Psychiatric/Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) Education: Academic and Professional

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Since the 1980s, it has been asserted in the scholarly literature that education in psychiatric/ psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) theory and techniques is a necessary component of academic preparation for practitioners providing services to people with serious mental illness (SMI) and, in fact, may be considered an academic discipline in itself. This paper is a systematic review of peer-reviewed publications on the practices, outcomes and predictors of PSR education.


A systematic search of PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Academic Search Premier, and ERIC databases was conducted using the phrases psychiatric/psychosocial rehabilitation and academic/professional education/training. These terms were then combined with the terms education, higher education, undergraduate education, graduate education, medical education, psychology education, and social work education. Contents of three special issues of peer-reviewed journals devoted to psychiatric rehabilitation education were also included.


Fifty-three non-duplicated articles were identified. Several were non-systematic literature reviews of the subject that often included proposals for curricular changes to specific disciplines including psychiatry, social work, and psychology. Several others were surveys on the issue of PSR content within the rehabilitation counseling field. No controlled studies on the subject were found. Several non-experimental studies have been published, primarily program evaluations of the impact of specific PSR curricula on student career outcomes, their knowledge of PSR practices, and their attitudes. Student proximal outcomes were predicted by the number of completed courses in PSR as well as by demographic and career variables.


Delivering PSR services to persons with SMI is acknowledged as requiring distinct knowledge and skill development. Despite this fact, there is not much research and relatively modest empirical support for specialized academic and professional education on this. More rigorous research on PSR education is required.

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