The wake of traumatic brain injury in a young woman: A case history analysis

Barbara Toner (1998)

This dissertation bridges the phenomenological world of the traumatically brain-injured with the clinical world of the psychologist. It is an exegesis, a critical interpretation of a case history which includes reflections on the phenomena reported and implications for treatment of severely brain-injured survivors. Applying ideas from selected Object Relations theorists, specifically Winnicott and Horner, and from Levinson, an adult developmentalist, the writer has presented the story of her daughter's traumatic injury through the professional and clinical lens of the psychologist, and the experiential and personal lens of the parent. Clinical contributions include the concepts of: Blind Grief, an insidious reaction to unidentified loss and a retrospective grief which occurs only after the loss has been identified and acknowledged; Post-Traumatic Amnesia and Disorientation, the addition of a developmental period of psychological disorientation which accompanies the post-coma stage of recovery to the established Post-Traumatic Amnesia period; the application of adult developmental theory to the brain-injured population; and a new view of "command performance syndrome" previously reported in the literature. Implications for clinical treatment are included.