Family Experience of Brain Injury: Surviving, Coping, Adjusting, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Family Experience of Brain Injury

Surviving, Coping, Adjusting, 1st Edition

By Jo Clark-Wilson, Mark Holloway


172 pages

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pub: 2019-09-24
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Brain Injury not only affects its victim, but those around them. In many cases, relatives are often overlooked despite facing many obstacles accepting and adjusting to a new way of life. Family Experience of Brain Injury showcases a unique collaboration between relatives of brain injured individuals and professionals from the field of neurorehabilitation. Family members from all different viewpoints tell their story and how the brain injury of a loved one has affected them.

This book provides a space for those hidden and marginalised voices, the people who are in for the long haul, often dismissed by services and left to cope in isolation. By combining expert commentary with real life experiences, this book points towards sources of support, normalises the experience and provides a context for understanding the grief and losses of family members. Not only will the hard-earnt knowledge and wisdom evident in this book help educate health and social care staff, it highlights how love, commitment, hope and perseverance, against a seemingly unbearable grief, can remain.

It is essential reading for individuals and families touched by brain injury and will give multi-disciplinary professionals, such as medics, nurses, psychologists, therapists, social workers, rehabilitation practitioners and clinical supervisors, a greater understanding of their role in helping the affected family.


"Stop for a moment and think about the person you love most. It may be a child, perhaps a wife, partner or husband, maybe your sister or brother. Now imagine fate intervening, and this special person suffers a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other form of acquired brain injury. Those who survive, come back to the land of the living, but irrevocably changed as persons - different from the person whom the relative fell in love with. Most academic textbooks fail to capture the effects the tragedy of acquired brain injury has on those around the patient - the relatives. Family Experience of Brain Injury: Surviving, Coping, Adjusting does not. Through the powerful narratives of relatives telling their unique stories, and commentaries by professionals, the lifelong journey of grief, loss, compassion and hope families go through, is vividly told. While this is a book primarily intended for those working with families after brain injury, all clinicians, academics and researchers working in the field of neurorehabilitation should read this book." - Dr Rudi Coetzer, Consultant Neuropsychologist & Head of Service, North Wales Brain Injury Service, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board NHS Wales, UK.

Table of Contents


Dr Alyson Norman, psychologist and sister of a severely brain injured brother


Mark Holloway


  1. Introduction
  2. Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  3. Acquired Brain Injury and Families
  4. Jackie Dean, Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  5. The Family and the Team
  6. Dan talks to Dr Siobhan Palmer about his son Paul

  7. Behaviour, Vulnerability and the Criminal Justice System
  8. Jeanne describes the challenges faced by her son Adam’s brain injury, Jackie Dean reflects upon this story

  9. Grief without end
  10. Laura’s story of her husband John and the stroke that so affected their lives. Dr Giles Yeates reflects upon this story

  11. Support of Siblings
  12. Eliza and Grace, both sisters of severely brain injured people, tell their stories to Jo Clark Wilson

  13. Children’s Challenges
  14. Alistair, Beatrix and their mother Christine describe the impact of their father/husband’s brain injury and Deidre describes the events and outcome of the accident that killed her mother and severely brain injured father

  15. The Impact of Acquired Brain Injury on the Family: Common Themes, Threads and Differences
  16. Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  17. What may Help?
  18. Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  19. In Conclusion

Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway



About the Authors

Jo qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1979, then studied with the Open University to complete a degree in psychology and research. She has had the privilege of working with individuals with brain injury and their families for the past 30 years.

By accident Mark became a support worker for people with brain injuries nearly 30 years ago, he qualified as a social worker in 1995 and continues to work with individuals and families affected by brain injury.

About the Series

After Brain Injury: Survivor Stories

After Brain Injury: Survivor Stories was launched in 2014 to meet the need for a series of books aimed at those who have suffered a brain injury, their families and carers, and professionals who are involved in neuropsychological rehabilitation. Brain disorders can be life-changing events with far-reaching consequences. However, in the current climate of cuts in funding and service provision for neuropsychological rehabilitation, there is a risk that people whose lives have been transformed by brain injury are left feeling isolated with little support.

Because so many of the books on brain injury are written for academics and clinicians they can for the most part be filled with technical and academic language which may be of little help to those directly affected. Instead, this series offers a much-needed personal insight into the experience, as each book is written, in the main, by a survivor or group of survivors, who are living with the very real consequences of brain injury. Each book focuses on a different condition, such as face blindness, amnesia and neglect, or diagnoses, such as encephalitis and locked-in syndrome, resulting from brain injury. Readers will learn about life before the brain injury, early days of diagnosis, the effects of the brain injury, the process of rehabilitation, and life as it is now lived.

Alongside a personal perspective, professional commentary is also provided by a specialist in neuropsychological rehabilitation. The historical context, neurological analyses, data on the condition, treatment, outcome and follow-up, will appeal to professionals working in rehabilitation including psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and rehabilitation doctors. Books in this series will also be of interest to students of clinical psychology, neuropsychology and related courses who value a case study approach as a complement to the more academic books on brain injury.

With this series, we also hope to help expand awareness of brain injury and its consequences. The World Health Organisation has recently acknowledged the need to raise the profile of mental health issues (with the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-20) and we believe there needs to be a similar focus on psychological, neurological and behavioural consequences of brain disorder, and a deeper understanding of the role of rehabilitation in making the lives of brain injured people more tolerable. Giving a voice to survivors of brain injury is a step in the right direction.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Allied Health Services / Occupational Therapy
MEDICAL / Nursing / Psychiatric
PSYCHOLOGY / Neuropsychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Physiological Psychology