Acceptance of Post-Injured Self: Kindly, Gradually, Slowly

Clinical psychologist Mariann Young talks about the importance of being in a safe group like a support group or a Special Olympics team to help build confidence post-TBI.

See more video clips with Dr. Mariann Young.

[Mariann Young, PhD] Kindly, gradually, slowly is the way that you try and assist someone in accepting who they are. [Mariann Young, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.] You're going to be met with a lot of defenses. You're going to be met across the board with the fact that these teens don't have insight into their injury. They really don't have an appreciation a lot of the time for their cognitive impairments, their memory impairments, their lack of processing, their disinhibition— that as soon as they're in a room with same-age peers, they have an appreciation for it, but the kids don't. So you kindly and you gradually and you in a fun way a lot of times insert the education so that you're not always hitting them on the head with, well, you're injured because and you're injured in this. They don't want to hear it. They're done with it. They're done with their injury, so you kind of have to go around about it, a lot of times, in a different way and not hit them over the head with it but, oh, you might want to do this. Oh, you can do this. Oh, you still can have fun. What we've found is—and I can't say enough about Special Olympics, especially for kids who were former athletes or kids who want to continue with athleticism but don't stand a chance of making the high school basketball team, and they can't play football anymore, or they want to play baseball, soccer, and our kids try out for Special Olympics, and they've been on tons of different teams, and it's a wonderful organization, and they love it. And they fit in, and it's highly competitive, and it's based on their skill level, and it's been a wonderful experience for them. And in working with athletics and working with teams and working in groups, a lot of that translates into the school system, and that reward's immeasurable because truly in a lot of the classrooms you have to work within a group; and as an injured person who may stick out anyway, you want to be able to work within that group. So the more that you learn to share, the more that you learn that you can, in fact, put yourself out there while in a group and listen because everyone does make a mistake. No one's perfect. The more confidence that you'll have, and you'll be able to do that within a school system. The more that you are—whether working in a team in sports or a team within the group, you'll learn then that you can have an idea, that you can present it in a kind of cohesive or hopefully a cohesive manner, that you can listen to other people without having to blurt out, and translate and work within the team and then work independently, to some extent, too. I think it's just been very helpful whether a team, whether within a group.
Posted on BrainLine April 30, 2014.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine.