Psychotherapeutic follow up of out patients with traumatic brain injury: preliminary results of an individual neurosystemic approach.


UNLABELLED Psychotherapy for affective/behaviour disorders after traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains complex and controversial. The neuro-systemic approach aims at broadening the scope in order to look at behaviour impairments in context of both patient's cognitive impairments and family dysfunctioning. OBJECTIVE To report a preliminary report of a neuro-systemic psychotherapy for patients with TBI. PATIENTS AND METHODS All patients with affective/behaviour disorders referred to the same physician experienced in the neuro-systemic approach were consecutively included from 2003 to 2007. We performed a retrospective analysis of an at least 1-year psychotherapy regarding the evolution of the following symptoms: depressive mood, anxiety, bipolar impairment, psychosis, hostility, apathy, loss of control, and addictive behaviours as defined by the DSM IV. Results were considered very good when all impairments resolved, good when at least one symptom resolved, medium when at least one symptom improved, and bad when no improvement occurred, or the patient stopped the therapy by himself. RESULTS Forty-seven patients, 35 men and 12 women, with a mean age of 33.4 years, were included. Most suffered a severe TBI (mean Glasgow coma score: 6.4) 11 years on average before the inclusion. At the date of the study, 11 patients (23%) had a poor outcome, 23 (48%) suffered Moderate disability and 13 (27%) had a Good recovery on the GOS scale. All therapy sessions were performed by the same physician, with 10 sessions on average during 13.5 months. Results were classified very good in six cases (13%), good in 18 others (38%), medium in 10 patients (21%) and bad in 13 cases (27%). We observed a significant improvement of affective disorders, namely anxiety (P<0.001) depressive mood (P<0.001) and hostility (P<0.01). However, bipolar symptomatology, apathy, loss of control and addictive disorders did not improve. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION From our best knowledge, this is the first clinical report of neuro-systemic psychotherapy for affective/behaviour disturbances in TBI patients. This kind of therapy was shown to be feasible, with a high rate of compliance (72%). Psycho-affective disorders and hostility were shown to be more sensitive to therapy than other behaviour impairments. These preliminary findings have to be confirmed by prospective trials on broader samples of patients.

DOI: 10.1016/

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@article{Wiart2012PsychotherapeuticFU, title={Psychotherapeutic follow up of out patients with traumatic brain injury: preliminary results of an individual neurosystemic approach.}, author={Laurent Wiart and Emilie Richer and J M Destaillats and P-A Joseph and Patrick Dehail and J M Mazaux}, journal={Annals of physical and rehabilitation medicine}, year={2012}, volume={55 6}, pages={375-87} }