EAP provides solution-focused, goal-oriented short-term counseling. As it fosters client self-reliance and responsibility, this model is most appropriate for clients who present with a well-defined concern, are able to quickly establish a therapeutic alliance with the counselor, and are prepared to work actively toward an identified solution.
Typically, EAP does not provide long-term counseling. Where clinically indicated, counselors will case manage clients appropriate for longer term counseling by referring to public or private resources offering longer term or specialized services.
EAP counselors work with individuals, couples, and families, presenting with a wide array of personal, family, and work-related issues. When clients’ needs are assessed to be beyond the scope of short-term counseling, EAP counselors will refer clients to community resources or other external resources as part of the established plan and facilitate client contact with external resources, liaising and advocating on client’s behalf.
EAP counselors come from a range of academic and professional backgrounds, allowing for maximum client choice and the greatest degree of flexibility within the counselor network, and includes social workers, clinical psychologists, registered marriage and family counselors, certified addictions counselors, pastoral counselors and consulting medical doctors and psychiatrists. They are trained to assess for risk issues and help employees resolve their issues within a relatively short period.
Ideally counselors will possess a graduate degree (or greater) in mental health and have a minimum of five years of post-graduate clinical experience. Candidates’ superior knowledge of short-term counseling is enhanced by previous experience in EAP counseling, addiction assessment and/or trauma services. Strong clinical assessments of depression and anxiety are an asset as are sensitivity to and an understanding of work-place issues, strong goal-setting and case management abilities, and comprehensive knowledge of community resources.