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Employees opting for Video Counselling, says new study by Morneau Shepell

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Employee Assistance Programs / Canada

Employees opting for Video Counselling, says new study by Morneau Shepell

Unique client study shows video counselling has high levels of satisfaction

TORONTO, May 1, 2013 /CNW/ - A Morneau Shepell study shows that video counselling for employees who seek assistance can be just as effective as in-person counselling. Under its Shepell∙fgi brand, the company conducted a study of 136 client cases (68 video counselling cases and 68 in-person counselling cases) that were closed in 2012. Casework reviewed in the study involved only Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) counsellors who provided both video and in-person counselling.

The study found that:

  • Clients who used video counselling reported high levels of satisfaction, similar to what was reported by those who used in-person counselling;
  • Of all video counselling clients, 17 per cent were age 50 and over, compared to 6 per cent of all in-person counselling clients who were 50 and over;
  • Video counselling was an attractive option for couples' sessions, with 22 per cent of video counselling cases involving couples, compared to only 12 per cent for in-person counselling.


"No study like this has ever been undertaken before," said Barb Veder, Vice President, Clinical Services and Research Lead, Shepell∙fgi. "It confirms that more employees today are seeking support through technology. While some may fear that technology would make the counselling experience impersonal, it is actually through technology that we are able to create the kind of intimate counsellor-client connection that was previously only possible through direct, in-person settings."

Veder said such technology brings social work into the modern age and makes it accessible to more people who otherwise may not seek help. She said the advantages cited by clients included time factors, reduced travel and convenience. To participate in video counselling, clients require only modest technical ability as the employee and counsellor communicate using a webcam, landline, and encrypted custom internet software in which both parties see and hear each other. Counsellors and clients can share and create documents in real-time via their personal computers.

"Additionally, all modes of counselling see a certain amount of no-show and late cancellations," Veder said. "In our sample, however, there was a lower incidence of no shows and late cancellations with clients using video counselling. People today lead complicated lives, perpetual juggling acts where we have to balance multiple commitments, work demands, and home life. And the logistics of working around all of that can be very challenging. With video counselling, clients can meet with their counsellor from the comfort of their own home on their own computer. An added bonus is that multiple participants can join from separate locations, so partners or family members who are separated geographically can still meet with a counsellor together."

Under the Shepell∙fgi brand, Morneau Shepell has been expanding its online clinical and user-directed EFAP services, ultimately offering employees and family members more choice through a range of traditional and digital EFAP service delivery. Video counselling was launched as a pilot project in 2011. That same year, First Chat launched as Canada's first live EFAP counselling service, connecting employees and their family members with professional counsellors for private and immediate clinical support via online chat technology. In 2012 the company made First Chat available through their My EAP mobile device application, giving employees access to professional counselling directly via their mobile devices.

Canadian and expatriate EFAP clients of Morneau Shepell can access in-person and video counselling by calling the Care Access Centre at 1.800.387.4765.

About Morneau Shepell Inc.
Morneau Shepell is the largest company in Canada offering human resources consulting and outsourcing services. The Company is the leading provider of Employee and Family Assistance Programs, as well as the largest administrator of pension and benefits plans. Through health and productivity, administrative, and retirement solutions, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive position. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves more than 8,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With approximately 3,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States, and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit

SOURCE: Morneau Shepell Ltd.

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Cathren Ronberg