‘I knew it wasn’t me but I was told it was’ - the broken self after brain injury and unbroken counter-stories

Makela, P. 2016. ‘I knew it wasn’t me but I was told it was’ - the broken self after brain injury and unbroken counter-stories . Broken Narrative and the Lived Body. University of Monash @ Prato 18 - 20 Apr 2016

Title‘I knew it wasn’t me but I was told it was’ - the broken self after brain injury and unbroken counter-stories
AuthorsMakela, P.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Master narratives comprise socially shared understandings, which may be used to justify practices. Following brain injury, unspoken assumptions within healthcare services depict a ‘loss of self’ (Nochi, 1998), which sanction the use of vehicles of power, such as clinical assessments, to objectively diagnose the damage a person has sustained. The individual‘s experience may become depersonalised through a reduction of the whole inner person to selected components, for example cognitive performance or emotion ratings (Gelech and Desjardins, 2010).

Personal stories told by people after brain injury reveal more complex, interwoven aspects of continuity and disruption, in which a subjective sense of sameness can exist in the face of internal and external change. This presentation will illustrate the ways in which ‘counter-stories’ can be positioned against the master narrative of ‘broken’ or ‘lost’ self after brain injury, making visible unique aspects of self that may be experienced as unaltered.

Redevelopment of ‘a sense of broken self’ has been considered to be an important focus within rehabilitation after brain injury (Muenchberger at al, 2008). However, for those who feel a sense of personal continuity, this may be problematic. Understanding stories from the point of view of those who tell them can facilitate fuller insight into people’s experiences and their own under-acknowledged resources, opening doors to alternative ways of thinking and working with people in the context of brain injury.

KeywordsMaster narrative; counter-story; sense of self; brain injury
Year2016
ConferenceBroken Narrative and the Lived Body

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