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Positive Psychology and Vocational Rehabilitation after TBI

The impairments in cognitive, emotional, and social functioning often caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI) can negatively impact an individual’s ability to return to work successfully. Return to work rates after TBI are remarkably low, leaving in question the effectiveness of existing vocational rehabilitation practices.

A recent study proposes that positive psychology, a process of actively fostering a positive mindset, may be an effective approach towards improving existing vocational rehabilitation methods. Rather than a focus on the pathology-based evaluation found in a typical psychological approach, positive psychology seeks to develop the individual’s well-being and happiness by providing the tools necessary to forge a more positive outlook.

Increased happiness and well-being as a result of positive psychology is associated with greater job satisfaction, higher income, and increased productivity. Using strengths-based assessments and positively-focused job evaluations, vocational rehabilitation techniques using a positive psychology approach may provide individuals with a greater chance of success during the difficult transition back into the workplace after TBI.

Mills AL & Kreutzer JS. Theoretical applications of positive psychology to vocational rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. (March 2016).

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