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History and Work of The Rehabilitation Counselor

Updated on October 29, 2017
The field of rehabilitation began after WWII to help injured soldiers re-enter the workforce.
The field of rehabilitation began after WWII to help injured soldiers re-enter the workforce. | Source

Short History of Rehabilitation Counseling

The need for rehabilitation in the United States was apparent after the American Civil War which lasted from 1861 until 1865. Soldiers were returning home with injuries. Many of these warriors had the desire to work. But there was little work available for wounded warriors. This became clear again after other conflicts until the end of World War II in 1945. At the conclusion of the global conflict, veterans began to demand action from the federal government.

Wounded military veterans and other groups marched and protested across the country. They carried flags like the one in the photo. America’s former fighters asked: “Why aren’t we seen as valuable citizens? We fought the war for our country, and now we are forgotten.”

The Congress of the U.S. heard the cry of the veterans and other groups, passing legislation to aid them in finding employment and addressing discrimination. These laws include: The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Civil Rights legislation of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The rehabilitation counselor emerged as the expert in matching workers who have disabilities with appropriate jobs. The rehabilitation counselor has the powerful incentive to make sure these Americans are seen as valued by society. Ironically, out of one of the most brutal human endeavors, a humane profession was born.

Who is the Rehabilitation Counselor?

The rehabilitation counselor assists individuals with disabilities in finding and maintaining employment. In addition, the mental health professional helps people with physical, psychological, emotional and other disabilities in achieving goals in life. Through a planned program of services, the rehabilitation counselor and his/her client work together to reduce or eliminate issues which could impact independent living or interfere with employment. The rehabilitation counselor works with a variety of other skilled professionals to accomplish a positive outcome. Once the planned program is finished, the rehabilitation counselor closes the case.

Furthermore, the rehabilitation counselor understands accommodations and modifications, as well as specialized technologies for people with disabilities. She/he uses the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to perform the duties of his/her profession. These professionals can be found in federal, state, and local agencies. They also may work for insurance companies. The rehabilitation counselor holds a master degree in his/her field. I worked as a rehabilitation counselor for years, and the opportunity to help others is the most valuable feeling a human being could have. Below are the different types of rehabilitation counselors:

  1. General Rehabilitation Counselor – This professional does all of the duties described above. All rehabilitation counselors carry caseloads. Some rehabilitation counselors may have the below specialty areas in helping clients.
  2. Substance Abuse Counselor – This rehabilitation counselor specializes in working with people who have chemical dependency issues. These professionals understand the process of addiction. They are specialist in recognizing the dynamics of substance abuse, employment, and functioning successfully in society. They may work with law enforcement to assist the client as the rehabilitation program moves forward.
  3. Vocational Evaluator – This rehabilitation counselor specializes in performing tests to determine what work a client may be able to do. They may conduct career assessments. These professionals think in original ways to accommodate the needs of the client in testing and finding employment.

Which do you think is the most important role of the rehabilitation counselor?

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    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 8 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      Recently, the Attorney General of the U.S., Jeff Sessions, rescended at least 40 guidline documents pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). "Guideline documents" help private businesses, educational institutions, and other entities stay in compliance with ADA by explaining aspects of the law and court rulings pertaining to its implementation. Canceling these documents does not eliminate the law, however.

      This will create more confusion regarding civil rights of people with disabilities. It will unfortunately cause difficulties for people who work with such individuals. Yet, rehabilitation counselors and those who work with such individuals will remain champions of the cause of improving the lives of those with disabilities by locating them gainful employment and helping them feel wanted in their societies.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 7 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thanks. You are a hero, too. Keep the great Hubs coming our way.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 8 months ago from Texas

      Tim, you are a hero for our heroes. I know your profession must be very rewarding.

      Blessings my friend