The emotional health of employees can play a critical role in maintaining consistent high performance and meeting goals. In recognition of this, more and more companies offer the services of an employee assistance program (EAP) counselor. Employers typically work either with a dedicated EAP provider under contract, or even have an in-house team at times, and EAP counselors help employees and their families deal with a variety of outside-of-work issues and stressful situations in order to help them improve their focus on work-related tasks.
Because for some workers a stigma is still attached to the idea of seeking counseling for emotional or mental distress, many companies prefer to conduct their EAP programs off-site. EAP counselors sit down with employees to discuss a variety of issues; these can include family difficulties such as marital problems, issues related to substance abuse or alcoholism, or simply stress related to the job or particular performance reviews. In these situations, EAP counselors can offer psychiatric counseling where appropriate. If they find that an employee's situation is more serious, they may refer him/her to a licensed psychiatrist or treatment program as necessary.
EAP counselors also help workers deal with sudden crises, such as a death in the family or serious illness, by helping them cope through one-on-one sessions. In these sessions, counselors are not only helping the employee, but also assessing their needs for further care or medical therapy to improve the situation.
EAP counseling can be a difficult but rewarding career field. Most who work in this area have a degree a counseling-related field, and most private providers of EAP services to corporate contractors also require these counselors to be certified in drug/alcohol abuse counseling. Most in this position see workers and clients during traditional weekly business hours.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselor Tasks
Coordinate referrals for outpatient care, and update clinical notes in the care management database.
Respond to crisis telephone calls.
Assist member in determining eligibility and benefit coverage.
Provide telephone assistance to employees who are dealing with a variety of issues.