Psychologists have a variety of opportunities within most EAP models, including assessment, treatment, program development, administration and evaluation, and becoming a referral source.
Assessment. Psychologists can function in a triage role, briefly assessing severity and appropriate level of care when a problem arises, making treatment recommendations and referring for more extensive treatment, as appropriate. Psychologists’ expertise in assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning make them particularly well-suited to serving in this assessment role.
Treatment. Working within a brief therapy model, psychologists can apply many of their therapeutic skills, including identifying treatment needs, building rapport and helping clients achieve and maintain positive behavior changes, to the counseling services offered through an EAP. Many EAPs cover brief counseling to address the following issues:
Conflict resolution (e.g., personal, family or work situations)
Substance abuse prevention and treatment
Grief and loss
Program development. Psychologists interested in program development and organizational consultation can work more directly with EAPs to create prevention programs tailored to the specific organization or in designing a knowledge management strategy for the distribution of wellness information throughout the organization.
Administration and evaluation. Psychologists with experience and interest working in human resources, health care administration and program evaluation could use those skills in helping organizations or EAPs with management and administrative decisions and evaluation of new services.
Potential for referrals. When an employee’s problem cannot be resolved within the identified time frame of EAP services, referrals are made to outside mental health professionals. Connecting with EAPs can be an excellent way to expand your network of referral sources. If you are interested in the possibility of gaining referrals by working with an EAP, it is important to know what health plans are affiliated with the companies that the EAP serves. Your prospects for referrals may depend in part on whether you have provider contracts with these health plans.