Living with a brain injury, as any car accident lawyer can tell you, can be devastating not just for the victims, but also the people in their lives . Brain injury takes the highest toll on the spouse, who is now the caregiver of the person with a brain injury. Even a marriage with a strong foundation can give way when one of the spouses is now required to live with a person whose personality, in some cases, is a 180° turn from how he or she was before the injury. The challenges facing these couples are immense, and marriage counselors have found it difficult to apply traditional counseling techniques to these relationships.
The spouses of persons with a brain injury find that the injury takes a severe physical, mental, emotional and financial toll. All of this can place severe strain on the relationship. However, when you look at statistics, very few spouses actually give up on a marriage to a person with a brain injury. The divorce rate for persons with brain injuries is about 17%, much lower than the national rate.
The tools that these couples have at their disposal to keep the marriage working have been fairly limited. Many techniques that work with traditional marriage counseling do not work with persons who are dealing with a brain injury. For instance, looking back at the past and on better times may not necessarily be helpful for persons with brain injury, who are dealing with the fact that their lives will never be exactly as they were.
However, researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University have been developing counseling techniques to help people who have suffered a brain injury. Counselors believe that for these couples, it is more important to take time out from the daily challenges after a brain injury, and focus on the positive aspects of the relationship.