All the clients we see have been through a huge and unexpected trauma in their life. Not only them, but the people they share their life with. One moment their life was on one path, and suddenly they’ve been shifted into a new reality. My heart often breaks over my cases. I know there have been times when my life has taken an unexpected change on a very small scale. You feel completely adrift from reality and what makes you, you. I can only imagine it must be so much worse for the people I provide therapy to.
I’ve been lucky enough to provide long term rehab to clients, and also I do group work with some people who are more than ten years post brain injury. So I’ve been able to see the bigger picture. As we know, it is rare that someone returns to 100% communication recovery. Many of my clients do make it back to work, but often not full time or in the same role. Lots are not able to work again. They do not have the same roles in life. I used to wonder how they cope, because my current work and life roles are what makes life meaningful to me. However, I’ve found the old saying about happiness, rather than being glib, actually has become the starting and ending point for how I think about the rehab of my clients:
We should always be rehabing our clients with the very highest expectations in mind. However, sometimes this will mean life for them being very changed from pre-brain injury. I’ve found that, in the long run, if they are loved, have a meaningful role in life (and this is particulary where we as speech therapists come in) and have things to look forward to, life can be very full for them indeed.