What is a PSR ?

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

What Is Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) ?


People with mental illnesses and other psychiatric concerns often need help in different aspects of their lives including work, living, social, and learning environments. One approach that can help people manage symptoms and improve functioning is known as psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR).


PSR is a treatment approach designed to help improve the lives of people with disabilities. The goal of psychosocial rehabilitation is to teach emotional, cognitive, and social skills that help those diagnosed with mental illness live and work in their communities as independently as possible.


History of Psychosocial Rehabilitation


Prior to the 1960s and 1970s, it was not uncommon for people with serious mental illnesses to be institutionalized. The approach to the treatment of mental health issues has changed considerably since that time, which has led to de-institutionalization.


Today there is an emphasis on helping people with mental health conditions live as independently as possible and to become fully integrated into the communities in which they live.


While the stigma surrounding mental illness still exists, PSR strives to help reduce prejudice and foster social inclusion.


PSR utilizes what is known as the recovery model of mental illness. Full recovery is frequently the goal, but full recovery is seen as a process rather than an outcome. This approach is centered on the person's potential for recovery and focused on providing empowerment, social inclusion, support, and coping skills.


Everyone's journey is individual and unique, and PSR can help people find meaning, hope, and growth no matter their abilities or the effects of their illnesses.


Principles of Psychosocial Rehabilitation


No matter what form psychosocial services take, core goals include helping people feel:

Hopeful: People may be left feeling demoralized as a result of their condition; rehabilitation focuses on helping clients feel hopeful about the future.

Empowered: Each individual needs to feel that they are able to set their own goals and have the power and autonomy to pursue those aims.

Skilled: Rehabilitation aims to teach people skills to help them manage their condition and live the life they want to live. This includes living skills, work skills, social skills, and others.

Supported: Mental health professionals should offer support and help clients build relationships and social connections in their community.


There are a number of key principles of psychosocial rehabilitation that help guide how mental health in this field approach their work. Theses principles include:


  • All people have potential that can be developed.

  • People have a right to self-determination.

  • The emphasis is on the individual's strengths rather than their symptoms.

  • Each person's needs are different.