Rehabilitation psychologists assess and treat people diagnosed with the following problems:
- Chronic health problems
- Cognitive development problems
- Emotional problems
- Developmental disabilities
- Psychosocial problems
Rehabilitation psychologists also focus on the link between mental health and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, culture, and language. Additionally, they counsel patients with addiction, sensory, cognitive development, and other psychological disorders.
Rehabilitation psychologists supervise public education and rehabilitation programs and preside over group therapy sessions filled with people learning to live with chronic pain or disabilities.
Rehabilitation psychologists work at:
- Assisted-living clinics
- Non-profit organization that help people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.
- Acute-care hospitals
- Long-term care facilities
- Medical clinics
- Physical-therapy centers
- Drug rehabilitation centers
- Government agencies
- Colleges and universities
- Veterans’ hospitals
Education and Training
Rehabilitation psychologists usually hold PhDs. Most students complete PhD programs in 5-7 years. During this time they’re required to write and defend a dissertation. Aspiring clinical specialists must complete an internship. Following graduation from a doctorate program, rehabilitation psychologists must complete additional training before qualifying for state licensure.
Prior Work Experience
The best way to obtain rehabilitation psychology work experience is to complete a clinical internship as a graduate student. Many students also volunteer at mental health centers, hospitals, and community centers. Participating in research is another way to obtain practical knowledge and experience.
Rehabilitation psychologists enjoy excellent job opportunities. Job growth in this industry is expected to rise by 15 percent through the foreseeable future. Job growth is being spurred by medical technology advances and increased life expectancy rates.