Contributed by Rachelle Martin, PhD, Burwood Academy of Independent Living
I first met Jacinta when attending an ASSBI conference in Perth in 2015 as a nervous Masters student with a strong dose of the infamous imposter syndrome. I met her again in 2019 at the ASSBI/NZRA conference in Wellington. Amazingly, she remembered what I had studied and what I was planning to do for my PhD. This is one of the many things I appreciate about her and something that comes through in her research - Jacinta is interested in people. She listens well. She is passionate about supporting others to live well. She also has great hair!
Jacinta has been involved in the production of a huge number of publications, chapters and reports. What stands out in her publication list is the diversity of projects, students and colleagues, all caring about making a difference to how people communicate who they are and what their needs and desires are.
Let me share one recent paper, authored with Kate D'Kruz and Tanya Serry, with you...
Personal narrative approaches in rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury: A synthesis of qualitative research
Head to ResearchGate to request a full copy of this publication if you would like one.
Sharing stories with others is an everyday human experience. Research evidence suggests that through narrative storytelling, we process and make sense of ourselves, creating a coherent life-narrative.
The review aimed to identify and synthesise published evidence on the use of personal narrative approaches in rehabilitation following TBI.
Findings from 12 qualitative research articles were synthesised. Written methods of narrative approaches were most evident, with only three articles utilising spoken methods, and visual methods used in two articles.
One overall theme of building a strengths-based identity was developed, with four sub-themes:
- expressing and communicating to others
- feeling validated by the act of someone listening
- reflecting and learning about oneself
- being productive.
The paper cites a poem from case study participant “Ned” (Pinhasi-Vittorio, 2007) alluding to his experience of growth from participation in writing.
When I write, I feel
When I feel I cry
Others may pass me by
but still I write to try
to figure out the past, the present + analyse the future,
of what may be to come
because I …
am not done
but am just starting
This dose do
with word these verbs just won’t slow
+will be with me while I grow (p. 121)
To quote a section from the discussion:
Successful reintegration into the community is a complex process of adjustment, coping and adaptation for both the survivors of TBI and their support network. Developing a positive identity focussed on strengths rather than impairments is increasingly understood as central to this process and reflected in holistic and multi-disciplinary approaches to TBI rehabilitation. Consistent with this strengths based approach, narrative, when understood from a constructivist perspective, presents a view on life after TBI that offers hope and a belief in the potential for change. Through story sharing, survivors of TBI are afforded a space to express and communicate their experiences and feelings, thus constructing their own personal story.
A takeaway message: seek opportunities for survivors of TBI to share their stories.
Another takeaway message: come and hear Jacinta speak for yourself!
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