The Invisible Brain Injury : Cognitive Impairments in Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke and other Acquired Brain Pathologies book cover
1st Edition

The Invisible Brain Injury
Cognitive Impairments in Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke and other Acquired Brain Pathologies

ISBN 9780367254070
Published November 18, 2019 by Routledge
156 Pages

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Book Description

The Invisible Brain Injury recounts, in her own words, the experience of Aurora Lassaletta, a clinical psychologist who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a traffic accident. Presenting her unique dual perspective as both a patient and a clinician, Aurora highlights the less visible cognitive, emotional and behavioural symptoms common to acquired brain injury (ABI).

This moving account showcases Aurora’s growing awareness of her impairments, their manifestation in daily life, how they are perceived, or not, by others and the tools that helped her survive. Each chapter combines Aurora’s perspective with the scientific view of a professional neuropsychologist or physiatrist who provide commentaries on her various symptoms.

This book is valuable reading for professionals involved in neurorehabilitation and clinical neuropsychology and for clinical psychology students. It is a must read for ABI survivors, those around them and clinicians, who are all an essential part of the rehabilitation, adjustment and acceptance process involved with ABI.

Table of Contents

List of contributors

About the author




1. The invisible brain injury - Aurora Lassaletta


     The history of the book


2. Cognitive symptoms related to attention - Aurora Lassaletta and Amor Bize

     Neurological fatigue: continuous energy calculations

     Attention difficulties

     Just one intense thing a day! The saturated hard drive

     Brain sluggishness. Orders take time to arrive.

3. Cognitive symptoms related to executive functions - Aurora Lassaletta and Amor Bize

     Need for external guidance with organisation

     Complicated decision-making

     Difficulty adapting to changes

     Impaired creativity

4. Cognitive symptoms related to memory - Aurora Lassaletta and Amor Bize

     Memory difficulty: the need for "cognitive crutches"

     Slow learning curve

     Not learning from experience, nor remembering it

5. Cognitive symptoms related to thinking - Aurora Lassaletta and Amor Bize

     Difficulty summarising

     Concrete thinking

6. Cognitive symptoms related to lack of awareness - Aurora Lassaletta and Amor Bize

     Lack of awareness of the real situation


7. Behavioural symptoms - Aurora Lassaletta and Amor Bize

     Impulsivity and verbal incontinence

     Tendency to passivity

     Loss of improvisation

8. Emotional symptoms - Aurora Lassaletta and Amor Bize

     Affective flattening and emotional inexpressiveness

9. Physical symptoms - Aurora Lassaletta and Susana Pajares

     Body awareness and sensitivity

     Sleep disturbance and loss of satiety sensation

     Loss of balance

     Hypersensitivity to medications


     Auditory and optical hypersensitivity, diplopia, hyposalivation


10. Identity reconstruction - Aurora Lassaletta and Christian Salas

     Long term emotional adjustment following an ABI

     Awareness of deficits and integrating the new me

     Internalising compensatory tools

11. Concluding remarks - Aurora Lassaletta



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Aurora Lassaletta had to stop her work as a psychotherapist in a public mental health service in 2005 due to her TBI. She undertook a path of learning and improvement that she still follows today. At her new pace, Aurora enjoys helping other survivors learn to live with ABI through psychological support groups.


'Aurora Lassaletta writes an insightful and engaging account of the consequences of her brain injury which is truly inspiring. This book succinctly describes and demonstrates with such clarity the invisible consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that so many experience but find it tricky to explain. Throughout the book she takes us on a journey through these consequences and how she comes to learn to work with them to lessen their impact on her day-to-day life. Her honesty and openness about the ongoing process of acceptance and reflections on identity within this context is so important in gaining insight into the psychological challenges faced following a TBI. This book will be of great value to those who have experienced a brain injury and their families as well as clinicians and researchers working in the field. I would encourage everyone to read this book who has experience of or interest in the impact of acquired brain injury. Thank you for sharing your experiences.' - Fiona Ashworth, DClinPsych, AFBPsS, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

'Wow! This book captures the essence of the brain injury experience brilliantly. It is written in clear language that is easy to read and digest, addressing all the common challenges that people with brain injuries and their families go through in a way that few other such books have done. As both a clinical psychologist and a brain injury survivor, Aurora Lassaletta uniquely applies insightfulness and keen observation to her personal journey from "normal life" to injury and on through years of rehabilitation and personal growth. Her message of perseverance and hard work and hope is an inspiration not only for survivors and their families, but also for professionals, who will undoubtedly re-think their stereotypes of rehabilitation as mostly impairment-based and only relevant in the acute stages of injury. I can’t wait to have the book in hand to recommend to my colleagues and clients with brain injuries alike.' - Jill Winegardner, PhD, Director of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

'This book, written by a colleague, provides a moving, honest and brave account of the experience of suffering a traumatic brain injury. The narrative and commentary vividly brings to the reader the sheer determination, professional support, and resilience required to make the long journey back to living a meaningful life after suffering a traumatic brain injury. It is essential reading for all of those interested in the real story of what long-term rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury actually entails for many people.' - Rudi Coetzer, DClinPsy, School of Psychology, Bangor University, UK