Rehabilitation psychology is the study and application of psychological principles on behalf of persons who have disability due to injury or illness. Rehabilitation psychologists, often within teams, assess and treat cognitive, emotional, and functional difficulties, and help people to overcome barriers to participation in life activities. Rehabilitation psychologists are involved in practice, research, and advocacy, with the broad goal of fostering independence and opportunity for people with disabilities.
The specialty of rehabilitation psychology addresses behavioral and mental health issues faced by individuals across the lifespan who are affected by any injury or chronic condition that leads to disability, including issues such as:
Rehabilitation psychologists focus on helping individuals with chronic health issues, such as AIDS, and disabilities, such as mental retardation, to achieve their highest possible potential and level of independence. This includes providing programs and services that promote academic, social, emotional, and physical development.
To be a rehabilitation psychologist, you should be optimistic about people’s ability to change. They should have the ability to maintain a positive, caring attitude toward clients despite the possibility of change happening slowly or even having your clients relapse at times. They should be empathic, truly concerned with the well-being of your clients.