Narrative Inquiry into Family Functioning after a Brain Injury
Bamber, Andrew Thomas
The lived experiences of the family of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivor is an under represented, yet growing field of qualitative psychological research. This thesis used a case study approach with a family in which one member sustained TBI thirteen years previously. Using conversational unstructured interview techniques, I participated with the family in eliciting public narratives around their experiences since the accident. These public stories were also thickened by individual interviews, which both supported and contradicted the public narratives. In the analysis I found two major narrative lines, the first of which was the baby-‐ narrative which held that the injured person must not be injured any further in word or deed and must be protected at all time. The second dominant narrative was the fighting-‐narrative, which was characterised by language and actions around fighting/battling on behalf of the injured person against uncaring ‘others’. Several important suppressed or counter narratives emerged during the individual interviews, which could not be spoken about publically. I conclude that the power of the two dominant narratives is fuelled by constant rehearsal and enactment, which actually freezes the family and does not allow it to move forward. Suppressed stories are discussed as a possible avenue for therapeutic growth and for the evolution of the family story as they age.