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Carey: At the Forefront of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Training

September 1, 2012

Psychiatric rehabilitation (psych rehab) is a model that views recovery not as the absence of illness but as working within an illness. It gives individuals with mental disorder diagnoses the skills, resources and support they need to live, work, learn and socialize.

Now that psych rehab is a reimbursable modality of care, more professionals in the behavioral health field need psych rehab training. Veronica Carey, PhD, who is one of the very few psych rehab educators in the state who has been approved by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, meets the psych rehab training needs of the Philadelphia region and beyond. “The need is great in psychiatric rehabilitation education,” she said. “The number of trained behavioral health care provider agencies is few.” Carey additionally advocates for psych rehab on both the national and international levels. In November she will “have the ears of the world” as she represents Drexel during her presentation in Milan, Italy at the World Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation conference.

One of Carey’s goals is to make the College of Nursing and Health Professions the approved, nationally-recognized source of psych rehab training on the East Coast and to expand opportunities for Drexel to provide training both nationally and internationally. These trainings are helping to transform the residential opportunities for mental health consumers in Philadelphia. The state of Pennsylvania has the highest number of Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners (CPRPs) in the nation because of the number of trainings that Carey and her colleague Lisa Schmidt, PhD, have conducted.

Carey says that Department Chair Ronald Comer, DSW, “is a visionary and, as such, he recognizes that by offering psychiatric rehabilitation training in our curriculum at Drexel, we will essentially be able to have an impact on the core workforce throughout the greater Philadelphia region and wherever else our students may move.” Very few academic institutions offer students an introduction to psychiatric rehabilitation at the undergraduate level, let alone multiple courses that take them past the surface.

Carey is an elected commissioner for the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and is charged with assuring that every state in the U.S. honors the certification process for Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners (CPRPs). She is also on the International Committee for the Development of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, which advocates for the use of the psychiatric rehabilitation model around the world.