Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Demystifying Psychology in Neuro-Rehabilitation: Emotional Support

The following is a presentation to neuro-rehabilitation multi-disciplinary staff explaining the role of the clinical psychologist when supporting patients with emotional distress.

The Core Roles of a Clinical Psychologist
To work as part of the MDT
To conduct cognitive assessments and to make recommendations
To provide emotional support and psychological treatments to patients who require them…. This is the focus of this presentation.

Common Emotional Symptoms in Neuro-Rehabilitation
Depression and low mood
Low mood

The Need for Addressing Emotional Symptoms
Primary reason is to address the ongoing personal distress of the patient.
However, emotional symptoms are also addressed because they are:
To the detriment of the rehab potential
Have a negative impact upon family and friends
Increase the risk of suicide/harm

What does emotional support really mean?
Different from full-on therapy
Patient needs to be onboard
Timing has to be right
Sometimes the goals is an improvement in mood, sometimes it preserves mood and ‘gets people through’ a difficult spell.

Other Key Factors of the Patient
Personal history
Personality before the event
Style that they were parented in/early experiences
Psychiatric history (previous mental illness)
Relevance of any neurological deficits
Level of support from others
Level of personal resilience and coping style

A Psychologist Basic Tools: Listening Skills
To provide a safe/private place to talk
To clarify what they mean and to summarise
To listen and resist offering too much opinion or direction
To consider that some behaviours may be ‘attempted solutions’ to a problem
To guide the patient in discovering their own solutions

More Advanced Psychological Techniques
Behavioural Experiments
Challenging negative thoughts
Identity work
Stress management
Assertiveness work
Empty chair work
Therapeutic letters

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