Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 73–79 | Cite as

Systemic-Oriented Psychological Counselling for Caregivers of People with Severe Brain Injury: Reflections on a Clinical Case

  • Francesco Tramonti
  • Paolo Bongioanni
  • Luca Bonfiglio
  • Bruno Rossi
  • Maria Chiara Carboncini
Original Paper


Severe brain injuries can have dramatic consequences on family life, often changing rules and routines and fostering intense and prolonged caregiving duties. People affected by the injuries have to face relevant restrictions in their activities and a loss of independence. Thus, primary caregivers are often involved in their assistance, which can entail the help for self-care, movements and many activities of daily living. Furthermore, cognitive and behavioural symptoms can complicate communication, disrupt previous relationships and put an additional strain on all family members. Indeed, caregiving relationships take place in wider familial and societal contexts and are obviously influenced by previous characteristic of such relationships, as they were before the onset of the pathological condition. Therefore, a thorough examination of typical emotions, feelings and thoughts that can emerge during caregiving must be paralleled by an ecological and developmental perspective, in order to appraise the complexity of these cases and provide effective interventions. The present work aims to address such topics taking inspiration from a clinical case.


Acquired brain injury Caregiving Family Psychological counselling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest, since they have received no funding for the present work. The story is based on a clinical case which has been modified enough to be unrecognisable without loosing the clinical relevance. An informed consent has been collected.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Tramonti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paolo Bongioanni
    • 3
  • Luca Bonfiglio
    • 3
  • Bruno Rossi
    • 3
  • Maria Chiara Carboncini
    • 4
  1. 1.Clinical Psychology UnitUniversity Hospital of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Relational Psychotherapy InstitutePisaItaly
  3. 3.Neurorehabilitation UnitUniversity Hospital of PisaPisaItaly
  4. 4.Severe Acquired Brain Injury UnitUniversity Hospital of PisaPisaItaly

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