• Perceptions of Canadian Affiliate EAP Counsellors: An Exploratory Study

      Csiernik, Rick; Darnell, Kristi (Taylor and Francis, 2010)
      An exploratory study of Canadian EAP affiliates from Saskatchewan and Ontario was undertaken employing one focus group of four persons, and the completion of 12 open ended questionnaires. Participants on average had 23 years of clinical experience with a mean of 14.6 years of EAP specific practice. Participants became external EAP counsellors through two primary means, being invited, typically via an unsolicited telephone call or letter, or by actively seeking out to become an affiliate to supplement their existing private practices. Study participants in general enjoyed their work with this population, particularly the diversity of issues with which clients presented, and felt that providing counselling to this group was critical. However, they also highlighted several substantive issues they faced in fulfilling their responsibilities as EAP affiliates. The primary clinical and ethical concern was the inability to provide sufficient counselling hours to clients in need due to continuous pressure to spend less time with clients from their employers, along with a constant need to ask permission from less seasoned clinical directors for extra counselling sessions. There were inconsistencies between what participants’ perceived organizations were told their employees would receive regarding clinical services and what affiliates believed they were permitted to provide. EAP vendors did not acknowledge experience in terms of hourly compensation and during the economic downturn several participating affiliates had been asked to reduce their hourly rate. Several of those in the study who had not accepted were no longer receiving referrals. In general there was no training or support provided affiliates other than how to complete administrative forms and little if any input was sought from the affiliates regarding the organizations for which they were working.