Mental Health Counselling — Employee and Family Assistance Program

Counselling services

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) offers a wide range of confidential, professional counselling and family mediation services. All employees of the university have access to EFAP services regardless of benefit status.

Your EFAP offers face-to-face counselling, telephonic counselling, virtual counselling, and online courses and resources. Clinicians with the university's EFAP provider, Homewood Health, are registered psychologists or master’s level registered counsellors. See Clinician Profiles.

The university's EFAP is designed to:

  • Provide timely confidential counselling services
  • Prevent problems from becoming overwhelming
  • Provide immediate counselling in times of crisis
  • Support you through life stage transitions (e.g. marriage, becoming a new parent, career change, blended family challenges, bereavement, retirement)
  • Provide support and assistance for achieving your health goals
  • Provide assistance in dealing with depression, anxiety, fear or existing personal health issues

Reach out for confidential support with concerns such as:

  • anxiety, stress, depression, addiction, mental health, self-esteem, post-traumatic stress, trauma
  • conflict, home difficulties, personal issues, decision-making, work/life balance concerns, grief and loss
  • workplace challenges, communication

How do I access counselling services?

You and your eligible dependents can access services in several ways and choose a method that best meets your needs and comfort level. 

Contact the EFAP by phone

Contact EFAP directly by calling 780-428-7587 or 1-800-663-1142. Contact EFAP by phone for urgent or crisis situations. 

Use the contact form

Contact EFAP using the online intake form. It may require a few clarification emails between yourself and Homewood Health. You should watch that these emails do not end up your in your junk folder. 

Use the Homeweb website chat

Sign up for (Homewood Health e-portal) and use the website's Chat feature to request couselling services.

Culture-sensitive counselling and Indigenous services

Where possible, clients will be matched with clinicians who have an appreciation of cultural sensitivities. We also have a network of approved Elders, Spiritual Healers, and Indigenous services to support those for whom these services are desired. Clients may wish to select and request Elders from a community they are comfortable with.

Grief and loss

Grieving can be an overwhelming and complex process. Every individual reacts differently and experiences grief and loss in unique ways. Our EFAP’s Grief and Loss Coaching Program helps you understand the grieving process by providing you with coaching support and resources to help you manage through the range of emotions and difficulties one experiences when faced with a significant loss. This program is helpful to those who have lost a loved one or are experiencing other forms of loss in their life, including job loss, counselling divorce, or ending of a relationship.

Read more about grieving a loss.


i-Volve is an online, self-paced treatment program for depression and anxiety using the best practice treatment approach, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This innovative treatment program will guide you through exercises that examine and test how you interpret and perceive external stimulation. These insights will help you change and adapt the ways in which you think, feel, and react in various situations. i-Volve will help you to identify, challenge and overcome your anxious and/or depressive thoughts, behaviours and emotions.

Crisis Management

In the event of a trauma, trained professionals are available to provide support and follow up to ensure everything possible is being done given the circumstances.

Online courses

Visit a complete list of online learning courses at Homeweb. Register for Homeweb when accessing for the first time.

U of A Counselling Model

The University of Alberta, in collaboration with Homewood Health, has developed a counseling model designed to meet client-expressed needs in a responsive and respectful manner, using solution oriented therapies. Within this client focused, strength based-counselling approach, the client is treated as a unique individual with a set of personal resources and competencies which, once mobilized, will help him or her to cope with the problematic situation. Through goal setting, skill and strategy development and identification of resources, individuals and families are assisted in making and maintaining meaningful change.

Our commitment to evidence-based clinical care is grounded in our model of solution oriented, client driven therapies. Our model helps people change by focusing on solutions rather than on the origin of problems and promotes the activation of the individual's strengths. Unlike many other “talking treatments” focused on the causes of the client's distress or symptoms, solution oriented therapies focus on the “here and now,” and look for ways to improve the client's state of mind in the present. Our approach identifies thoughts and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic, and gradually moves individuals toward new ways of behaving, reframing and reacting.

What if I have a pre-existing relationship with a psychologist outside of the EFAP?

Due to the sensitive nature of the counseling relationship between staff member and psychologist, minimizing the disruption, whenever possible is of utmost importance. We realize that this may occur when a new staff member starts work at the University of Alberta. Faculty and staff members may make a subcontractor request to the university's EFAP provider by contacting them directly at 780-428-7587. If approved, the subcontractor request will be in effect for a set number of sessions. The request is intended to address the immediate presenting concern therefore should future visits be required for an alternate concern the arrangement will no longer be in effect. The benefit of this arrangement is that the faculty/staff member may not need to interrupt the counseling relationship in the short term however it is expected that the staff member will transition to the EFAP to address future concerns. These arrangements are nor intended for cases where someone wishes to see a clinician outside of the EFAP.

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