The necessity of madness in the story of surviving spinal cord injury

“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and malign. But stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of the people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Adichie (Nigerian novelist) There is a burgeoning approach to clients seeking medical care…

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Truth vs Hope

Lately, colleagues and I have been debating the issue of “prognosis”. More specifically, when it comes to people with severe illnesses or injuries, in a physical rehabilitation setting: how, when and if we should communicate “prognosis” to them? There seem to be two camps of thinking when it comes to this. On the one hand,…

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You are not Your Illness

Taking the “fall” for Parkinson’s. One of the most challenging aspects of doing psychology in a physical rehabilitation setting is that you are often faced with problems for which there is very little “cure”.  There are many illnesses that, unfortunately, are slow, persistent and sardonic in their deterioration of the nervous system.  The most a…

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Why tell stories?

“If you want to know me, then you must know my story, for my story defines who I am. And if I want to know myself, to gain insight into the meaning of my own life, then I, too, must come to know my own story. I must come to see in all its particulars…

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Cutting

From time to time I work with someone who, at some point, introduces into our conversation a concern for the fact that they harbour a secret urge to cut.  This is a habit that is very poorly understood by the general public.  In my experience, it is mostly not a “death-wish” as some might interpret. …

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Temple to the Human Spirit (1.2)

Temple to the Human Spirit Several hours a week, I have the privilege of working at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH).  Being a hospital for post-injury & illness rehabilitation; it is a place where many lives have been shattered by sudden and unexpected tragedy. People’s lives are brought to a literal standstill through illness, stroke or…

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