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Young adults' experience of acquired brain injury: implications for counselling psychology

Seeto, E. (2018). Young adults' experience of acquired brain injury: implications for counselling psychology. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Background and Aims: An estimated 275 per 100,000 individuals (UK) sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) requiring hospital admission. Survivors may suffer from; depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and an increased risk of suicide. From 2002/3- 2011/12, UK admissions for head injuries have risen by 33.5% with traumatic brain injury (TBI) considered the most common cause of disability and death in young adults aged 18-25yrs. The aim of this research was to gain insight into the lived experience of young adults with an ABI and to consider the implications for counselling psychologists.

Methods: The research was split into two parts. Stage one: data was collected from five participants (aged 18-30yrs) who had experienced an ABI; this formed the focus group. The focus group participated in eight semi-structured questions, broadly exploring the lived experience of ABI which informed the development of stage two. Stage Two: data was collected from nine different participants (aged 18-30yrs) who had experienced an ABI. They took part in individual interviews involving a narrative exercise called the ‘Train of Life’ followed by four semi-structured questions which provided stage two of the results.

Results: Thematic Analysis was utilised for both stage one and stage two of the research process. Focus group emerging themes were- negotiating relationships; growing stronger; and experience of self in the world. Individual Interviews generated the master themes- hidden consequences; discovering a different world; and piecing together a new narrative. Master themes comprised of eleven sub-themes - making sense of what could have been; change as a challenge; coping strategies; person in context; identity; connecting; rejection; surviving in a hostile world; moving beyond ABI; appreciating life and the paradox of survival.

Conclusions: Young adults with ABI more frequently access general psychological services. To effectively work within this field, counselling psychologists should have an increased awareness of ABI and its consequences in planning services, policies and work practices.

Key words: Acquired brain injury; young adults; Thematic Analysis; narrative exercise and lived experience.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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