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6.5 Psychosocial activities for DVA clients and families

Last amended 
2 November 2016

As former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), DVA clients often have different needs from the ‘typical’ rehabilitation client. Their employment not only gave them an income and meaningful work, it also provided housing, healthcare, recreational facilities, social networks, training, and a structured career path. In addition, the ADF often require members to relocate every few years, so their community and family support networks outside the ADF may not be well-established. This means that DVA clients, especially those who have recently discharged from the military, are likely to have significant psychosocial needs following these losses.

Research by the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, now known as Phoenix Australia, shows that a cohesive family environment provides one of the most essential protective factors for veteran wellbeing. However, the impact of military life means the families of DVA clients also have complex needs. As well as possible financial, housing and healthcare needs and a lack of support networks, alcohol use disorder and related domestic violence are higher than average within veteran families, so the client’s rehabilitation plan needs to address the family’s needs as well as the client’s needs.

Types of psychosocial activities

Some of the psychosocial interventions which may benefit DVA clients are:

This table provides examples of psychosocial activities
Life Management skills

Accommodation and housing assistance

Financial counselling and skill-building

Learning to set goals and plan ahead

Developing structure and routines

Self-management of health conditions

Illness management and recovery programs, including coping with symptoms, medication adherence and relapse prevention - these may inlcude residential programs

Anger management

Cognitive training

Brief intervention counselling such as adjustment to disability or injury or pain management

Resilience training and mindfulness

Time-limited sporting and exercise programs (see section 5.4.1 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library for the specific policy on gymnasium-pool memberships)

Grief and losss counselling

Drug and alcohol management

Support group participation

Family functioning - for the client and/or family members

Personal and relationship counselling

Parenting skills and support


Time-limited child care in very limited circumstances where a lack of child care is creating barriers to the person accessing treatment or attending illness self-management programs

Social connectedness

Social skills training

Leisure/lifestyle and sporting activities, programs and courses

Social networking

Peer-to-peer support programs

Meaningful engagement

Education courses

Connection to community groups (including church/spiritual), clubs and associations

Volunteer work