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An insight into our whānau support and education groups.

An insight into our whānau support and education groups.

We are excited to give you an insight into our family support group programme run at Laura Fergusson. Clinical psychologists/neuropsychologists Nic Ward, Siobhan Palmer, and Nalita Naidu, as well as clinical researcher Kristin Gozdzikowska, evaluate and reflect on the group sessions in the latest edition of the journal of NZCCP.

Whānau support has proven to have great value in supporting the recovery of someone with a traumatic brain injury. Family group sessions aim to involve relatives in the rehabilitation process by providing them with information, psychological support, and coping skills. These groups also give opportunities to share experiences and offer support and advice to others.

The group sessions at LFBIT were run face-to-face weekly for 90 mins, over 6 weeks. The programme consisted of the following topics, adapted from the BIFI (Brain Injury Family Intervention) programme designed by Jeffrey Kreutzer.

1. Getting to know each other: introduction to the effects of brain injury on the family.

2. Effects of brain injury on the survivor and family: what is normal after brain injury, how does it affect the whole family?

3. Understanding recovery: emotional and physical recovery, mastering the art of patience, coping with loss and change.

4. Managing stress and intense emotions.

5. Strategies for optimal recovery: taking care of yourself, focusing on gains and accomplishments.

6. Recap, additional education topics to be decided by group, completing final questionnaires

Group sessions are very effective in lowering stress, providing strategies to meet the needs of the injured member and the wider family, and decreasing negative coping strategies.

Whānau members gave incredible feedback:

“We realized we are not alone”

“Topics raised and discussed were often things I had never talked about with anyone…breaking it down and sharing ideas was helpful”

“This programme made us aware of his feelings and what it’s been like for him”

To read about their research check out the article in journal of NZCCP by clicking here - Evaluation of a Group Programme for Adult Family Members of Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury in Aotearoa New Zealand. Nic Ward, Siobhan Palmer, Nalita Naidu & Kristin Gozdzikowska