About The Field

Rehabilitation Psychology provides psychologists opportunities to have a significant impact on people’s health care.

Rehabilitation psychology practice is a specialty within the domain of professional health-service psychology that applies psychological knowledge and skills on behalf of individuals with physical and cognitive impairments and chronic health conditions; the purpose is to maximize their health and welfare, independence and choice, functional abilities, and social role participation and to minimize secondary health complications. (p.573)

Rehabilitation psychologists provide services to individuals with traumatic, chronic, or congenital injuries or illnesses, as well to their families, and to rehabilitation teams and programs. Rehabilitation psychologists help individuals with a wide variety of physical, sensory, cognitive, emotional, or developmental impairments improve, cope with, compensate for, and adjust to these conditions, so that they may maximize affective, cognitive, and behavioral functioning, as well as social, educational, vocational, and recreational participation. Such impairments and chronic health conditions may include spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, amputations, burns, work-related injuries, chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders, developmental disorders, and other conditions. Disability is a function of a person-task-environment interaction, so consideration is given to the network of biological, psychological, social, cultural, physical, and political environments in which the individual exists, and to the means of addressing barriers in each of these areas. (p.574)
— Stiers, et al. (2011)

Rehabilitation Psychology provides diverse opportunities for early career psychologists specializing in Rehabilitation Psychology or for those entering Rehabilitation Psychology along their career path.

Rehabilitation psychologists work in hospitals and clinics, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers, assisted living and long-term care facilities, and community agencies. Rehabilitation psychologists may also teach and conduct research at universities or colleges, consult to business and industry, and perform administrative or legal evaluations. They may work for private or government programs. The broad field of rehabilitation psychology also includes development and management of rehabilitation programs, policy development and public education related to injury prevention and health promotion, and advocacy for persons with disabilities and chronic health conditions. (pp.574-575)
— Stiers, et al. (2011)

Also, at its August, 2015 meeting the APA Council of Representatives approved the recognition of Rehabilitation Psychology as a Specialty in professional psychology.

Additional information regarding Rehabilitation Psychology can be found under the About Tab.

Stiers, W., Perry, K. N., Kennedy, P., & Scherer, M. J. (2011). Rehabilitation Psychology. In P. R. Martin, F. M. Cheung, M. C. Knowles, M. Kyrios, L. Littlefield, J. B. Overmier, & J. M. Prieto (Eds.), IAAP Handbook of Applied Psychology (pp. 537-587). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.