Supported Education is a psychiatric rehabilitation method aimed at providing support to people with difficulties in school with a desire to overcome these issues and successfully finish their education. The method was developed and initially intended for people with psychiatric disabilities, but it may also provide help for people without psychosocial issues or psychiatric disabilities.

The method is about providing support in the choosing, obtaining and completing of goals in the field of education. The support involves various types of education, such as theoretical and practical subjects in elementary school, high school, upper secondary school or university.

Experiences from support in education from The Netherlands show that approximately 50 per cent of students with psychiatric difficulties required more aid than what was available in their schools. Supported Education serves as an additional aid to fill this gap. Supported Education should be carried out on an individual basis, but may also be provided in a group setting.

The support is built on a coaching approach based on a partnership between the student and the Supported Education coach. The collaborated work includes both dialogue and active practice. Some of the practice is done together, while some may be in the form of assignments for the student to work with during the time between the appointments.

The support is not time limited. The person receives support for as long as they wish and as long as there is a need for it. Working in accordance with Supported Education requires the individual to be active, committed and contributing to their own process.

The Supported Education process begins with establishing a cooperating alliance. The establishment of this contact is built on intuition and respect for the student’s expressed desires. Within the method there are tools that support the establishment of contact. This material includes showing compassion and understanding, identifying needs for care, inspiring, being open-hearted and asking for information.  An important part of Supported Education is the provision of guidance regarding financing the studies and a person’s financial situation, but it also focuses on career guidance and career planning.

In Supported Education, the process is unique and is guided by the person’s own choices. As a result, there are often variations regarding how often the coach and the individual have appointments and how long these appointments are. This also includes decisions on where the appointments take place. Sometimes they take place in school, at home or even out in the local area.

Not everyone needs to follow every step of the process of Supported Education. Regarding the process itself, this should begin where the person is mentally/psychologically. The process in Supported Education may comprise of four phases; establishing contact, examining whether the person feels ready, examining education options, reviewing prior knowledge.

The text is an abstract from the publication Education is the Key to Success. A Supported Education Project. Youth as a Resource in the Labor Market.