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Handb Clin Neurol. 2012;109:297-314. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52137-8.00019-X.

Promoting optimal functioning in spinal cord injury: the role of rehabilitation psychology.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation includes attention to the psychological needs of individuals with SCI and their families. This chapter is designed to familiarize neurologists and other practitioners with psychological issues and care in SCI. While psychologists play a key role, attention to psychosocial health is a responsibility shared by all members of the rehabilitation team, beginning with the patient and family, and including clinicians who are not formally identified as mental health providers. Treatment planning for a person with SCI begins with a thorough assessment of the cognitive, emotional, personality, and social factors that influence functioning and rehabilitation. Rehabilitation psychologists use a mixture of assessment tools, including clinical interviews, behavioral observations, and a wide range of standardized test instruments. Psychological interventions can involve direct intervention with the patient, in individual, family or group-based therapies. Other psychological strategies involve assistance through less direct methods - consultation and training to other rehabilitation team members or facilitating peer role-modeling and support groups. The chapter provides an overview of core clinical issues (emotional responses, substance use, pain, cognitive deficits, sexuality and vocational rehabilitation), delineates the process of psychological assessment and intervention, and provides guidance on incorporation of rehabilitation psychology into SCI rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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