Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kurt M. Gehlert; Consuelo Cavalieri


Moderate to severe pediatric traumatic brain injury impacts hundreds of thousands of children annually, resulting in long-term neurobehavioral sequelae. The caregiver, who is typically a child’s parent(s), is essential to the child’s rehabilitation outcome. However, providing care to a child with a brain injury has a variety of consequences for caregivers, leading to caregiver distress and burden, and a lower quality of life. A parental caregiver’s well-being plays an important role in the health of the caregiver, the family system as a whole, and the care recipient's rehabilitation outcome. However, interventions to meet their needs are lacking. A group intervention specific for parental caregivers of children with brain injuries could meet the caregiver needs. Caregivers have identified they would benefit from a professionally facilitated support group, and parallel groups for caregivers demonstrate promising results. A psychoeducational group would bridge the gap between literature and practice to help ameliorate educational deficits and psychological problems. It would also provide tools to help caregivers better cope with a problem they may be facing by imparting, discussing, and integrating information. This doctoral project has used the research literature as a guide to develop a support group manual for parental caregivers of children with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. This group is designed to be facilitated by a mental health professional. Based on available literature regarding caregiver struggles and needs, the following proposed group topics are warranted: psychoeducation, coping, problem-solving, advocacy and communication, ambiguous loss, psychosocial interventions, and promotion of caregiver wellness.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.