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A brain injury is a family injury. Whether you are a spouse, parent, sibling, or child, each of you is affected in some way. The losses of brain injury are more than medical and physical changes in how a person functions, speaks or walks. The impact of a brain injury changes over time for families from the initial shock to the slow process of rebuilding relationships and reshaping the future.

The changes and losses for a family are many, from changes in roles, responsibilities, communication, finances, to changes in friends, jobs, and income. These blog articles offer experiences of families, as well as perspectives by clinicians, on how families have been affected along with coping strategies for the long journey of brain injury.

Helping Siblings of Children with TBI

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A child’s traumatic brain injury can affect the entire family system but too often the needs of siblings are overlooked. There are so many stresses for families after a child’s injury that it is often difficult to focus on the feelings and needs of the injured child’s siblings. Susan Davies gives suggestions and strategies to help siblings both in the immediate time after a child’s injury and over time.

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Journal after Brain Injury – Tips and topics for journaling

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Whether you’re living with your own brain injury or are a family caregiver, you can benefit from writing your thoughts and feelings for just a few minutes a couple of times a week. It helps to have some good techniques available both to help you start a writing session and to broaden your journaling practice to make it more satisfying and productive. Some of these techniques are the Unsent Letter, Perspectives, Captured Moment, and Dialogue.

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A Conversation with Taryn Stejskal

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Traditional therapies after brain injury too often do not address changes in intimacy and sexuality when a spouse or partner has a TBI. This leaves couples struggling on their own at home and contributes to marital stress. Dr. Taryn Stejskal is one of the few clinicians who has specialized in counseling couples as they deal with the aftermath of brain trauma. In this interview with Barbara Stahura, Dr. Stejskal shares how she became interested in helping couples deal with changes in intimacy and sexuality and her perspective on the importance of rebuilding and sustaining personal relationships. Author of several tip cards on this topic, she is a popular author and speaker.

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Understanding When Family and Friends Don’t Know How To Act

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We were sitting around on the deck the day after the wedding and at one point I was having trouble following the conversation. My brother stopped and said “OK everyone dial their intellect down a notch so Terri can follow” That was supposed to be funny. My reaction was wow – that hurt. I realized that it was his way of dealing with my occasional processing issues. It makes him uncomfortable and he does not know how to handle it.

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Helping Families and Survivors Cope with Life after Brain Injury

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Coping with life after brain injury is challenging for both families and survivors. It’s easy to give lip service to the importance of educating and supporting families. But how do you do it when rehabilitation stays are shorter, insurance coverage is limited, and families are already stressed to the max? Samantha Backhaus has developed a 16 week curriculum for adults with brain injury and their families that is designed to help them not only learn about brain injury and brain trauma but to help them develop the skills needed to cope, problem solve and manage life at home.

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Wife of A Wounded Warrior Lights her Way Through the Darkness

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Jessica Montgomery, wife of a wounded warrior, shares her story of finding hope after years of stress and isolation as she and her husband struggled with the effects of PTSD and TBI. Using a flashlight as an analogy, she shares how she found a new sisterhood of other wives during weekend retreats led by Hope for the Home Front and supported by Operation Homefront. She encourages other wives to light a path out of the darkness of despair and isolation to find information and support. She is now speaking and writing to help those in both the civilian and military sectors understand what it is like when the wounds of war come home.

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Resilient Children and Hidden Blessings after My Husband’s Brain Injury in Iraq

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My husband’s brain injury in Iraq changed my children’s world. Their Daddy was no longer invincible in their eyes and they did not know what he would be like when he came home. I started writing a story to help my children with their confusion, fears, worries and questions. It eventually became the book Our Daddy Is Invincible!. It has now helped many other children of service members with all types of injuries and PTSD as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Its message conveys the strength and resilience of children as they explore the “new normal” of their life at home.

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Voices of Wives of Wounded Warriors

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Now caregivers as well as wives and mothers, many women are finding that the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have changed not only their husbands but their entire family. As these women speak out about the changes in their marriages, parenting, and relationship, it becomes clear that the emotional trauma of war affects every member in the family as the wounded warrior comes home.

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The Myth of “Sticks and Stones…”

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Remember this saying that our parents taught us to use when kids at school were taunting or belittling us? Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am sorry to be the one to tell you… it’s a big lie! Here is my take on it, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your hurtful words will forever scar me.”

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Stress Resilience for Family Caregivers

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Caring for a loved one who has a brain injury leads you on a journey full of challenges, losses, rewards, and adjustments. You might be a caregiver for a short time but, more often, the survivor will require assistance, direct care, or ongoing rehabilitation for years. Preparing for your journey involves packing a suitcase full of skills and attitudes that will help you be healthy, whole, and resilient.

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