VaLiANT Group

Valued Living After Neurological Trauma (VaLiANT) is an eight-week group program for adults (aged 18 years or over) with an acquired brain injury (ABI) such as stroke or traumatic brain injury.

ABI can result in difficulties with memory, thinking skills and changes in mood. This can affect the ability to do meaningful and valued activities, such as work, leisure, exercise and social activities.

The group is designed to increase your participation in activities that you value while helping you learn strategies for dealing with changes in thinking and mood.

What should I expect?

As part of the group, you will:

  • identify what matters to you most in life
  • discover what helps and what prevents you from participating in valued activities
  • learn practical and effective strategies for:
    • your memory and other thinking skills, and
    • coping with difficult emotions
  • practise these strategies both within and between group sessions
  • share your thoughts and ideas with others with ABI who also experience similar difficulties.

Who can attend?

You are eligible for the VaLiANT group if you:

  • have had an ABI including but not restricted to:
    • stroke
    • traumatic brain injury (e.g. following a car accident, fall or assault)
    • hypoxic brain injury
    • epilepsy
    • multiple sclerosis
  • experience problems with memory and/or other thinking skills that affect you in everyday life e.g. forgetting names, details of conversations, appointments, or arrangements you have made
  • have difficulty coping or adjusting to the changes you have experienced since your ABI
  • would like to learn strategies to help you manage the changes you have experienced so you can participate in activities you value
  • will participate in a group with others who have experienced an ABI
  • can attend the La Trobe Psychology Clinic each week.

When is the group held?

The group runs for eight weeks and is held on Monday mornings from 10am-12pm (including breaks).

In 2020, groups will run from:

  • 3 February - 30 March (no session 9 March - Labour Day)
  • 27 July - 14 September
  • 5 October - 30 November (no session 2 November - Melbourne Cup weekend)

If you are unable to attend the Monday session, we offer individual sessions to assist with memory and other cognitive difficulties, and to provide support with emotional adjustment following an acquired brain injury. These sessions are offered in person at the La Trobe Psychology Clinic or via telehealth (using a videoconferencing program like Skype). For further information about individual sessions, visit the eNACT Clinic site.

Where is the group held?

The group sessions are held at the La Trobe Psychology Clinic in Bundoora in the George Singer Building, Room 212.

Is there an evaluation?

As a participant, you will be asked to complete assessments before and after the group. This is so we can determine what changes have resulted from participating in the group. You will be provided with a feedback report after you have completed all assessments.

What is the cost?

If you are VaLiANT program research participant, there is no cost for attending.

If you are not a research participant the group costs $80 ($10 per session for 8 sessions).

If you have funding from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), WorkSafe or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the cost will be charged according to the funding body’s fee schedule.

Who runs the group?

The main facilitator of the group is Dr Dana Wong, an experienced Clinical Neuropsychologist and Senior Lecturer specialising in the assessment and rehabilitation of cognitive and emotional difficulties associated with brain injury and illness.

The group is co-facilitated by one-two provisional psychologists who have had at least five-six years of training in psychology and are currently completing postgraduate training in Clinical Neuropsychology or Clinical Psychology.

How do I register?

To find out more or make a referral, please email the VaLiANT Group or call the eNACT group on (03) 9479 1679.

Dr Dana Wong briefly explains the research program in the below video.