Last updated: May 31, 2021
Balancing the demands and responsibilities of our jobs, families and lives can be tough—especially when dealing with unexpected challenges at home or work. The BC Public Service Agency provides short-term counselling services through its Employee and Family Assistance Services contract with LifeWorks (formerly Morneau Shepell.) Counselling can address a range of different scenarios, including:
- Relationship challenges
- Family and parenting issues
- Depression and anxiety
- Stress management
- Work-related issues such as conflict and work-life balance
- Grief and bereavement
- Addiction and trauma
Short-term counselling is a free, voluntary service available to everyone, including all auxiliary employees and all employees receiving a Short Term Illness and Injury Plan (STIIP) or long term disability benefits. Family members who normally live with an employee may also access these services.
How it works
Intake is available by phone 24/7. When you contact LifeWorks (formerly Morneau Shepell), an intake counsellor will ask a series of questions and determine which service will best meet your needs. If they determine that counselling is the correct service, they will arrange an appointment for you.
Service is available in person, by telephone and via e-counselling or video counselling. Online group counselling related to anxiety, communication, and parenting is also available (an intake counsellor will assess if this is an appropriate service fit for the caller). In-person appointments typically take place at designated locations in larger centres and in private counsellor offices in smaller communities.
Once a professional assesses your needs, they will determine the number of counselling sessions required; typical cases run an average of two to five sessions. This service should address a specific concern within a defined period. There is no predetermined cap on sessions, but if long-term support is required, counsellors will provide advice and referral services. You may re-access services throughout the year for different reasons.
If the counsellor match isn't a good fit, you're encouraged to contact LifeWorks to request a change. The intake counsellor can also recommend other Employee and Family Assistance Services that may be of further assistance.
Other counselling options
Specialized counselling programs
For those experiencing symptoms of depression or trauma, EFAS offers two specialized counselling programs for all employees. Unlike short-term counselling, family members aren't eligible for these programs.
Call 1-800-655-5004 for further information and to determine if one of these programs is a good fit for you.
Counsellors, psychologists or social workers
Additional to services offered through EFAS, employees with extended health benefits may claim up to $500 worth of services, per family, per calendar year, if delivered by a qualified social worker (for included employees only), registered clinical counsellor or registered psychologist. The practitioner must be registered in B.C. You must pay the service cost up front and submit a claim to the extended health benefits provider for reimbursement, which is subject to plan maximums and reimbursement rates.