Brain Injury Coping Skills (BICS) Group
A Class for Both Patient and Family
Who: For the survivor of brain injury and his or her caregiver/family
What: Sessions are designed to help patients better understand the effects of brain injury, what to expect in terms of recovery, the important role that family plays in rehabilitation, signs and symptoms of depression, and ways of managing challenging behavioral and emotional situations. Stress management and problem-solving skills, including how to better cope with the effects of the injury on a long-term basis, will be covered.
When: 16 weeks, 2-hour sessions
How: Call the Practice Manager, at (317) 329-2194 to be placed on a waiting list for the next session
It gives us tools to think about. There is no other group like this. We are so blessed to be able to get this information. Everybody should go through this group. You don’t have to have a brain injury to benefit from all of this.
More About BICS
Brain injury brings certain challenges in applying traditional group therapy techniques.
- Traditional group psychotherapy does not address the unique behavioral and cognitive challenges associated with brain injury.
- Traditional group therapy does not provide the structure necessary for people with brain injury.
- There is no evidence that traditional group therapy helps with the cognitive, behavioral or emotional challenges associated with brain injury.
- While support groups can be useful sources of social support, there is no evidence that they result in cognitive, behavioral, or emotional improvement in people with brain injury or their families.
As a consequence, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI) Drs. Backhaus created the Brain Injury Coping Skills Group (BICS) as a research trial and have demonstrated the effectiveness of this group in several prestigious publications. BICS is a specialized 15-week group therapy that offers a unique opportunity to brain injury survivors and their caregivers to learn techniques for adapting to and managing daily brain injury-related cognitive and behavioral challenges, all while still developing important psychosocial bonds with similar individuals. Unlike a typical support group, BICS is led by a brain injury-trained clinician whose goals are to provide education about:
- The effects of their injury,
- Expectations for recovery,
- Factors that affect ongoing functioning.
In addition, participants are taught specialized techniques for managing issues related to anger, depression, hostility, grief, irritability, and anxiety, all common after brain injury and. found to affect a person’s ability to return to work and to maintain stable employment.
The aim of BICS is not to keep them in a "feel good" experience indefinitely–as in the case of traditional individual or group psychotherapy–but to teach them appropriate skills to use on their own and maintain those effects over time.
Research performed at RHI has demonstrated that individuals who participated in BICS showed significantly reduced anger and impulsivity over time in comparison to participants who received a weekly support group. Both BICS and weekly support group participants showed significantly improved confidence, but BICS participants were particularly able to maintain these effects over time. Studies also showed that both individuals who participate in BICS as well as in a control group improve emotional functions, but the control group showed significant emotional distress over time. Overall, in comparison to standard support groups, the BICS treatment promotes better adjustment and utilization of skills that can be maintained over time in persons with brain injury and their caregivers.
In summary, traditional psychotherapy does not meet the needs of the patient with brain injury or their family. Support groups are important sources of support, but they are not a clinical intervention and are without evidence of impact. Fortunately, BICS has been demonstrated to be effective. RHI is proud to have developed BICS through research and then, in turn, to offer it as a very specialized service.
Brain Injury Coping Skills Group: A Preventative Intervention for Patients with Brain Injury and Their Caregivers
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 91, Issue 11, 1793
Authors: Samantha L. Backhaus, PhD, Summer L. Ibarra, PhD, Daniel Klyce, PhD, Lance E. Trexler, PhD, James F. Malec, PhD. Department of Neuropsychology, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN.