Psychosocial Rehabilitation: The Art of Reconstructing Lives

Living with mental illness isn't easy. Patients often completely lose touch with the lives they had before their illness, which doesn't help with recovery. Psychosocial rehabilitation is a holistic approach that helps patients reconstruct their lives and live them as fully as possible.
Psychosocial Rehabilitation: The Art of Reconstructing Lives

Last update: 27 May, 2020

Today, we’ll be talking about a therapeutic strategy that’s helping many people who suffer from psychological disorders. Psychosocial rehabilitation has made a name for itself among treatments that motivate patients to control their symptoms. Patients who try psychosocial rehabilitation are often able to notably improve their adaptability.

This kind of treatment is a holistic approach that promotes recovery and community reintegration. It also helps people improve their quality of life.

The primary goal of psychosocial rehabilitation is to develop skills and identify strengths. That helps improve the abilities of patients who are suffering from some kind of psychological alteration. Patients with chronic conditions have the chance to retake their lives and their relationships.

Until fairly recently (the 1970s) patients with serious mental illnesses were institutionalized. Today, people are working hard to destigmatize mental illness and promote independence. The idea is to debunk stereotypes, fight prejudice, and help people with mental illnesses fully integrate into their communities.

A group therapy session.


Psychosocial rehabilitation is a process designed to help patients fully recover. It focuses on empowerment and coping strategies for the challenges the patient faces.

Since every patient is unique, this treatment is based on individualized programs. They help people with psychological conditions find meaning, hope, and opportunities for personal growth.

Psychosocial rehabilitation methods

Although the methods can vary, the main interventions consist of raising awareness of the disorder, training cognitive abilities, and providing support and education to help patients adjust to work and social life.

Many patients are completely unaware of their illnesses. During psychosocial rehabilitation, they learn to recognize the symptoms of their illnesses, ask for help when they notice the symptoms, and follow some self-care guidelines.

Cognitive ability training is another crucial part of psychosocial rehabilitation. It focuses on attention and concentration techniques, as well as classification, planning, and memory. Patients also work on acquiring social skills for personal and professional settings.

The key principles of psychosocial rehabilitation

Some basic principles guide the work of mental health professionals who practice psychosocial rehabilitation.

First of all, this approach emphasizes the potential for growth and development of each person. It also focuses on teaching patients about their right to self-determination. It places more emphasis on the individual’s strengths than on their illness and highlights the fact that everyone’s needs are different.

Three paper dolls doing pyschosocial rehabilitation.

A holistic approach

This kind of therapy works on different aspects with the end goal of developing the patient’s abilities, such as social skills, self-esteem, problem-solving, resilience, and stress management.

In terms of work, psychosocial rehabilitation practitioners believe that people feel more positive about social connections when they’re feeling productive. That, in turn, boosts their self-esteem and helps improve their quality of life.

Having a place to stay and social relationships are also part of the rehabilitation program. The goal is for patients with psychological disorders to be able to live at home whenever possible, either alone or with family members. Shared housing is also a good option.

Patients who suffer from mental illnesses often see their relationships deteriorate as a result of their conditions. Training social abilities such as verbal and non-verbal communication and empathy is important to help patients feel a sense of belonging and cover their basic socialization needs.

The effectiveness of psychosocial rehabilitation

A sizeable amount of scientific evidence backs up the effectiveness of these treatments. Research shows that it benefits patients whose psychological disorders negatively affect their quality of life. Many countries around the world are using this approach.

Psychosocial rehabilitation is helping patients recover their social life, get back to work, and enjoy an independent life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Wang, L., Zhou, J., Yu, X., Qiu, J., & Wang, B. (2013). Psychosocial Rehabilitation Training in the Treatment of Schizophrenia Outpatients: A Randomized, Psychosocial Rehabilitation training-and Monomedication-Controlled Study. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 29(2), 597–600.

  • Sundaram, S. K., & Kumar, S. (2018). Tracing the development of psychosocial rehabilitation from its origin to the current with emphasis on the Indian context. Indian journal of psychiatry, 60(Suppl 2), S253–S257. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_437_17

  • Cherry, Kendra (2019) What Is Psychosocial Rehabilitation? Verywell Mind. Recuperado de

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.