Assessment and treatment of psychological distress associated with motor vehicle accidents

After a motor vehicle accident, many individuals experience a significant increase in stressors. These stressors include accident-related pain, job loss, financial difficulties, insurer concerns, and limitations in their ability to carry out their regular activities, such as household chores, parenting tasks, or social and recreational interests. They may experience depression, anxiety and worry, irritability, fears of driving or being a passenger in a motor vehicle, marital conflict, or problems in memory and concentration. A psychological assessment is often beneficial in determining the nature and severity of an individual's accident-related difficulties and whether or not he or she would benefit from psychotherapy.

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident and are feeling overwhelmed or under stress, you might benefit from a psychological assessment and treatment. You do not need a physician or insurer referral to access these services; however, many people discuss such a referral with their family doctor or legal representative.


Once your treatment plan has been approved by your automobile insurer, we will help you define your treatment goals and explain how psychotherapy aims to help meet those goals. Treatment appointments typically last one hour and are scheduled on a weekly or biweekly basis. Sessions may be scheduled with less frequency as your symptoms decrease. We work closely with your other treatment team members, such as your family physician, pain specialist, case manager, or rehabilitation worker. We may ask you to read relevant articles or complete homework assignments that help you transfer the skills learned in psychotherapy to everyday life. Through our discussions, we will work with you to learn new ways to cope with accident-related stress and adjust to the consequences of your accident. Once your initial treatment plan has been completed, we will review progress made toward your goals and submit a new treatment plan, if desired.