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The Key to EAP…Retaining Clients


Last week was all about how to adopt the best perspective when working with EAP Programs. If you haven’t had a chance to read that article, you may want to click here to read before moving forward. It’s helpful in getting you off to a good start.

So let’s see…

What happens after you have vetted those EAP Programs and you begin working with the clients they refer?

Some EAP benefits can be very short term…offering less than 5 sessions before the benefit runs out. How do you go about transitioning your new client from EAP to using private insurance or being cash pay in your practice.

It is not always as easy as it sounds. You know how it goes…it is challenging to make the jump from something being free to having to pay (even a minimal amount). Here are a few tips on retaining EAP clients beyond those first few sessions:

1. Full Disclosure. It starts with fully disclosing your rates and insurance participation from the very beginning. This will give each of you a real sense of what the financial reality of work beyond EAP will look like. The sooner they are aware of this, the more empowered clients will be in making choices for their clinical work. No surprises…no bait and switch.

2. Get to know your clients. The truth is…not all EAP clients are genuinely invested in the therapeutic process. I find that there are three levels of investment. Take a look at your client and find out where they fit on the continuum.

  • Level 1… Minimum Requirement. These clients are coming because it is a requirement of work and the minute they have met the minimum…game over!

  • Level 2…I t’s a Deal! These clients heard they have a free benefit and don’t want to miss out. They are interested in participating, but primarily because it is free and seems like something that might be beneficial. Whether or not these clients remain with your practice is really up in the air…especially if they have never been in counseling before. Once they participating, they may see the value and be willing to invest in the out of pocket costs associated with continuing.

  • Level 3…The Strategist. I find these clients to be the most committed. They already appreciate the value of counseling and are using their company benefit as a means to offset the cost of getting started. They already know they want to participate in counseling and are only using EAP services to take advantage of this discount.

So where does your new client fall? Knowing this gives you a real advantage in managing your expectations for how things will go.

3. Goodness of Fit. One thing you will find through your work in private practice is that not every client will be a good fit for you. I am a strong believer in becoming very clear about the clients you are ideally suited to work with. Once you have completed the EAP sessions, you may find that you are not the best person to work with this client. This is where having a strong referral network in place can be so helpful. If you are note the best to work with them…see to it that they are connected with someone that is.

4. Don’t be attached to your client’s choice. Although EAP can be a great source of referrals, there is this perceived financial hurdle that has to be overcome when we go from something being completely free to have a fee attached. If they move on great…if they work with you great. Be your best and don’t let whether or not they stay define if you are doing a good job.

Have you had success in transitioning your EAP clients? Feel free to share what has worked well for you.

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