Coping with a traumatic brain injury can feel overwhelming. But you are not alone. Over 1.7 million people a year suffer brain injuries. We continue to learn better ways to help people recover from brain injuries. During my fellowship, I participated in research on the treatment of traumatic brain injury and received specialized training in current treatment techniques. Our clients reported that cognitive rehabilitation increased their life satisfaction and decreased depressive, memory, and cognitive symptoms. Read an article documenting our work.
Traumatic brain injuries are typically categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. I focus on treating adolescent and adult clients with mild to moderate brain injury, as more severe cases will be best served by multidisciplinary teams working at comprehensive brain injury rehabilitation centers. Mild traumatic brain injury can cause cognitive impairments in complex attention (e.g. multitasking), efficiency of new learning, executive function, processing speed, and verbal fluency. They may also lead to psychiatric symptoms , such as anxiety and depression, as well as difficulties in interpersonal relationships and professional functioning. Fortunately, around 90% of mild TBI survivors will recover full functioning within a yearn of their injury, and cognitive rehabilitation can help enhance functional abilities regardless of when the brain injury occurred.
The first step in healing is to gain a strong understanding of the problem. I ask clients to complete an assessment of life functioning and bring current neuropsychological testing with them prior to beginning cognitive rehabilitation. This allows us to identify both areas of strength and areas that require attention and support. When working with TBI, I adapt Cognitive Strategy Training to clients’ individual needs. Treatment may include attention training, memory training, and time management. We will likely use an assistive devices, such as a smart phone or day planner to help with organization and provide reminders for important tasks. Many people with brain injury also experience anger, mood swings, depression, or anxiety. I draw on my experience as a therapist to work with these challenging emotions.
Download a traumatic brain injury assessment. Ideally a family member or friend will ask you the questions on the assessment and fill in their own observations as well. If that is not possible, feel free to bring the form with you to our intake and we can complete it together.