Skip to main content
Log in

Utilizing a Narrative Therapy Approach with Couples Who Have Experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury to Increase Intimacy

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Contemporary Family Therapy Aims and scope Submit manuscript


More individuals within the U.S. suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) than breast cancer or HIV/aids and is one of the leading causes of disability. Due to the prevalence and severity of TBIs, it is essential for couple, marriage, and family therapists to understand TBIs common symptoms and treatment options for couples struggling with intimacy post diagnosis. Despite the need for further discussion and guidance, minimal literature presently exists incorporating a systemic approach for couples where one partner has encountered a TBI. In an effort to address this gap, the present article aims to provide, (1) awareness and contextual understanding on how TBI’s shape couples experiences and (2) a suggested approach for treating couples to enhance their intimacy through a narrative lens. Those who experience a TBI can face many symptoms including increased impulsivity, disinhibition, aggression, lack of communication, depression, and sexual dysfunction. Narrative therapy may be uniquely equipped to assist couples experiencing these symptoms from a TBI by allowing couples to externalize the problem, create new experiences around this problem, and strengthen their new experiences. This suggested approach is delineated, applied to a clinical example, and discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lindsey G. Hawkins.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

There were no potential conflicts of interest.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

This manuscript did not involve any human or animal participants as it is a theoretical manuscript based entirely on prior research. The case vignette presented in this paper is fictional, and any connection to real people or events is coincidental.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hawkins, L.G., Eggleston, D. & Brown, C.C. Utilizing a Narrative Therapy Approach with Couples Who Have Experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury to Increase Intimacy. Contemp Fam Ther 41, 304–315 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: