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How does a narrative understanding of change in families post brain injury help us to humanise our professional practice?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 September 2021

Charlotte J Whiffin*
Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care Practice, College of Health, Psychology and Social Care, University of Derby, Twitter username: @CJWhiffin
Caroline Ellis-Hill
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University
*Corresponding author. Email:
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In this paper, we critically explore the discourse of change post brain injury and challenge the dominant discourse of negative change, which alone leaves little room for other perspectives to exist. These negative changes pose a considerable risk to the well-being of families who may benefit from engaging in richer accounts making room for a more coherent and connected sense of self and family post-injury. We explore how narrative approaches provide opportunities for all practitioners to expand their professional scripts and support families to move towards a future which is not dominated by a discourse of loss. While loss and negative change is an important and very real consequence, of brain injury, focusing purely on stories of loss is life limiting for family members and can cause psychological distress. The life thread model is offered as a visible tool for all practitioners to engage with and use while working with families, providing a concrete focus for reflection and discussion of narratives relating to change which otherwise can feel quite abstract in everyday practice. We argue that one way we can humanise our professional practice is to support all practitioners to engage in a narrative understanding of family change following ABI.

Clinical Practice: Current Opinion
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment

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