Medical Family Therapy in Employee Assistance Programs

  • Calvin Paries
  • Angela Lamson
  • Jennifer Hodgson
  • Amelia Muse
  • Glenda Mutinda
Part of the Focused Issues in Family Therapy book series (FIFT)


Companies and industries influence a considerable number of policy changes in the United States, especially when it comes to healthcare. Their influence is grounded in the large number of employees hired and concomitant budget lines that are directed toward employees’ healthcare coverage. Businesses often pay partial or full health insurance on behalf of both the employee and his/her family. Healthcare costs for individuals, families, and employers continue to rise on a yearly basis; these have a “pocketbook impact” on both ordinary families and U.S. businesses alike (National Conference of State Legislators [NCSL], 2017).


Glossary of Important Terms in Employee Assistance Programs

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in securing jobs, schools, transportation, and access to public and private places that are otherwise open to the general public.

Assessment and referral

Assessment and referral are core functions of an EAP. These are not treatment or long-term counseling programs; they are proactive and accessible services for employees and their family to get basic counseling solution or referrals for long-term care. Assessment and referral EAPs also act as navigators through the complex world of behavioral health. Sessions are limited to conducting assessments and determining if the patient can benefit from short-term counseling and if not referring and navigating that member through their health system.

Brief/short-term treatment

Services provided by the EAP to the employee for 1–6 sessions (some have more sessions). The basis for the number of sessions is determined by the philosophy of the organization and/or in accord with financial considerations.


Consultants who help businesses source the best possible benefits for their employees. Examples of their services include (a) helping business leaders determine what type of health coverage to purchase (e.g., where high-deductible plans would be appropriate for the business and its employees), (b) supporting businesses in establishing a culture of physical, mental, and emotional wellness, (c) advising on ways to increase employee productivity by helping to resolve employee issues that are obvious and relatively undetectable, and (d) offering strategies that may enhance managers’ effectiveness in stimulating workplace performance.

Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP)

A specially trained and credentialed employee assistance professional who is usually licensed in a mental health or substance abuse counseling field. He or she operates in an occupational setting, and their “clients” may be both management and employees in general.

Employee assistance professional

A person who assists the organization, its employees, and their family members with personal and behavioral problems. Foci of attention include (but are not limited to) health, marital, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, or other personal concerns that adversely affect employees’ job performance and productivity. The specific activities of this professional may include any of the services described under the definition of EAP. If/When they provide clinical services, these professionals must be licensed or certified in the state that said services are rendered.

Employee assistance program (EAP)

A worksite-based program designed to assist in the identification and resolution of work-related and nonwork-related productivity problems associated with employees who are impaired by personal concerns, including (but not limited to) health, marital, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, or other personal concerns which may adversely affect employee job performance. The specific core activities of EAPs include (a) services for individuals (such as identification and resolution of job performance issues related to an employee’s personal concerns and assessment, referral, and follow-up), (b) services for managers and supervisors (such as assistance in referring employees to the EAP, supervisor training, and management consulting, (c) services for organizations (such as violence prevention/crisis management, group intervention, and employee orientation), and (d) administrative services such as the development of EAP policies and procedures, outreach, evaluation, and referral resources development.

EAP model

The method of delivering EAP services. Typically delivered through one of three basic staffing models; these include (a) internal model, where the EAP staff is comprised of the organization’s employees and there are no contractors involved; (b) external model, where the sponsoring company or organization has entered into a contract for an outside vendor to provide all EAP-related services; and (c) blended model, where both host organizations and contract personnel are involved in the delivery of EAP services.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

A labor law requiring qualifying employers to provide employees unpaid leave for serious health conditions, to care for a sick family member, or to care for a newborn or adopted child.

Management consultation

Expert advice given to leaders, supervisors, human resources, and/or union representatives regarding the management of potential or actual performance and conduct concerns. One example is coaching a supervisor on how to refer an employee to the EAP.

On-site incident response

An event, usually sudden, unexpected, and potentially life threatening, in which a person experiences a trauma (e.g., feels overwhelmed by a sense of personal vulnerability and/or lack of control). Examples of a need for an on-site incident include a natural disaster, serious workplace accident, hostage situation, or violence in the workplace.

Organizational development

A professional process or activity designed to assist an organization, company, or office (department) to move from one level of performance or mode of operation to another in the shortest time possible.

Organizational needs assessment

A systemic analysis of an organization done by collecting data through informational interviews, surveys, data, and claims analysis as to the company’s needs in being more productive, safe, functional, and effective.

Risk management

A systematic process for evaluating and reducing potential harm that may befall personnel, consumers of service, an organization, or a facility.

Workers’ compensation service workers

Workers who are either contracted by an entity embedded in occupational heal th/workers’ compensation service or provided by the company itself when employees get injured in the workplace or while doing their job. It provides wage replacement and extends or contracts out care to employees in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of employee’s rights to sue their employers for negligence.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Calvin Paries
    • 1
  • Angela Lamson
    • 2
  • Jennifer Hodgson
    • 2
  • Amelia Muse
    • 3
  • Glenda Mutinda
    • 2
  1. 1.Profile EAPColorado SpringsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  3. 3.Center of Excellence for Integrated CareCaryUSA

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