Effective January 1st, 2023 the BC Government added Registered Clinical Counsellors to BC teachers benefits plans. This means that teachers now have increased access to counsellors of their choice when seeking counselling services. This has been added to the existing psychological coverage with the combined coverage now set at 1200.00.
Being free to choose the counsellor that is a best fit for you is great news! Often, EAP (Employee Assistance )programs will refer people to the next available counsellor rather than a counsellor that has the expertise required for a certain client. EAP programs are a great benefit, and they employ some excellent counsellors, but they do have their limitations. They are based on business models and business models aren’t based on the best interest of clients, they are based on profit. EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance) and EAP programs pay substantially lower wages to counselling professionals, usually one third to one half of the standard rate set by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. This means that the more expertise and specialization a counsellor acquires, the less likely they are to work for an EAP or EFAP program.
I worked for several EAP programs when I started out in private practice. It helped me gain experience, and provided a more guaranteed stream of income as I worked on building my practice and areas of expertise. As I became more specialized, I let go of my EAP contracts.
Over the last few years, I worked with numerous clients who accessed me after feeling frustrated in dealing with an EAP, either because they didn’t feel the therapist had the knowledge base for their issue, or because they were assigned different counsellors each time they had a session. There are apparently some EAP’s that now work this way, where the client has a different counsellor each time -I’m not sure why any EAP would set up this way as this goes against all the science that has established that a solid, trusting relationship is a key element in therapy success. It’s so important to have a good relationship with your counsellor, and to have choices. There have been times where I haven’t been a good fit for a particular client, and that’s okay. It is in the best interest of the client to move forward with someone else.
It’s great to see that teachers now have more choices!