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Home » Injured Workers » Frequently occurring workplace injuries » Psychological Injury » Evaluating psychological treatment progress

Evaluating psychological treatment progress



How many sessions are needed?


There are many factors affecting whether a person will experience a psychological “disorder”, how they will experience it, over what duration and whether they will require some form of professional intervention to get better. There are also a number of factors that will influence how long it will take a person to get better, and whether or not they will make a full recovery. These factors include:


  • Type of problem - diagnosis
  • Severity
  • Time since symptoms first treated
  • Support networks – family, social, work
  • Personality
  • Motivation to get better – are there secondary gain issues?
  • Physical health problems – e.g. drugs and alcohol, other significant health problems
  • Other psychological health problems - pre-existing psychological injuries
  • Pain levels
  • Type and appropriateness of treatment
  • Skills of therapist – over 80% of variance in treatment outcomes
  • Rapport with therapist


Despite the many variables that can and WILL affect treatment outcomes, it is possible to make some approximate estimates of how many sessions will be needed or should be approved. With most psychological treatment it is advisable that a maximum of ten sessions is approved at a time and that a progress review occurs after 5 or 6 sessions.


Frequency of sessions is another issue worthy of comment. Most injured workers requiring sessions at least weekly to second weekly at the beginning of their therapy to reduce subjective distress and for the concepts being taught to be reviewed, applied and monitored. As therapy progresses sessions can be gradually decreased in frequency until they can be eventually phased out all together. There may be times however when further sessions are necessary – such as after a major setback occurs due to re-injury, or when the person is suicidal. For the majority of time however, it is important that the injured worker is taught skills to be independent and to manage the residual symptoms of their physical or psychological injuries through use of their own support networks.



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