INTRODUCTION A mixed-methods (qualitative-quantitative), multicenter study was conducted using a focus group design to explore the lived experiences of persons in vocational rehabilitation (VR) with regard to functioning and contextual factors using six open-ended questions related to the ICF components. The results were classified by using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a frame of reference. METHODS The meaningful concepts within the transcribed data were identified and linked to ICF categories according to established linking rules. RESULTS The seven focus groups with 26 participants yielded a total of 4,813 relevant concepts which were linked to a total of 160 different second-level ICF categories. From the client perspective, the ICF components (a) body functions, (b) activities and participation and (c) environmental factors were equally represented, while (d) body structures appeared less frequently. Out of the total number of concepts, 864 concepts (18%) were assigned to the ICF component personal factors which is not yet classified but could indicate important aspects of resource management and strategy development of patients in VR. CONCLUSION Therefore, VR of patients must not be limited to anatomical and pathophysiologic changes, but should also consider a more comprehensive view which includes client's demands, strategies and resources in daily life and the context around the individual and social circumstances of their work situation.