Rehabilitation Psychology Helps Patients Return to Normal Life After Severe Arm or Hand Injury

Rehabilitation psychology is one of the most successful and appreciated aspects of care provided for hand and upper extremity patients, especially those with severe injuries. 

Rehabilitation psychologists serve as expert and compassionate coaches, counselors and consultants as patients learn to overcome fears and anxieties often associated with their injuries. As a result, more than four of five Medical College of Wisconsin patients return to work, compared to one or two of five patients nationally.

Building Confidence for Returning to Life and Work

Returning to work and daily social interactions after a trauma can be difficult for patients. For some, even a common handshake can be awkward and intimidating. By consulting with a professional psychologist sensitive to recovery, patients gain confidence and improve their abilities to cope as they rebuild a life that is as normal as possible.

Emotional Support for Multiple Aspects of Recovery

Our rehabilitation psychologists are uniquely aware of the challenges facing hand and upper extremity patients. It is common for them to deal with fears, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), panic disorder, anxiety and depression. Psychologists help patients understand their accident or illness, its causes and how they can prevent it from happening again.

Return to Work Consultation

Return to work consultation, including identifying the roles and responsibilities of both the employee and the employer when the patient goes back to work. Staff consult with patients and employers to outline activity restrictions, time restrictions and parameters for a successful return to work. Our staff can accompany the patient into the actual work environment to coach them through strategies for a physically and emotionally healthy return to work. Rehabilitation psychologists will collaborate with patients and therapists on Work Reconditioning efforts, as well.

Social Coaching

Social coaching regarding appearance after an injury to provide strategies for handling reactions and questions from other people about the injury or condition. The hands and upper extremities are very public parts of the body, attracting attention whenever they look or function a bit differently. Rehabilitation psychologists help patients become less sensitive to external comments and focus more on recovery and taking care of themselves.

Family Consulting

Consulting regarding relationships with immediate family and significant others, providing insights for situations ranging from intimacy to explaining appearances and limitations to children.

Learn more about our rehabilitation psychologists, therapists and other Exceptional Staff.


For hand and upper extremity services:

  • 414-805-3666
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Hand & upper extremity services offered at these locations: