1st Edition

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

By Aurora Lassaletta Atienza Copyright 2020
    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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




    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