Complements and conflicts of rehabilitation with an ongoing legal case

Complements and conflicts of rehabilitation with an ongoing legal case


Posted by: Vicky Dodds (Neuro-Physiotherapist – Neural Pathways)

As a rehabilitation physiotherapist, part of my role (which I see as being the most important) is to be positive, motivating and approach any situation with a view of how it can be improved. The clients that I have worked with have often fed back how they enjoy their therapy sessions and although they often feel tired afterwards, they do so in the knowledge that they’ve done something to make their future a little better.

I then began treating clients who were amidst legal cases. I could often sense a more downbeat feeling from them and saw they were sometimes excessively aware of the difficulties and problems they were having, as a result of the injury for which the case was running.

I was unsure if it had been explained about how a lot of people in these situations may feel like they’re on an emotional rollercoaster, in fact, two or more rollercoasters! Firstly, because of the injury and the process of gaining the best possible recovery and secondly, from hearing mixed thoughts and views from both the legal and therapy teams about future potential. When life has changed so dramatically it can be easier to concede to thinking negatively about your future potential.

The rollercoasters run alongside each other and can have a subtle undercurrent which plays a negative role in the recovery itself. Having a realistic understanding of what’s going on and how things stand is important for the client, but when it comes to recovery, evidence supports positive thinking and visualisation. I could sometimes see that clients who saw the problems and couldn’t think about the solutions found it harder to reach the goals they had set.

It may help to recognise that legal teams often need to prepare for the worst case scenario, but in the meantime therapists will work hard with their clients to promote recovery in the most effective way possible.

It’s definitely a hard thing to try and balance the varied communications being received from both the legal team and therapists involved. However, by understanding that both parties have the same goal in mind i.e. in getting the best result for the client, it should make it a little easier to manage the emotions that change along the way, on both the claim and recovery journey.


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