After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story, A Journaling Workbook

After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story, A Journaling Workbook

Barbara Stahura, C.J.F. and Susan B. Schuster, M.A., CCC-SLP

This workbook by Barbara Stahura and Susan B. Schuster guides survivors of brain injury and blast injury through the powerful healing experience of telling their own stories with simple journaling techniques. By writing short journal entries, survivors explore the challenges, losses, changes, emotions, adjustments, stresses, and milestones as they rebuild their lives. Journaling after brain injury helps written and verbal communication skills and provides cognitive retraining for following instruction. It helps promote self awareness as well as recognition of strengths and difficulties after brain injury. It is a tool for planning for the future and discussions with family members. Journaling can be done individually, in a group or with assistance from caregivers or family.

"Click Here" to listen to an recent interview by Barbara Stahura on how her husband's brain injury impacted them and how well he is doing in his recovery.

Read an interview with Barbara Stahura Barbara Stahura.

After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story is also available as an eBook - click here.

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Full Description

This workbook has been developed specifically for survivors of brain injury and blast injury. Based on journaling workshops for survivors of traumatic brain injury, it is filled with journaling exercises that guide the user through examining and expressing the many ways that the brain injury has affected and altered their lives. Vignettes by individuals give it a personal touch and also serve as examples of journaling. Users may go through the workbook from front to back or they may select chapters and activities most relevant to their lives and stage of recovery.

Breaking it down into sections, users explore…

• changing sense of self

• loss, memory and resilience

• altered relationships with family and friends

• anger and emotions

• grief and loss

• facing the future

• building hope

• moving forward

Journaling is a proven therapeutic tool used to explore one’s inner self by expressing emotions, confronting fears, relieving anxiety, coping with stress, celebrating successes, and preparing for new challenges. By writing for only a few minutes at a time, journalers can heal and cope with crises due to illness, death, or any life-altering event.

This is the first journaling workbook developed specially for adults with acquired brain injuries, and it can be used by individuals or facilitated groups. Families will find it helpful as an outlet and coping mechanism for survivors. Clinicians will find it a useful cognitive tool for building communication skills of reading, writing and comprehension. Both families and clinicians will find it helpful for promoting insight, self-awareness and goal setting.

Details
Item JOUR
ISBN# 9781931117524
Pages 120 pages, 8½ x 11, perfect bound
Year 2009

Authors

Barbara Stahura

She discovered the power of personal journaling years ago and now shares her knowledge in workshops that provide pathways to personal growth and self-empowerment. Her book After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story grew from her long-running journaling group in Tucson, Ariz.

She has also facilitated journaling events for the National Guard, family caregivers, writers, equine-facilitated experiential learning groups, and others. She is also an award-winning author and certified instructor of Journal to the Self®. She now lives in Indiana with her husband, a TBI survivor. Visit her website at http://www.barbarastahura.com

Susan B. Schuster, M.A., CCC-SLP

Susan has nearly twenty years of experience as a speech-language pathologist, the majority being a provider of cognitive communication services to people with brain injury in varied settings including an adult day program and rehabilitation hospitals. She has a special interest in combining traditional speech therapy with the latest technological advances in the field, including the Interactive Metronome. She co-facilitates a journaling workshop for people with brain injury with Barbara Stahura. Susan lives in Tucson with her husband, Steve Latham.

Contents

About the Authors

Introduction

The Importance of Story

What is Journaling?

Journaling Tips

Relax Before a Journaling Session

 

Chapter 1 After Brain Injury: What Happened? What Can I Discover?

1-1 How My Injury Happened

1-2 How It Feels to be Me

1-3 The Worst Part

1-4 Making Metaphor

1-5 Talking with Your Brain

1-6 Map to My True Self

1-7 Kindred Spirits, or Not

1-8 What Else Happened to Me?

 

Chapter 2 Loss and Change: Brain Power, Memory, and More

2-1 Loss List

2-2 Empty Spaces

2-3 Unnamed Losses

2-4 Glued Together

2-5 Off-Balance

2-6 Memory

2-7 Memory Lists

2-8 Improving Memory

2-9 Other Functions Lost

2-10 Because of Those Losses…

2-11 Resilience

2-12 I Still Have This

2-13 Using the Senses to Remember

 

Chapter 3 Relationships: Family, Friends, and Others

3-1 Once Upon a Time

3-2 Once Upon a Time, Part 2

3-3 Explaining My Injury

3-4 Understanding

3-5 Writing a Letter

3-6 What I Really Need

3-7 Confusing Changes

3-8 Loneliness

3-9 Overcoming Loneliness

3-10 Asking for Help

3-11 Asking for Help, Part 2

 

Chapter 4 Adjustments: Anger and Grief

4-1 Telling the Story of My Anger

4-2 Feeling the Anger

4-3 Grieving the Losses

4-4 Feeling the Grief

4-5 Comfort

4-6 Awareness, Acceptance, Acknowledgement, Accommodation

 

Chapter 5 Back Into the Community: Moving Forward With Hope

5-1 What Your Life Means

5-2 Hope in Your Future

5-3 Nurturing Hope

5-4 Asking Others to Hope With You

5-5 Your Home

5-6 A Letter from Home

5-7 New People

5-8 Making Your Way Around

5-9 Work Issues

5-10 Back at Work

5-11 Back to School

5-12 Social Activities

5-13 Giving of Yourself

 

Chapter 6 Later On: Any Positives?

6-1 Your “Sports Pages”

6-2 Your Better Stories

6-3 Love Letters

6-4 Time Capsule Treasures, Part 1

6-5 Time Capsule Treasures, Part 2

6-6 No One Can Take This Away From Me

6-7 Invitation

6-8 RSVP

6-9 Learning From Your “Teachers”

6-10 Being a Teacher

 

Chapter 7 Miscellaneous Prompts Brain Injury Resources

Excerpts

Introduction

"‘What is your medicine?’ I was asked.

"‘Story. Story is my medicine,’ I answered."

Deena Metzger, Entering the Ghost River

As a person with a brain injury, you have been hurt and traumatized by something most people haven’t experienced and can’t understand. Whether your brain injury is the result of an accident, surgery, military service, violence, infection, medical emergency, or any other cause, you now must deal with a number of challenges you never expected or imagined. One major challenge you face is making sense of a life disrupted and perhaps altered forever. Another is being accepted as a person who still has value and whose life still holds meaning and purpose. Yet another is revealing a new self to people, perhaps even your loved ones, who don’t realize or understand the changes the injury caused in you (changes you may not understand, either). Since every brain injury is as unique as the person who experienced it, you will face your own individual hurdles.

However, no matter how many challenges your brain injury has created for you, one thing is certain: You have a new story to tell.

Being natural-born storytellers, we humans assign meaning to everything. So, usually without realizing it, we build our lives from the stories we tell ourselves and each other. Like weavers, we combine ordinary and significant events alike into stories that tell us who we are and where we belong in our world. When we answer the question, "What did you do at work/school/home today?" we are telling our story. When we describe our honeymoon in Hawaii or how we watched the polar bears at the nearby zoo, that’s a story. So is writing a letter that reveals our sorrow over the death of a baby son or the quiet joy of a long-lasting love. When we dream of a desired future or struggle to understand our past, we are using storytelling to shape our lives. We also hold many unspoken stories in the deepest chambers of our hearts and spirits, some of which can embrace us like a lullaby or burn us like acid.

This book is titled After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story. What is story? Why is it important?

Often, "story" means pieces of writing such as science fiction or fairy tales or romance novels. But in this book, it means the story of your life, all those millions of pieces, large and small, that have gathered together to become "You." That huge, complex story begins with the basic facts of your life: for instance, where and when you were born, your gender and ethnicity, the age of your parents and their marital status at that time, whether they died young or lived into old age, the number and ages of your siblings, whether you have a religious faith, where and when you attended school, and illnesses and injuries.

On the day you were born, you began the lifelong process of collecting and creating stories about yourself and the world. Especially in the youngest years, this is mostly an unconscious process, since your young brain basically soaks up whatever happens to and around you.

For more information see Barbara Stahura interview on Arizona Public Media

http://tv.azpm.org/kuat/segments/2009/10/19/kuat-author-barbara-stahura

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