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6.9 Psychosocial rehabilitation and further education

Last amended 
19 September 2018


Acquiring new skills or knowledge can be used as a mechanism to assist clients to achieve their psychosocial rehabilitation goals. This can be achieved through a range of education approaches. Often, the link between education and achieving a psychosocial goal is indirect, and as such, identifying an appropriate education activity can be challenging.

The following are examples of when education may be an appropriate activity to include within a client’s psychosocial rehabilitation:

  • Where the goal revolves around finding an activity to meaningfully occupy the client while they are recovering from a physical injury and/or mental health issues. In this instance, a reasonable and cost effective activity may be to undertake a time limited short course such as art, photography, music or woodwork. Alternatively, it may include a short education or training course in a content area that interests the client, and/or serves to help the client better engage with their community.
  • Where undertaking and completing further education is used as a ‘first step’ achievement in long term recovery. For example, a client who has capacity to participate in further education, but has struggled with re-establishing their identity or self-worth, may benefit from participation in and achievement of a further education qualification. The long term goal may, or may not, include return to work.

Further education / training and non-return to work rehabilitation

Where a person is participating in a non-return to work rehabilitation program, there is scope to consider education and training as a psychosocial activity, where:

  • the education/training course is being undertaken for the purposes of achieving a psychosocial goal;
  • this goal is consistent with intent of DVA’s psychosocial rehabilitation approach, as outlined in section 6.2 of this library; and
  • where the course meets reasonableness criteria outlined in section 6.6 of this library.

Section 9.8 of this library contains further information about the types of education and training that can be considered through rehabilitation. While Section 9.8 discusses education and training in a vocational context, the general information about training and education options still apply.

Key points for rehabilitation coordinators to consider

  • Formal study approved for funding under a psychosocial rehabilitation program will generally be limited to at most Level 5 on the Australian Qualifications Framework - that is, a Diploma level course. Where you believe there is a case for study to be considered beyond this level, contact for policy advice.
  • It is not intended that university level qualifications are funded through rehabilitation to achieve psychosocial goals. This is with acknowledgment that psychosocial interventions are intended to be short term in nature, and that reasonable and cost effective alternatives to university study are likely to exist to achieve a psychosocial goal. See section 9.8 of this library for information about alternative education and training options.
  • In all circumstances, making a decision about the reasonableness of further education courses to meet the psychosocial goals of individual clients, means careful consideration of all of the 10 criteria listed in section 6.6.

Study and non-accepted conditions

DVA will not fund further education or re-training required due to non-accepted conditions (that is, conditions which DVA does not recognise as being related to the client's ADF service). However, a short course, such as a short TAFE course, adult education or health self-management course could be considered as a psychosocial activity under a whole-of-person rehabilitation plan to help the person to manage the impact of non-accepted conditions and to facilitate their achievement of their rehabilitation goals for their accepted conditions. For more information about psychosocial activities to address non-accepted conditions please refer to section 6.3 of this library.