Couples and Traumatic Brain Injury
Not only does the survivor deal with the effects of a TBI, but the caregiver does too. Much of the concern is directed to the survivor. But the trauma has totally changed the life of the caregiver also. The good news is that the love, partner, and “best friend” of the caregiver survived, but the survivor may look different, sound different, and/or act differently. The survivor may not be the same person that the caregiver knew and loved. In fact, the previous relationship may not seem to exist at all with the current version of the survivor. Often the caregiver works tirelessly out of love or in hopes that some part of their close relationship will return.
TBIs can be hard on relationships. Most relationships struggle, and some do not survive. A few psychologists now specialize in relationships affected by TBI. Here is a video of one couple, who, with the help of two psychologists, managed to withstand the storm of a TBI. Dr. Jeffrey Kreutzer and Dr. Emilie Godwin point out that neither the survivor (Hugh) nor the caregiver (Rosemary) is the same person that he and she were before the TBI. Drs. Kreutzer and Godwin emphasize the importance of acceptance of the “new normal,” not only by the survivor, but also by the caregiver. They both must accept that life will not return to the way it was pre-TBI. Dr. Kreutzer advised Rosemary and Hugh to “…grieve for your old life and build a new one.”
(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)
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