Dodge Consulting & Publications

Litigation Stress Management


Research has shown that more than 95% of physicians who are sued for medical negligence are affected emotionally and/or physically by the lawsuit. Litigation Stress Syndrome is the stress-associated symptoms that defendant physicians can experience when involved in malpractice litigation.  It can affect not only the physician, but the physician’s family, staff and oftentimes other patients. 

Litigation Stress Management (LSM) provides defendant physicians with the tools necessary to better manage the stress associated with impending malpractice litigation. By gaining an understanding of the emotional impact of being involved in a lawsuit, physicians can develop effective coping skills to help guide them through the legal process. Often this can include spouses, who play an important supportive role and are equally impacted by the litigation process. LSM is an effective adjunct to the more formal process of Witness Preparation for Deposition and Witness Preparation for Trial.

Specific areas of focus often include addressing and coping with or resolving:

  • Negative emotions of anger, frustration, defensiveness, and resentment
  • Self-doubt, diminished confidence, and over-analysis of care
  • Concerns about financial impact, professional embarrassment, consequences to the practice, and national data bank reporting
  • Underlying issues of loss of control, professional stressors, demands of the profession
  • Advising and involving family members and friends
  • Hostility toward and distrust of the legal system


John Ryan, Ph.D., an associate with Dodge Consulting and Publications, LLP, has extensive experience in stress management and the development of practical and effective coping strategies. As a litigation psychologist with over 35 years of clinical experience, Dr. Ryan helps physicians to understand their emotional responses to litigation, the impact those responses have on their behavior and their practice, how to effectively manage those emotional responses, and how to minimize the negative impact on themselves their families, and their patients. The goal is to empower physicians to take back control of their lives at a time when they feel a an anxiety-provoking loss of control. 

Sessions can be conducted individually, in groups, over a period of time, or in one concentrated block of time, depending upon needs.  Dr. Ryan is also available for seminars and workshops for groups of health care providers to better prepare them to assist productively with their defense in the event of litigation, and how to reduce the probability of litigation through improved patient communication.

Contact Dr. Ryan at
Dodge Consulting & Publications, LLP
jryan@dodgeconsulting.com
Direct cell: (509) 998-9672
Office: (253) 857-7716