This toolkit was developed specifically for VR Counselors working to improve employment and quality of employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

Evidence-Based Practice Counselor Toolkit

This toolkit was developed specifically for VR Counselors working to improve employment and quality of employment outcomes for people with disabilities. It contains insights and instruction from the cumulative experience of VR service providers, community partners, rehabilitation researchers, and families and individuals with disabilities. It provides screening tools for counselors and gives instruction on the use of 7 evidence-based practices, including:

  • Individual Placement and Support
  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
  • Behavioral Activation
  • Psychological Capacity
  • Positive Psychotherapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Mindfulness-Based Interventions

Why is it Needed?

Evidence-based practice has been gaining acceptance as a useful approach for increasing consumer involvement, controlling costs, and improving quality and accountability of healthcare and rehabilitation service delivery. It ensures that people with disabilities receive the most effective services and promotes ethical practice by better protecting consumers from harmful services, improving the efficient use of resources, and allowing people with disabilities the opportunity to exercise self-determination and informed choice.

How Does it Work?

A five-level framework gives counselors a way to evaluate practices based on the strength of evidence for their effective use in VR service delivery. There are four steps to integrating evidence-based practice into vocational rehabilitation:

  • Formulate well defined, answerable questions
  • Seek the best evidence available to answer your questions
  • Critically evaluate the evidence
  • Apply the evidence to your individual consumer

Tips for Success

It’s important to select from the highest level of research design available when making evidence-based decisions. Acceptable evidence of effective interventions may be scarce; it may be necessary to evaluate information on a continuum of innovative practices ranging from emerging to promising.


Chan, F., Chronister, J., & da Silva Cardoso, E. (2009). An introduction to evidence-based practice approach to psychosocial interventions for people with chronic illness and disability.  In F. Chan, E. da Silva Cardoso, & J.A. Chronister (2009), Understanding psychosocial adjustment to chronic illness and disability: A handbook for evidence-based practitioners in rehabilitation (pp. 3-16). New York: Springer.

Chan, F., Sung, C., Muller, V., Wang, C. C., Fujikawa, M., & Anderson, C. A. (2011). Evidence-based practice and research utilization. In Maki, D. R., & Tarvydas, V. M. (2011). The professional practice of rehabilitation counseling (Pp. 391-412). Springer Publishing Company.

Resources Roundup

Want to know more about how this employment strategy can be incorporated into your work? Check out these resources:

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Best Practices/Research

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Strategy Use in Targeted Communities

Several Project E3 Communities identified Evidence-Based Practices as a strategy to improve employment outcomes for their most underserved populations. They include: