CBTRL Psychological Assessment & Rehabilitation Company (incl PTSD): Review
CBTRL provide psychological trauma consultancy services to identify the type and level of existing, or potentially developing, psychological injuries. This sort of assessment is invaluable to businesses such as personal injury solicitors, medico-legal firms, health insurers, personal injury insurers, and more.
One of the testimonials on the company's website sums up the service quite well: "As a busy personal injury lawyer, I have to be sure that my clients are receiving only the best attention when it comes to their rehabilitation. The team at CBTRL is extensive and their experience unparalleled. I have no hesitation in recommending CBTRL to my clients and to my opponents who fund the treatment."
The company don't just offer assessments, but also rehabilitation services. They do this with a 'Rapid Response' promise of getting in touch within 24 hours, an over-the-phone 'Triage', and webcam services for a face to face discussion either in the individual's home or workplace.
As a psychological trauma specialist, the lead responder Wendy Amey offers a free, no obligation case consultation to assess potential psychological injuries that might results from an incident such as a road traffic accident or dog attack. This is offered throughout the UK and Ireland.
Wendy promises "clear, concise details of the post-traumatic symptoms in relation to the index event". When an injury claimant comes forward it is quite common for the person conducting the initial interview to not actually be a solicitor. Often, the interviewer has no training in taking statements or interviewing. Having worked in the personal injury industry for over 17 years now, we know that statements have regularly been taken by other members of staff within law firms and sometimes by third party "fee earners" or "claims management companies" who seek out cases to pass on to solicitors. Again most have zero training, and/or even zero experience, in putting together the facts the solicitor needs to fully pursue and resolve an injury case.
The danger there is that you end up with two people in a room that don't know anything about psychological trauma. The person interviewing, and the person being interviewed. Even basic counselling requires the person to know what questions to ask, what body language to watch out for, and to have a wide vocabulary of emotional descriptions to help the person clearly put into words what they are feeling.
When re-interviewed by a solicitor, if the person who originally conducted the interview dismissed or seemed to make light of any psychological trauma discussed - the claimant is unlikely to bring it up again voluntarily.
Why is this not always deemed important by solicitors?
Because psychological injuries are thought of as harder to prove, harder to quantify (i.e. determine the amount of compensation due), and harder to estimate recovery time for. So, sadly, it is often ignored in cases where there are enough physical injuries to proceed on them alone. When someone is in a car accident and has a sore neck, the temptation is to push on with only the "whiplash" neck injury as the thrust of the injury compensation claim. This is because there are clear guidelines, common compensation amounts, and standard, expected, accepted time-scales for recovery.
If that has always been the case, why are we bringing it up now?
Because for the past few years, the government has had the opinion that increasing the small claims limit from £1000 to something like £5000 - will help reduce the burden of legal costs in claims. It means that anyone claiming for an amount under £5000 will not have their legal fees paid for by the third party, even when successful. All of a sudden, we could see a lot of solicitors clambering for experts in psychological trauma to boost the 'value' of the claim they are processing to ensure it passes the required minimum.
This field of psychological trauma has always been relevant, but we're positive that it's about to become a lot more popular.
Do solicitors need an expert? As CBTRL put it on their website, accessing the services of an expert will allow the discovery of "post-traumatic symptoms and related problems that the client may otherwise struggle to express, during the usual solicitor/client interview". I've personally conducted hundreds of such interviews over the years. I consider myself trained and experienced. But still, I couldn't agree more with that statement.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or P.T.S.D. will always have professionals involved quite early on. There are plenty of historical cases to base the case on, and PTSD is a psychological injury that is commonly claimed for as a stand alone injury without any physical injuries required as a foundation for making the claim in the first place. PTSD is also widely accepted as requiring fast identification and treatment, with many companies and agencies requiring their employees to meet with a psychological trauma expert as a matter of course after any potentially disturbing incident.
The idea of early intervention as an important factor is a theme throughout CBTRL's site. Not just from the point of view of the injured individual, but for their insurers, employers, family and more. The positives of being assessed and treated as quickly as possible for the individual are obvious. The faster they can be assessed, the faster they can be treated, the faster they get better.
However, CBTRL go on to describe how early evaluations help cases and costs for third parties too. Early assessment allows the individual's and the third party's solicitors to have the facts and estimates about short term and long term effects as quickly as possible. Getting treatment as quickly as possible can help reduce the length of time taken to recover, and therefore the amount of compensation required to be paid out. Also, fast recovery gets employees back into their workplace sooner.
How fast? The estimate given on the website is 6-10 sessions, all provided under the Rehabilitation Code of Practice. Obviously they believe in getting into the recovery stage very quickly after identifying the problem and have extensive experience in the treatment of emotional and psychological symptoms. They try to address the biological, psychological, and even social factors (I think that's more about social interactions rather than whether you're middle class or not). They consider all three to be important for successful rehabilitation.
I think it's a safe bet from the company's name that they are founded on cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT). But what sort of qualifications and experience do their staff have? Here's a few:
Wendy Amey MSc, HG Dip P, GQHP, MHGI, MCAPP - Psychotherapist and Managing Director. Trained to a post-graduate level in cognitive and behavioural therapy approaches. An Associate with The International Centre for Clinical Excellence (ICCE). In 2008 she helped to set up the Veterans Outreach Support service in Portsmouth (VOSP) and continues to work with veterans and their families in a voluntary capacity.
Dr David Bickerton MB ChB MSc MRCGP MRCPsych, LLM - Consultant Psychiatrist. Medical adviser and a Consultant Psychiatrist in adult mental health. Extensive experience as an expert witness in personal injury, medical negligence and criminal injury cases. An examiner and assessor for the General Medical Council. Conducts psychiatric occupational assessments for Insurers, Employers and Government agencies.
Utsa Das MA Psychol, BA(Hons) Psychol, MA (counselling) CBT, PG Dip. Counselling, PG Dip. Clinical supervision, PGCE, MBACP(accred), AMBICA, UKRCP - Clinical Therapist. Skilled in cognitive and behavioural therapies (CBT) and EMDR. Works with individuals of all ages, couples and families through the NHS. Specialises in the assessment and treatment of stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, trauma, PTSD and addiction.
The website has several PDFs available for people to download and discover more about the benefits of such services. Including one about the "Biopsychosocial model and its relevance to recovery across the age spectrum and the return to normal day-to-day living in the fastest possible time". A mouthful? Maybe. But if you don't even know what that means, should you be the only person to interview a little girl about her state of mind following an attack by the family dog?
There are also informational pieces about PMI and IP claims, Psychological and Vocational Rehabilitation, personal injury claims and more.
I'll leave you with this statement from the firm's website: "It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic, but the individual's subjective experience of it." It is already true of injury claims that a woman is due more compensation than a man for scars in certain places - such as the face or the abdomen. We've seen a lot of cases that can end up relying on this implied and automatic assumption that some people are affected by the same injuries differently, and therefore should be compensated differently.
In our opinion, psychological injuries and their treatment should always have been given more credit and concern than they were. We expect this to change naturally due to the external factors taking place. We suggest getting ahead of the curve and seeing the difference an external expert can make to your cases.
A quick note on navigation. The company was initially called CBT Rehabilitation Ltd. Hence the web address of www.cbtrl.com is an acronym created from other recognisable industry-related acronyms. But it is still a good idea to bookmark the site once you're on it. www.cbtrl.co.uk is owned by a different company by the looks of it, and the actual treatment name www.cbt.com has nothing on it at the moment. Trusting your memory to search for the correct acronym doesn't always go well!
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with CBTRL it's best to visit the website (www.cbtrl.com), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
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