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Rehab Counsellors and Rehab Consultants

The Difference between a Rehabilitation Counsellor and a Rehabilitation Consultant

The occupations of Rehabilitation Counsellor and Rehabilitation Consultant are not the same. Rehabilitation Counsellors belong to the specific allied health profession of Rehabilitation Counselling, whilst Rehabilitation Consultant is a generic title that covers a range of professionals and non-professionals.

Rehabilitation Counselling is an independent allied health profession that has been recognised in Australia since the mid 1970s and internationally since the 1950s. University courses in Rehabilitation Counselling commenced at the Cumberland College of Health Sciences (now Sydney University) in 1974 and are now delivered at universities across Australia.

The Heads of Worker’s Compensation Authorities (HWCA), to which the majority of Worker’s Compensation schemes in Australia and New Zealand are bound, lists ten health and allied health professions that meet the requirements for delivering return-to-work services*. One of these is the profession of Rehabilitation Counselling

Rehabilitation Counsellors:

  • belong to a professional body
  • have fulfilled specific tertiary academic requirements,
  • possess well defined professional competencies
  • are qualified to deliver more than just WorkCover return to work and associated services
  • and are bound by a specific Code of Ethics.

Rehabilitation Consultants:

  • do not necessarily belong to a professional body
  • in some cases do not have a university degree
  • may or may not be qualified to deliver WorkCover return to work and associated services
  • and are not necessarily bound by a specific Code of Ethics

The title Rehabilitation Consultant is a generic description often used by WorkCover authorities to describe anyone who delivers return-to-work and associated services within the WorkCover system. As there is no restriction on the use of this title, persons with limited or no qualifications who work in the wider social services field may also call themselves Rehabilitation Consultants and equally persons with other qualifications can use this title (eg Physiotherapists, Speech Pathologists, Psychologists).

Whereas a Rehabilitation Counsellor may be employed as a Rehabilitation Consultant, Rehabilitation Consultants are often not Rehabilitation Counsellors. Hence it is very important that Rehabilitation Counsellors are not confused with Rehabilitation Consultants as the titles are not necessarily interchangeable.

*Heads of Workers Compensation Authorities (2012). Guide: Nationally Consistent Approval Framework for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers.