Volunteers needed to help develop a new therapy

The University of Birmingham is looking for volunteers to develop a new therapy which helps brain injury survivors focus on seeing themselves as the person they were before their trauma, and to maintain a good relationship with their partner.

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Continuity Therapy tackles the way it challenges people’s sense of identity. Often survivors can take on a new individual identity in which the brain injury takes centre stage, which research suggests can have a negative effect on their wellbeing.

The psychological therapy is based on evidence suggesting that a sense of disconnection with the past has harmful effects on psychological wellbeing of the couple and the relationship.

The team behind the study, which is being led by Associate Professor Dr Gerry Riley at the university and is funded by the National Institute of Health Research and supported by Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, are now looking for people to receive the therapy, which can be delivered online.

Dr Riley said: “ABI can put a lot of strain on a marriage or a relationship, and the aim of the therapy is to try and help couples keep a good relationship. It involves a life review to reflect on how, although some things have changed, a lot has not and working on goals to bring the person’s day-to-day life closer to what it was like before the trauma.

“Brain injury can obviously turn your life upside down. Some things you have to stop, but people often stop things that they can still do, even if it’s in a different way.

“As well as looking at the relationship, we do something similar for each individual in the relationship. Looking at what was important to them before the injury: what changed; what had to change and what didn’t have to change; and helping them to think about how they can do some of the things that are important to them, that matter to them.”

Couples are given goals to work on to bring their everyday life back in line with their pre-identity as individuals and as a couple. For example, during the therapy, the couple identify ways in which they expressed their love and concern for one another before the injury. They review which of those are still happening and which have been lost and they are then supported to reintroduce the lost ones.

The therapy parallels SameYou’s ethos of survivors knowing they haven’t lost the person they were before their brain injury.

The therapy is around 10 sessions, with each lasting around an hour. If you are interested in learning more, please view the study’s website.


Study website


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