Ascellus Blog

Paramedic Rachel’s Success with Work-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: An Ascellus Study

November 20, 2022

Rachel is a paramedic in her mid-30s who experienced significant emotional distress due to her workload, which grew exponentially during the pandemic. She reported emotional drain from exposure to patient death and recently tested positive for COVID-19 herself. Even after recovery from the virus, she couldn’t shake the mental and physical strain on her body, making it difficult to function at work and even impacting her personal relationships at home. Rachel was referred to Ascellus for a Health and Behavior Assessment.  

Goals for Rachel’s treatment included reducing emotional distress, providing psychoeducation to help her process and understand mental challenges, teaching her effective coping mechanisms and providing the general support she needed to return to full duty. She completed a total of seven treatment sessions before returning to work. To measure her functional improvement and success in the program, Rachel ranked herself on a scale of 0-10 for work preparedness, stamina and performance, mental focus and flexibility, and interpersonal interaction and communication. This functional work-related data captured her working capacity at the beginning of her treatment and then post-treatment. Rachel’s score for work preparedness (WP) before starting treatment was four, while her post-treatment score was 10.

Rachel's Benchmark Graph

She also self-scored her Interpersonal Interaction and Communication (IC) as zero before treatment. Her score for IC after treatment was nine.

Rachel attributes her sustained improvement to coping mechanisms she learned such as diaphragmatic breathing. She learned that feeling stressed about her problems is a physiological body reaction that can be short-circuited by knowing how to engage and disengage sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. 

Overall, Rachel has improved in all measured domains. She utilizes learned coping mechanisms to help manage her anxiety and demonstrated an ability to reframe her cognitive distortions, identify triggers and process/regulate her emotions appropriately. She made significant progress with treatment goals and regained full-functioning capacity. 

W-CBT programs can improve claims costs and get injured frontline workers back to health and wellness faster. 

For more information on both individual support and treatment interventions or organization-wide prevention programs, call us at 1.866.678.2924 or email us at

Patient examples have been de-identified in accordance with Section 164.514(a) of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Thus, any similarity to actual persons, living or deceased, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

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Ascellus bridges the gap between mental and physical health to accelerate recovery for our nation's workforce. By connecting the workers' compensation industry with our expert behavioral care and evidence-based treatments, we deliver high-quality outcomes, helping injured workers reemerge with increased strength, purpose and resilience in the workplace.