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9 tips for using your EAP to get counseling services.

It’s a New Year, and maybe a new you, and you’ve finally decided to prioritize your mental health. Therapy, like any other health related service, can be expensive, but I’m going to teach you a little hack that not everyone knows about, utilizing EAP benefits offered by your employer, to help you on your path to mental and emotional wellness.

How to utilize your EAP benefits for mental health counseling.

  • What is an EAP? – stands for Employee Assistance Program
  • Most, but not all employers offer them
  • The benefit is USUALLY offered at no cost to you, unlike using your health insurance, where you may be responsible for a copay, partial payment, or full payment of the counseling services
  • Ask your HR person if this is a benefit your organization offers
  • The company that administers the EAP (this is not your employer) has a number you can call, and you tell them that you are interested in using your EAP benefits for counseling for xyz problem (usually work/family related stress, anxiety, etc)
  • Your EAP representative will then tell you how many sessions you are authorized for (usually anywhere between 3-6 sessions is the standard) and either contact a mental health professional that is a contracted provider on your behalf, or they will give you a list of authorized providers for you to call on your own.
  • Be patient! You may have to call several providers to find one that has openings or that you feel will be a good fit for you.
  • Most EAP benefits for counseling are good for a period of one year…in other words, you get up to so many sessions each year. And, some EAP benefits include a certain number of sessions per family member per calendar year.
  • It may also be beneficial when picking a provider to check and see if the provider is also credentialed to work with your insurance company, as many EAP administors and your actual insurance company are two different entities. That way, if you want to continue with that provider after you have used your allotted EAP sessions, you can use your regular insurance benefits.

To speak with me about EAP companies that I am credentialed with, email me and I’m happy to speak with you about it.

Valerie Owings

I am a licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, and registered play therapist. Those credentials let you know that I am licensed to practice counseling in the state of Missouri, have met the standard to be certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors, and have extensive training and certification to practice play therapy. I am also a member of the American Counseling Association and The Association for Play Therapy.

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