How can caregivers help their spouses address problems that the spouse doesn't see?
If someone is not aware that there are problems after a brain injury, it’s difficult to convince them that there are problems. And so when we have survivors who have profound self-awareness challenges, we’ll often have caregivers or spouses who are very invested in making positive changes, but are struggling with convincing their spouse that those changes need to be made.
One way around that is that sometimes spouses are able to convince a partner who has had a brain injury to make changes for the spouse's benefit. So if I’m married to someone who has a brain injury, I might say to that person, "I know that you feel like things are going fine, but I’m struggling right now. I’m hoping that you might make these changes because I need that help, and if you make these changes, I might be able to do better." Sometimes you can create motivation for change that way.
Emilie Godwin, PhD, LPC, MFT is a faculty member and licensed clinician at Virginia Commonwealth University, with a specialty focus on couples and family counseling after brain injury. Currently, she serves as the Family Support Program Coordinator for the VCU TBI Model System projects.