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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Clinical Negligence Claims


    When psychological therapy should be considered as part of rehabilitation for brain injury suffered due to clinical negligence.

    By Judith Leach

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of counselling therapy which is often recommended for a wide range of psychological problems.  CBT has been approved by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and as such GPs have funding allocated to refer patients for CBT on the NHS.


CBT is based on the idea that the way we interpret a situation makes a significance difference to our feelings and the way we act.  A classic example of this would be if a friend walks past you in the street without saying hello you can look at this in one of two ways.  You can either think ‘how rude I am never going to speak to that person again or you can  take the view that your friend must be preoccupied and call them later to see if there is anything wrong.  The former negative approach can result in a feeling of rejection.  This can have a knock on effect to you socially.

CBT aims to break this negative approach to circumstances and tries to teach you to look at things in a more reasonable and positive manner.  In summary, CBT tries to replace negative thoughts with positive and realistic ones.

This, in particular, can be very successful in helping people following brain damage.  Many of our clients who have suffered avoidable brain damage from medical negligence are often referred for CBT and many find this an extremely useful process and can certainly assist with the recovery where there is on-going psychological damage. It is frequently recommended, either alone or with other therapies, for patients suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which can often be the case where the injury has been suffered due to medical negligence.

If you do have psychological problems, as with any injury, the earlier you can get treatment the better.  It is sometimes not easy to get timely treatment due to many factors such as  poor NHS resources, a lack of available therapists in many areas and long waiting lists.


The specialist clinical negligence solicitors in the Clinical Negligence Team are experienced in dealing with clinical negligence claims involving all aspects of brain injury.  An example of this would be a failure to diagnose a stroke and treat accordingly.  Our aim is to recover the maximum compensation for our clients and where possible obtain interim payments so that if therapies such as CBT are recommended these can be entered into during the course of the litigation rather than waiting until the end so our clients receive treatment at the earliest opportunity and achieve the best outcome.

If you would like to discuss a case where someone has suffered a brain injury as a result of medical negligence please get in touch with me for further advice.

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