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Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, and Psychiatrist: Physical Rehabilitation

If you are in the hospital recovering from surgery, healing from an injury, or being treated for a disabling medical condition, physical rehabilitation may be an important part of your treatment. Physical medicine and rehabilitation (rehab) is a branch of medicine called physiatry.

What is a psychologist?

Psychologists work as part of the rehabilitation team to help meet the emotional, behavioral, and psychological needs of the patient and family. They are not medical doctors, but have earned a PhD.

Psychologists help:

  • Counsel patients and families during times of stress, grief, and loss

  • Identify strengths and behaviors that can help the patient succeed in rehabilitation

  • Assess and treat for cognitive and behavioral problems, and plan behavior management programs

  • Identify feelings and emotions that may impact recovery on the part of the patient, family, or the rehabilitation team

What is a neuropsychologist?

Neuropsychologists are PhD-trained psychologists who specialize in how diseases, injuries, and disorders of the nervous system affect emotions and behaviors.

What is a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who treat mental health issues. They can prescribe medicine, but may also employ a number of counseling techniques. They are not usually core team members, but are often available on a consulting basis.

All of these specialists may practice in a variety of settings, including the following:

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Outpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Psychiatric care settings

  • Private practice

  • Community health centers

  • Schools

Online Medical Reviewer: Ballas, Paul, DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Watson, L. Renee, MSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2018
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