Lectures, Seminars & Workshops

Lectures, Seminars and Workshops available to the business and professional community.

EducationEducation: Currently Available Topics

  • Psychological Aspects of Work-Related Injury
  • Mood Disorders Affecting Physical Pain
  • Personality Types in Medical Management
  • Overcoming Fear of Re-Injury
  • Catastrophic InjuriesSomatoform Disorders - Somatoform Pain and Conversion
  • Factitious disorders
  • Depression and Anxiety Complicating Recovery from Work Injury
  • Factors in Lumbar, Cervical & Carpal Tunnel Injuries
  • Posttraumatic and Acute Stress Disorders
  • Pre- and Post Surgical Cases: Psychological Complications and Solutions
  • The Aging Injured Worker
  • Personal Injury: Exacerbated, Exaggerated or Fabricated

Seminars are typically scheduled on Friday mornings, although alternate accommodations can be made for regional, annual, lunch and learn, or other special presentation needs.

To arrange a seminar, call Atlanta Medical Psychology at 404-252-6454 to determine date availability and coordinate media needs. Past audiences include:

  • The Georgia Board of Workers' Compensation
  • Institute of Continuing Legal Education
  • Georgia Association of Occupational Medicine
  • Georgia Nursing Association
  • Risk management associations
  • Nurse case management companies
  • Employers and insurers

Case Management Update

Fellow soldiers killed in the line of  duty was the foundation for what we now call acute and chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. Combatants (and civilian first responders) bear witness to the potential or actual death of coworkers.  The disorder can also occur among those hearing details of the traumatic events. It can arise in family or friends when learning of the trauma.   It can also arise in some as a result of cumulative exposure to those who have been injured.

While the obvious goal is to return an individual to productivity, and where possible, to return him/her to the setting in which the trauma occurred, there are several important factors that may impede achieving this goal:

  1. Was the trauma a natural event that is unavoidable or unpredictable and/or may recur?(fire,/explosions, storms, etc)
  1. Was the trauma the result of man-machine interface safety failure or the absence of safety standards?And was this predictable/probable in the perceptions of the employee with one or more other individuals directly or indirectly culpable?
  1. Was the trauma the result of the negligence of other employees? Was an unsafe work environment created by an employee, and the trauma is seen as the result of carelessness?
  1. Was the trauma the result of deliberate aggression of coworker(s)? Is this, in fact, a place that was a hostile/dangerous interpersonal environment leading to someone(s) intentionally inflicting harm? The concepts of blame and need for others to be punished is characteristic of employees who feel that others were culpable for their trauma.

In toto, if the employee sees the trauma as arising directly or unintentionally from the action of others, or a work-setting problem that persists, the probability of the employee returning to that setting is decreased.

The initial response when witnessing injury or death of a coworker is shock, horror and disbelief. In some cases, guilt, remorse, rage and revulsion may accompany this event.

Witnessing such trauma may rapidly resolve into  either a transient stress reaction, a longer lasting adjustment disorder, or can become a stress-related disorder that persists for weeks, months or years.

The initial assessment of the employees’ response would be a supervisor meeting with each employee who was exposed to the event as well as those who have been informed but were not direct witnesses.

The employee can then elect, or be recommended, to further this discussion with EAP personnel or a licensed counselor.  However, if the employee’s complaints include re-experiencing the event, avoidance of the workspace, negative cognitions and mood, and increased arousal, a psychological referral is in order.

Medicating traumatized individuals with anxiolytics and/or antidepressants has been moderately effective with some patients.  The concern for malingering a stress related disorder has triggered research on blood studies that may validate the employee’s report of post traumatic stress disorder.

The concept that one’s life must go on implies that an employee be returned to work and the site of the trauma.  This is achievable if the employee feels the cause of the trauma has been addressed and the probability of future occurrence drastically reduced or eliminated

Returning to the workspace can serve to desensitize the employee to what has occurred. This can be done in a gradual manner. However, in some cases where safety standards were implemented only after the trauma, anger may prevent the return.

If the trauma was the direct and deliberate result of another employee in the workspace, return to work is even less probable.  Return to the workspace, while ideal, may not be readily achieved.  Assignment to an alternate setting may be more viable.

Printed warnings and media reports of danger have not successfully impacted careless or dangerous behaviors.  Written material is easily ignored.  Safety standards, safety equipment and the employer’s insistence upon compliance are more viable approaches.

But whether discussing consumer, employee or patient education, individuals are capable of learning and understanding risk assessment without necessarily complying. Compound this with the effects of fatigue, distractibility, decreased vigilance, impatience and frustration, and the threat of risk is multiplied.

In the post-trauma period, the concepts of safety and risk are amplified and temporarily improve awareness and vigilance.  But over time, there precautions can ease, and risk increases once again.

Regular safety seminars regarding man-machine interface with reference to past and potential future trauma should be implemented, and such seminars should be interactive rather than passive.

In some States, the management of such trauma can be relegated to the Workers’ Compensation system.  In other States, a physical injury is required to meet the standard of a work-related injury. Witnessing or learning about the trauma is not, in those States, sufficient for a workers’ compensation claim.


Online Referral:



Linkedin: Dr. David B. Adams

Twitter: @doctoradams

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Dr. David B. Adams is Board Certified in Clinical Psychology (ABPP) and specializes in the treatment of mood, anxiety and pain disorders in adults.

In addition to his private practice, Dr. Adams consults to physicians, attorneys, employers and insurers in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, disability determination and psychological complications in work-related injuries. He performs stimulator-implant-candidacy evaluations.

Dr. Adams is a Distinguished Practitioner in the National Academy of Practice in Psychology, a member of the American Psychosomatic Society, and a platinum member of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology.

He is Fellow of the Academy of Clinical Psychology and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and it's Division of Psychologists in Independent Practice, the Division of Psychotherapy; the Society of Clinical Psychology, and the Academy of  Consultation Liaison Psychiatry.

Dr. Adams is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and the University of Alabama with a postdoctoral fellowship from the Institute of Clinical Training of the Devereux Foundation (Philadelphia).

Dr. Adams is the author of greater than sixty articles on the impact of psychological functioning upon claims of disability. He is a well-known presenter of seminars and regional workshops, addressing the psychological aspects of physical disease and injury.

His practice is located in The Medical Quarters, adjacent to Northside, Scottish Rite and Emory Saint Joseph's Hospitals in north Atlanta.

Atlanta Medical Psychology
5555 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, N.E.
The Medical Quarters - Suite 251
Atlanta, GA 30342-1703.
404-851-9286 Fax


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