Social Dimension TBI Improvement

Brain Injury Blog by William Jarvis

October 26, 2011

Social Dimension TBI Improvement

Social interactions with other people can be very difficult for a TBI survivor.  A person’s personality is the way he interacts with others and the way he responds to various situations.  Brain injury can often have cause a person to have heightened emotions and react to situations with anxiety and lack of control.  Therefore, a person’s social response to various situations is probably one of the most noticeable dimensions in behavior.

Anger and frustration are usually personal characteristic traits that result from challenges and changes in the brain.  A person can not control the comments or actions of others, but a person can control how he responds to other people.  This is part of social rehabilitation.  Dr. Johnson in his TBI Survival Guide recommends not responding to a frustrating situation for at least fifteen minutes.  This will allow the brain injured person time to think clearly and respond in a more appropriate manner.  After a person has met immediate medical goals and has improved interpersonal control, he should then expand his social rehabilitation to other social settings.  This normally happens when a person has the ability to live at home.

Social improvement can be realized in an effort to reconnect with life.  This is important because a person will get immediate feedback that he is improving.  Interactions with people will bring the most growth for a brain injured person in a social setting.  Stimulating a person’s interest will also expand the area of social improvement.  This can be best achieved by participating in a hobby that the person loves or trying something new.  It is the making the most of every day that brings meaning to life and promotes healing.  As a person sees and feels improvement, he needs to interact with people and share that improvement.  The process of interacting with people is the key to social improvement.  The very word “social” implies more than one person.  Therefore, it is the understanding that all of the strategies for social improvement strongly rely on a person’s involvement with others.  This is at the core of social improvement.  Emphasis on this will bring the best results.  Involve a brain injured person with regular opportunity for reaction to others.

Abraham Maslow developed a theory of personality that refers to various social personality issues.  After physiological and safety needs are met, this theory states that there is a need for Love, Affection, and Belongingness.  Clearly, an improvement in social acceptance is desirable for healing after a Traumatic Brain Injury.  Maslow also indicated that Esteem and Self-Actualization are higher elements of personality development.  The better a person feels about himself, the more he is able to function successfully in his community and society.  In the levels of needs, the person can’t move on to the next need until the previous one has been satisfied.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is as follows:

  • Physiological Needs
  • Safety Needs
  • Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness
  • Needs for Esteem
  • Needs for Self-Actualization[1]

This blog from ideas expressed in the Traumatic Brain Injury Improvement through Motivation. (Jarvis Rehabilitation Method)

[1] Maslow’s Hierarchy of  Needs,

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