Lifeworld-led rehabilitation – a new approach to support psychosocial wellbeing following acquired brain injury.

Authors: Ellis-Hill, C.

Conference: 41st ASSBI Annual Brain Impairment Conference

Dates: 4-5 May 2018


A traditional approach to ABI rehabilitation contributes many useful developments in physical and psychological rehabilitation and recovery. As clinicians we have expertise, we carry out observations and work out what needs doing to improve things for people living with ABI in the future. However there is a danger that only looking in this objective scientific way can create unintended cultural and practice limitations. These include: i) separation between clinician and a) service users, b) their own feelings c) their own moral compass ii) clinicians focusing on what can be measured/assessed rather than what they feel is important and iii) a need for control and the associated blame culture. Overall this can lead to a reduction in wellbeing for all concerned.

A lifeworld–led approach to rehabilitation has a very different underlying logic and offers us the ability to prioritise subjective experience which in turn creates new understandings and connections. The approach is based on the philosophical work of Husserl. Our lifeworld is our everyday flow of life as we experience it, or what our life feels like from the inside out. When accessing lifeworld knowledge a) we are in the present, in our bodies, b) open to ‘not knowing’ and curious, c) in a safe space d) where learning is shared. This allows connection, creativity, and confidence to flourish. Three early studies based on these principles, a) the HeART of stroke project, b) Humanising care on a stroke ward, and c) the role of the expert companion in long-term ABI services, have shown to have powerful effects and will be discussed in this presentation .

Source: Manual