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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The lived experience and meaningful construction of traumatic brain injury from the perspectives of the survivor, the family and the treatment professional Connell, J. Ellen


This study presents a revelatory case study which draws on phenomenological constructs to explore the lived experience of perceiving and meaningfully constructing traumatic brain injury from the perspectives of a survivor, a family member, and a treatment professional working with the survivor. During in-depth, individual interviews, the participants shared their experiences and described the processes through which they came to understand and make sense of the survivor's traumatic brain injury (TBI), the impact it had on the survivor, as well as their relationships with the survivor. The interviews were then transcribed and analysed using Collaizi's (1978) method of phenomenological analysis. A number of themes emerged which appeared to be central to the processes of understanding and making sense of this TBI for these individuals. These included: the sense of recovery from TBI as a process; the role of awareness in coping with, and adjusting to TBI; the importance of spirituality and optimism in the recovery process; the importance of collaborative goal setting and client-centred rehabilitation. The survivor who participated in this study assessed his recovery as very good, and his family member, and the rehabilitation professional interviewed for this study reinforced this opinion. Furthermore, the survivor described a sense of having "found himself through his rehabilitation and recovery experience, and described a sense of satisfaction and meaning in his life which he attributed to his recovery experience. There was a consensus among the individuals who participated in this study regarding appropriate and meaningful goals and priorities. These findings indicate that in this case a client centred approach to rehabilitation was extremely effective.

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