A1 Journal article – refereed

Recovering social participation – experience with a relational group intervention for traumatic brain injury patients

List of Authors: Marjaana Raukola-Lindblom, Elina Vuorinen, Riitta Vartiainen

Publisher: IOS Press

Place: Amsterdam

Publication year: 2020

Journal: NeuroRehabilitation

Volume number: 47

Issue number: 1

Number of pages: 10

ISSN: 1053-8135

eISSN: 1878-6448

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/NRE-203083



BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injuries often result in impaired social functioning that may cause uncertainty, isolation,
and precipitation of significant stress in social situations. Involvement in directed group treatment helps participants to develop
new capabilities for feeling relationally connected, improving verbal and nonverbal communication skills, as well as building
the capacity for empathic intersubjectivity. We suggest that group intervention to improve communication and social skills
may provide an efficient and effective way for a patient to return to successful social participation.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss the principles of a clinical group intervention for increasing
the social participation of persons with traumatic brain injury.

METHODS: Since 2000, several intervention periods, each with 10–20 group meetings, including some individual sessions
for guidance, have been carried out under our direction in Finland. The intervention periods include education, reflection, and
practical experiential exercises and can be multidisciplinary with both speech-language pathologists and neuropsychologists
providing oversight and direction. The main goal of the described group interventions is to support community participation
and social reintegration. In this article, we describe guiding principles and provide examples of the clinical group interventions
drawn from our experience.

CONCLUSION: As determined by clinical observations and patient reports, the group intervention for social participation
has proven to be beneficial. The participants report gaining more understanding of and insight into social situations, nonverbal
and verbal communication, as well as affective interactive experience. Practicing social skills in a group situation is inherently
self-motivating and encourages a constructive, positive impetus toward greater social participation. Based on our experience
with this approach, it appears that this experiential form of group intervention is an effective bridge between structured
cognitive-communication rehabilitation and successful real-life social participation.

Keywords: Communication, social participation, traumatic brain injury, group treatment, rehabilitation

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Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 08:34