anxiety about company layoffs, what they

should say to the media about company restructuring, and how to handle

rumors and impacts from corporate restructuring.

The firm will provide customized projects on a per-client basis. Dr.

Erard may go in on a direct consulting basis to help shape the message

and define the needs of the client.

"It's a natural combination between PR and the medical field because

doctors are in the business of communicating to clients," said Dr.


"PR agencies are going to be one of the first sources that companies

turn to when they need help."

Not everyone is a believer that bringing in a psychologist will become a

trend for agencies around the country, however.

"It seems natural that a company is going to turn to its HR department

in trying to solve those types of problems," said Richard Funess,

president of Ruder Finn, Americas.

For those interested in finding a psychologist to help their clients,

Dr. Erard suggested starting at the American Psychological Association's

website (

Hermanoff & Associates clients include McDonald's, Botsford Health Care

Continuum, and Northern Trust.

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