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When to Use Your EAP vs. Seeing a Therapist in Private Practice

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are employer-sponsored programs that offer confidential counseling and other resources to employees who are struggling with personal or work-related issues. EAPs are a great option for many people, but there are some cases where it may be better to see a therapist in private practice (like the therapists at Bloom & Thrive!).


When to Use Your EAP

eap therapy for stress
  • You are having work-related problems, such as stress, burnout, or conflict with a coworker or supervisor.

  • You are experiencing personal problems in the short-term, such as time or stress management, navigating workplace relationships, or work/life balance.

  • You are concerned about a family member or friend who is struggling.

EAPs offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Confidentiality: EAP counselors are bound by the same confidentiality laws as other mental health professionals. This means that anything you discuss in counseling will not be shared with your employer without your consent.

  • Cost: EAP services are typically free to employees.

  • Convenience: EAP counselors are often available online, which can make it easy to get the help you need.

When to See a Therapist in Private Practice

therapy for remote workers
  • You need more intensive or long-term counseling.

  • You have a specific mental health diagnosis that requires specialized treatment.

  • You want to work with a therapist who specializes in a particular type of therapy, such as trauma-informed or dialectical behavior therapy.

  • You are not comfortable seeing an EAP counselor.

Private therapists offer a number of benefits, including:

  • More flexibility: Private therapists typically have more flexible hours and can meet with you at your convenience.

  • More choice: There are many different private therapists to choose from, so you can find one who is a good fit for you.

  • More specialized treatment: Private therapists may have more specialized training and experience in treating specific mental health conditions.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to use your EAP or see a therapist in private practice is a personal one. Consider your individual needs and preferences when making your decision.


Here are some additional things to keep in mind when deciding between an EAP and a private therapist:

  • Cost: EAP services are typically free to employees, while private therapy can be expensive. However, some insurance plans do offer reimbursement for out-of-network private therapy.

  • Convenience: Both EAP counselors and private therapists can be accessed online from wherever you are, though EAP counselors may have more restricted availability.

  • Confidentiality: EAP counselors are bound by the same confidentiality laws as other mental health professionals. However, for all counselors and therapists there are some exceptions to this rule, such as if you are a danger to yourself or others.

  • Time commitment: EAP services are typically limited to just a few sessions, while private therapy can be as long as you need it to be.

If you are not sure which option is right for you, you can talk to your EAP counselor or a private therapist for more information.

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