The rehabilitation counselor performs a range of duties, much of them dependent on the client group, age and type of disability. An assessment of abilities and needs is done, taking into account interests, education level, and general health, and strategies are developed for overcoming limitations and maximizing strengths. The counselor's goal is to help clients learn to adjust to their disability, both physically and emotionally.
In consultation with other professionals, family members, and the individual, the counselor develops a treatment plan based on client goals, strengths, limitations and personal values. Making connections with community supports is a key part of the job, educating the individual in what types of services are available, and how to access and utilize these. Community services can relate to medical, vocational, learning, recreational, and leisure needs. The counselor finds programs and employers that will provide job support services, educates employers in understanding the needs and abilities of disabled people, and helps arrange employment opportunities.
Developing support networks is essential for an individual who wishes to remain living independently despite disabilities and limitations. The rehabilitation counselor helps develop these networks, whether they include family, friends, or others in the community. Mental health counseling is also involved, either independently or as part of a mental health team.
Practitioners may work independently or as part of a professional team that includes doctors, psychologists, therapists, educators, and family members. Job tasks also include:
assisting with personal care
providing support, guidance and training to both the individuals and their families
offering guidance to support networks
Creating and maintaining accurate records is very important in the development of long-term plans. The rehabilitation counselor helps individuals to create not only residential goals, but those relating to behaviour, social activities, and employment.