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psychosocial rehabilitation

6.9 Psychosocial rehabilitation and further education


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:

6.8 Role of ex-service organisations in psychosocial rehabilitation

DVA clients are more likely to benefit from peer-to-peer help and support than civilian rehabilitation clients. The close-knit military culture means there can be a lack of trust of ‘outsiders’, whereas rapport is often established quickly with other former ADF members.

There are dozens of ex-service organisations that can provide a sense of purpose and social connection for DVA clients, and many run health and social programs at little or no cost.

The following websites list various ex-service organisations:

6.7 Equipment for psychosocial activities

If a recommended psychosocial activity requires special equipment—such as course materials, sporting equipment or musical instruments—hiring or leasing the equipment should be considered in the first instance. This is to both reduce costs in case the client decides not to continue the activity and to reinforce that the aim of rehabilitation is self-reliance, rather than ongoing dependence on external support.

6.5.1 Brief intervention counselling to assist with adjustment to disability or injury and/or pain management

A disability or injury can result in a range of challenges and changes in a person’s life. These changes may include barriers to a person being able to reach their rehabilitation goals. Therefore, early intervention through counselling to assist the individual to adjust to the disability or injury or to ongoing pain can provide skills and strategies to equip a person to more effectively manage issues as they arise.

6.2 Overview of psychosocial rehabilitation


‘Psychosocial rehabilitation’ is a broad term used to describe a set of rehabilitation interventions which may improve a client’s quality of life and in so doing, support achievement of their overall rehabilitation goals. In DVA, psychosocial rehabilitation is delivered as one element within the continuum of support—which may include treatment, vocational rehabilitation and medical management—to help meet a client’s health and wellbeing needs.

6.5 Psychosocial activities for DVA clients and families

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.

6.4 Relationship between psychosocial and vocational rehabilitation

Psychosocial rehabilitation activities need to be flexible, customisable and responsive because recovery is too complex to be predictable from one client to the next.

A focus on return to work activities too soon in the rehabilitation process can be counterproductive, and can often extend the length of a rehabilitation program. Each person’s circumstances must be taken into account, when considering the rehabilitation activities to be undertaken.