James Donnelly: Traumatic Brain Injuries: Overcoming the Unseen Obstacles | Bouncing Back #53

In this episode, host Joahanna Wickramaratne is joined by Dr. James Donnelly, a Senior Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer

Get ready to explore the complex cognitive and emotional issues related to TBIs and effective resilience strategies essential for recovery. Tune in to discover how perseverance can help overcome life’s most daunting obstacles.

Meet Dr. James Donnelly

Dr. James Donnelly spent 25 years as a psychology lecturer and researcher at various universities, including Tennessee State, UNE, and SCU, where he taught and supervised research in multiple psychological disciplines. Trained in biological sciences and clinical neuropsychology, he moved to Australia in 2001, contributing to significant projects like establishing a memory disorder clinic and a school-based concussion program. 

He served as Head of Psychology at Sydney Children’s Hospital before joining SCU in 2009. In 2021, he transitioned to clinical work with several organizations and, in 2023, joined the Cairnmillar Institute while maintaining a private practice.

About the episode

In this insightful episode of Bouncing Back, Dr. James Donnelly discusses his involvement with pediatric concussions and collaboration with professional sports teams. He emphasizes the importance of a therapeutic relationship in clinical psychology to make informed decisions and adapt to changes post-injury. He also discusses the broader implications of concussions in sports, including the need for resilience and the importance of finding new meaning and identity after such injuries.

Dr. James elaborates on his background in psychophysiology and neuropsychology and how these fields have shaped his understanding of brain injuries. He uses these approaches to diagnose and develop strategies for patients, emphasizing the importance of resilience and adaptive coping mechanisms after brain injuries. He also discusses the complexities of cognitive and emotional challenges post-injury.

Dr. James delves into the mechanics of concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), shedding light on the forces involved in causing brain trauma and the resulting damage to brain cells and connections. He explores the recovery process and shares insights into cognitive and emotional resilience strategies. He provides tips for cultivating resilience after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

In conclusion

In this episode, Dr. James Donnelly uncovers the complexities of human cognition, from memory formation to social interactions. Through discussions ranging from storytelling’s influence to strategies for resilience post-trauma, he provides insight into the multifaceted nature of the human mind. 

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