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Virginia University Develops Relationship Counseling for TBI Victims

Posted on Feb 22, 2012
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have developed a new type of marriage counseling specifically geared for couples that are struggling after a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The novel counseling method was developed after psychologists recognized that survivors of serious head injuries and their partners often faced unique challenges that weren’t addressed in traditional marriage counseling sessions.

The divorce rates for couples who have dealt with a traumatic brain injury are surprisingly low – about 17 percent as opposed to about 50 percent for the general population. However, although they often stay by each others’ sides, the quality of the relationship and the nature of the relationship can often change for the worse – a partner could transform into a full-time caregiver, or a brain injury could significantly change one spouses’ personality permanently.

The new type of marriage counseling for head-injury victims and their families does not focus on fixing core issues or returning a relationship to its pre-accidents state, but rather to help the couple come to terms with the changes in their marriage and find a new normal. Couples are asked to let go of the past, let go of guilt, and focus on the good. Much of the focus of the counseling is to simply acknowledge that their lives have changed for good.