Tapping into Skills of Resilience After a Brain Injury

[Dr. Herman Lukow II] The building resiliency—it's a developmental process. So it's not something that we do just at one time during life and then we're protected for the rest of our life. As a small child, it might involve just learning to be able to moderate our voice. Then as we grow, we add the skills we learn to our memory bank—to our database. The next time we have a threat, we're able to pull out those tools that we used before and apply it to the new situation and, hopefully, learn from that situation and add those tools to our toolkit. When we're talking about traumatic brain injury survivors— they may not necessarily know how to tap into their tools and to be resilient. Those lessons may be lost completely. It's more just providing some very pragmatically based coping mechanisms—something as simple as an outline for problem solving. It's through working with practical tools like that. It's not necessarily something that that survivor is going to be able to tap into from their past experiences. It's something that has to be started over. A component of that is developing a good positive outlook— remaining actively engaged with life—having awareness of what one's strengths and limitations are—the effects of their injury. So there is an educational component to it, and we find many times, depending on how long it's been and the severity of the injury, that impacts on the awareness, as well. So those are all considerations for how we try to promote resilience and develop new skill sets.

Dr. Herman Lukow talks about how people after a brain injury sometimes have to learn new ways to be resilient and positive in the face of challenges and adversity.

View more videos with Herman Lukow, PhD.

Herman Lukow

Herman R. Lukow II, PhD, NCC is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at VCU Medical Center.  He also provides counseling and psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families coping with the effects of brain injury.

Posted on BrainLine September 18, 2013.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.