Do I need a Psychiatric Report or a Psychological Report?

In compensation cases a psychiatric assessment is required to diagnose any medically recognisable psychiatric injuries, these are carried out by Psychiatrists (trained medical doctors).Therefore, a psychiatric report should be sought and not a psychological assessment or psychological report carried out by a psychologists (who are not medically trained doctors).

In compensation cases there has to be ‘a recognisable psychiatric injury’ for an award to be made.

(Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, 11th Ed. (2012);Judicial College)

‘psychiatrists should always be used so as to comply with Practice Direction 16.4 of the Civil Procedure rules, which requires evidence from a medical practitioner’

(APIL Guide to Child Abuse Compensation Claims 2nd edition).’

What is a Psychiatrist and What is a Psychologist?

Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who are qualified to assess and diagnose medically recognised psychiatric injuries in compensation cases and then provide a prognosis which may range from severe (where there are permanent effects) to less severe (where full recovery should be made normally within one to two years).

Types of Psychiatric Injuries include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a specific medical diagnosis of a reactive psychiatric disorder in which characteristic symptoms are displayed following distressing event which causes intense fear, helplessness and horror.

Claims relating to sexual and physical abuse usually include a significant aspect of psychiatric damage.

The Psychiatrist may recommend a further psychological assessment by a clinical or educational psychologist to explore other issues in compensation cases. They may also refer clients to clinical psychologists to provide treatment i.e CBT or EMDR in clients they have diagnosed with PTSD.

Clinical psychologists essentially deal in the way the mind works, they generally work with patients to help to address behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivation underlying such behaviour.

Many patients are referred to Psychologists by Psychiatrists to provide psychotherapy to help patients to overcome stress, emotional and relationship problems or troublesome habits.

There are many different approaches in psychotherapy, or talking therapies, which include:

  • cognitive behavioural therapies
  • psychoanalytic therapies
  • psychodynamic therapies
  • systemic and family psychotherapy
  • arts and play therapies
  • humanistic and integrative psychotherapies
  • hypno-psychotherapy
  • experiential constructivist therapies