LymphMOVE with Strive

If you have lymphoedema, whether as a result of surgery, radiation or hereditary -  this class is for you!

Evidence shows that exercise is essential in optimising movement of fluid through the lymphatic system.

Strive Clinic Chartered Physiotherapists have combined Pilates and specific exercises to target the lymphatic system and offer a unique class to enhance lymph flow and help to reduce swelling.

LymphMove Poster - for SM.jpg

This class will be delivered in the rehabilitation gym of Strive Clinic Galway, located on Level 2, Briarhill Shopping Centre, Galway. Call 091 393 180 to book your place!

Physical Health Psychology at Strive Clinic


The Physical Health Psychology Service at Strive Clinic supports people with chronic physical health conditions through helping them manage the psychological and emotional impact of these conditions on their lives. This includes considering the interaction between the patient’s illness and their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Who can benefit from a Physical Health Psychology service?

People attending our Physical Health Psychology Service fall into two broad categories;

  • People who are having psychological difficulties in managing their long-term illness
  • People who have developed a secondary psychological problem due to the diagnosis itself and/or events surrounding living with a long-term condition.

Illness which can generate significant psychological adjustment difficulties include:

  • Cancer diagnosis (solid and blood malignancies)
  • Chronic Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac failure/MI (heart attack)
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Palliative diagnoses

Common challenges

We offer support to patients in coming to terms with diagnosis and treatment especially where this may include:

  • unwanted changes in identity, role or appearance
  • fatigue
  • low mood
  • anxiety and stress caused by living with and managing the illness
  • existential issues
  • uncertainty about future prognosis and treatment
  • fear of recurrence of illness
  • maintaining control over life
  • adjusting to life with the condition and worries about how the illness is affecting loved ones
  • eating distress associated with side effects of aggressive treatment
  • post-traumatic stress following diagnosis or because of treatment

The service is also open to family members and carers of those living with long-term conditions.

These problems can generate more formally known psychological illnesses such as;

  • depression
  • generalised anxiety
  • insomnia
  • agoraphobia
  • acute stress disorder
  • substance abuse

The Physical Health Psychology Service works in partnership with patients to reduce the distress commonly associated with chronic, long-term or life-threatening illness and improve their overall psychological and emotional well-being. Using research based psychological knowledge, we provide assessment, suggest strategies and support people in making the psychological adjustment to living with illness and help them build resilience despite the challenges physical limitations can create.

How we work

During the initial consultation, the psychologist will assess your needs, abilities or behaviour using a variety of methods, including psychometric questionnaires, interviews and direct observation.

This will inform development of an intervention programme, including therapy, counselling or advice. In consultation with you, a therapy programme will be mutually agreed.

Various therapy models may be employed to assist psychological adjustment including

  • Psycho-education regarding the impact of the illness
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Behavioural Therapy

In order to provide the best possible care, the Psychologist may liaise with medical and allied health professionals to ensure that enhanced psychological care can be offered.

If the Psychologist identifies other conditions or factors influencing adjustment you may be offered referral to other disciplines within Strive Clinic to help you meet your goals.

 Dr. John Donohue, Clinical Psychologist, Strive Clinic Galway

Dr. John Donohue, Clinical Psychologist, Strive Clinic Galway

Physical Health Psychology Team

Dr. John Donohue is Clinical Psychologist at Strive Clinic Galway and has a specific interest and experience in the psychological challenges facing people who are living with physical medical conditions, e.g. cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, etc. Prior to joining Strive Clinic, John spent 10 years working in the area of Physical Health Psychology in the NHS. 

How to refer

Consultants, GP’s and other healthcare professionals may refer patients by contacting Strive Clinic Galway. Due to the added complexity of physical health factors, written referrals are requested from referrers stating the illness, current treatment plans and the reasons for the referral. These can be faxed to 091 393 181 or emailed to 

You can also refer yourself to this psychology service and if further medical information is required our healthcare team at Strive Clinic will contact your GP or hospital team (with your consent) to get more medical information about your case. You can call 091 393 180 to make an appointment.

Payment & Reimbursement

Specialist rehabilitation services at Strive Clinic are recognised by all major health insurers. Extent of cover depends on policy held – please contact individual insurers or Strive Clinic Reception for more details. The cost of an initial appointment with Dr. John Donohue, Clinical Psychologist at Strive Clinic Galway, is €120 for 75 minutes. Follow up appointments last 60 minutes and the fee is €100. Reduced fees are available for students and medical card holders.


Cancer - Have you lost your appetite?

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Do you no longer have a desire to eat? Have you lost the enjoyment of food?  Do you eat a small amount and feel full?  Does half of your food go untouched? These are just some of the things that people with a cancer diagnosis may experience.

We know that loss of appetite is particularly common for those with a cancer diagnosis and this can happen anytime - before, during or after cancer treatment. When this happens, it is common for people to eat less than they usually would, many experience a feeling of ‘fullness’ despite only eating very small amounts while others may not feel like eating at all.

Without consciously realising, we have many fixed routines and habitual practices when it comes to food. Some of these routines can include eating at set times – for example at breakfast, lunch and dinner or choosing similar foods to eat on a routine basis – for example having the same breakfast of say - porridge and toast every morning.

Recent surveys (Bord Bia, 2013) report that 85% of Irish people believe its is important to spend time together as a family over dinner while 70% of Irish people report enjoyment from being able to cook a meal. When people lose their appetite, they are likely to start to think and feel differently about food and the social circumstances that surround this. Simple tasks and daily routines – like preparing food, cooking a meal, sitting down to eat as a family or going out to eat in a restaurant - suddenly become an unsavoury (for want of a better word!) challenge for many.

So, what causes a loss of appetite for those with a cancer diagnosis?

There are many factors which can contribute to a loss of appetite when someone has a cancer diagnosis.  Some of these include:

  • Stress and emotional trauma associated with a new cancer diagnosis
  • Changes in metabolism
  • The type, size or location of the tumour. For example, tumours located on the head or neck area have the potential to cause swallowing difficulties while tumours located on or near the gastrointestinal tract (like stomach, bowel, ovarian or pancreatic cancer) can cause a variety of digestive problems.
  • Side effects associated with some cancer treatments including; early satiety (feeling full), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits will also negatively affect appetite
  • Fatigue: in some cases, this can leave people feeling they do not have the energy to prepare food and cook a meal let alone sit down and eat. - Coping with Cancer-Related Fatigue  
  • Sensitivity to cooking smells: particularly strong smells (e.g. fish, meats, onions, soups) which tend to ‘waft’ when hot
  • Changes in taste Tips for taste changes
  • Uncontrolled pain
  • Depression

Does it really matter?

At some stage, it is likely we may all experience a loss in appetite. For most, this is usually not serious and can be a side effect to common illnesses e.g. colds/ flu, gastrointestinal viruses or ‘bugs’.  When this happens, appetite loss is usually only for a few days and once we feel well again our appetite tends to come back quite quickly!

For a person with a cancer diagnosis loss of appetite is different.

Loss of appetite for someone experiencing cancer tends to last for more than just a few days and for some it can be cyclical depending on treatments and medication. It can lead to an unbalanced diet and an inadequate intake of energy (calories), protein and micronutrients (vitamins & minerals). If this happens, weight loss is likely, which in turn can contribute to increased levels of fatigue, reduced strength and for some, a delay in recovery.

What can be done to help my appetite?

Firstly, to provide a solution, it is important to establish the cause! 

It is important to speak with a nurse, GP, consultant or medical professional to discuss your concerns. In some cases, loss of appetite may be secondary to a symptom which is amenable to treatment. For example, appetite loss related to nausea can often be helped with the prescription of anti-sickness medication. You may also be referred to a dietitian.

If I am referred to a dietitian what can they do?

A Dietitian is a degree-trained nutrition expert and the only qualified health professional that can assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition-related conditions.



If you have been referred or wish to refer yourself to a dietitian because of loss of appetite they will typically ask you for information about your weight and usually take a diet history (a record of a ‘typical day’ of eating). They may also ask you questions about symptoms or circumstances which may be impacting on your appetite.  Once they have fully assessed your diet they will typically provide you with practical nutritional advice to help ensure your diet is as balanced as possible with an aim of preventing weight loss going forward. Ongoing support and nutritional reviews is dependent on the individual needs of the patient.   


Ten Top tips for loss of appetite

1.   Choose a ‘little and often’ approach: aim to eat every 2-3 hours.

2.   Choose smaller meals: aim to have 6-8 small plates of food throughout the day.

3.   Choose foods and snacks which are higher in energy (calories) and protein. Avoid foods which are aimed at people trying to lose weight e.g. ‘low fat’ or ‘light’ ranges.

4.   Do not restrict yourself or avoid specific food groups (unless you have been asked to by your doctor or dietitian). Make the most of your appetite and when it is good – eat what you want!

5.   Choose meals that are easy to prepare and do not require long periods of time standing or cooking in the kitchen. Some people may also find it helpful to cook in bulk and freeze. If you can - get someone to help with shopping or cooking.

6.   If hot foods are causing symptoms, avoid cooking smells and choose cold snacks / meals.

7.   If you cannot manage to eat a meal or snack, try to have a nourishing drink instead. Milk-based products tend to be a good choice. 

8.   Try to drink in between meals as drinking with meals can make you feel full more quickly.

9.   Consider trying prescribed nutritional supplement drinks (special high calorie shakes) - your doctor or dietitian can advise further.

10.  If you think the side effects of a treatment or medication is causing your loss of appetite, approach a health professional e.g. a doctor / nurse specialist and ask if there are any medications which can help!

(adapted from the Irish Cancer Society website)


Will my appetite come back?

Yes, for most people appetite loss is temporary, however it is difficult to provide a time-frame as it tends to depend on many individual factors relating to both the diagnosis and the treatments.

Remember - Think of food as part of your treatment. Food is Fuel 😊

To schedule an appointment with our Registered Dietitian Joanne McCarron based in Strive Clinic Galway call 091 393 180

 We also have a new Registered Dietitian at Strive Clinic Killybegs - Fiona Chawke. To schedule an appointment call 074 971 3100






Nutrition in Pregnancy: Does it matter? - Online Workshop


Pregnant? Confused about what foods you should include or avoid? Or just want reassurance that you’re on the right track?

Access this informative Live Online Workshop....Nutrition in Pregnancy: Does it matter?....Delivered by Joanne McCarron, experienced Registered Dietitian from Strive Clinic.

We will be hosting a live online workshop on diet during your pregnancy for women in their first or second trimester.

Join us and learn about the optimal diet to help support you and your baby during this exciting time!

Eventbrite - Nutrition in Pregnancy: Does it matter?

Pregnancy is such an exciting time, yet for some expectant mothers it can also be an anxious time as they try to do the best they can by their unborn baby.

While in the womb, your baby will directly rely on you for nutrients and nourishment making healthy eating a vital part of any pregnancy. It is important that you provide optimal nutrition to allow your baby to both grow and develop, giving them the best start in life!

Most women will know that they need to make some changes to their diet and lifestyle during this time, however it can be difficult for expectant mothers to know what key nutrients are needed, how to ensure you include these nutrients as part of your diet and what foods are best avoided.

Remember what you choose to eat and drink during your pregnancy will influence the long-term health of your unborn baby.

If you are keen to learn more about the optimal diet during pregnancy, why not book into our live online workshop.


The Workshop

During this workshop we will focus on how you can eat well during your pregnancy including discussing what specific nutrients are needed to help support the growth and development of your baby. We will also discuss what foods are best avoided and provide you with tips to help you eat well if common problems such as heartburn or nausea occur.

This live online workshop will be interactive and informative. There will be plenty of time for you to ask questions so that you can leave with all the answers that you come to get!

The live online workshop will take place on Tuesday February 27th at 6pm.


Who is the workshop aimed at?

This workshop is suitable for all pregnant women in trimester 1 or 2 (very early stages of pregnancy up to approximately 28 weeks).


 joanne mccarron, registered dietitian, strive clinic galway

joanne mccarron, registered dietitian, strive clinic galway

Who will deliver this workshop?

This live online workshop will be delivered by Joanne McCarron, Registered Dietitian based at Strive Clinic Galway.


What will you get from this workshop?

  • Up to date advice from a CORU registered dietitian
  • Lots of practical tips to help make positive changes to your diet for both you and your growing baby
  • Understand which foods to include or avoid during pregnancy
  • The opportunity to ask questions



Eventbrite - Nutrition in Pregnancy: Does it matter?

The cost of this informative online workshop is just €20.


Note: This online educational workshop is designed to provide general evidence-based nutritional advice relevant to pregnant women. It is not designed as an alternative to individualised advice from your Obstetrician, GP or midwife in cases where specific needs are present.

Why Valentines' Causes HeartBreak

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Usually there is an upsurge in the demand for couple therapy between January-March. The reasons for this are many. Firstly it is cold, dark and wet and most of us have some sort of seasonal affective disorder in these months, which makes us irritable, tired and likely to snap at those closest to us. And I mean ‘closest’ in the literal sense of proximity; this does tend to be our partner. Secondly it is the aftermath of Christmas.

Christmas is held up as a time to spend with families, exchanging gifts, expressing our love for each other, laughing heartily and eating amazing food. In truth, families tend to over-spend – which makes January even more miserable because of the extra credit card bills – argue and stress out about overcooked turkey. Kids cry because they have been fed sugar all day and then given gifts; they are wired to the max. Couples argue because in-laws wind them up.

They arrive in couple therapy in January bedraggled, exhausted and lost because they have done little except argue for the past month. However, it is a good thing to come to couple therapy in January because then with your therapist you can think about the next hurdle in the relationship track: Valentines Day.

When a couple come in to see me in a particularly bad way I often scan the calendar in my mind to think about whether there is an external event that has set off the crisis; valentines, birthdays...all these days of celebration turn into days of tremendous stress for couples who are having difficulties and in fact for couple who aren’t. Why? The stress we experience is made up of three intertwining factors – pressure, gifts and surprises or, better put, the pressure for gifts and surprises.

Let me tell you some things that might help ease this terrible trio so you can start to relax

  1. Your partner is not psychic. I promise this is true. Whatever you are thinking you really want for Valentines, he doesn’t know. He has no idea. Unless you have told him, but that is still not him being psychic. If you really want that thing, just tell him (and don’t hint at it because that’s not the same; he must be told). If you don’t tell him then be prepared to get something different and for that to be okay.
  2. Your partner is different from you. No matter what ideas you have about what would be a wonderful Valentines gift, he is thinking something different. Your idea of a romantic evening will not be the same as his. If you want it a certain way then plan it yourself or else try to go with the flow of his idea.
  3. Stop thinking that everyone else is doing wonderful romantic things. This fantasy about other’s relationships increases the pressure on your own. Believe me, everyone is thinking everyone else is having more fun than them.
  4. This stuff doesn’t matter. The strength in a couple is not how they do it right, but how they cope when things go wrong.

Now let me explain what is happening around Valentines from a psychodynamic perspective and why there is so much desperate need for the perfect surprise gift. When you were in your mother’s womb you got given all the nutrition, warmth and comfort that you needed. This relationship was symbiotic; Scottish psychoanalyst Fairbairn called it the ‘ideal’. We all have this experience stored in our bodies and a bit of all of us wants to return to that womb-like place where we didn’t have to use our minds or bodies to speak our needs. However, the symbiotic relationship is not a relationship as such because we are part of our mother’s body, attached literally by the umbilical cord, whereas a relationship implies an interaction between two separate people. Valentines Day unconsciously triggers our hope for symbiosis (interestingly sex does the same) and we hope either subconsciously or consciously that our partner will KNOW what we need and want without us giving any clue. He can’t because this is an actual relationship based on different bodies and minds… so in short, we set ourselves up for a fall.

The heartbreak you feel when your partner gets it completely wrong, therefore, is not actually related to the current relationship but related to the primary trauma of being cut from the umbilical cord. When you yell at your partner because she got you a card from the newsagent across the road, you are raging against the primary separation of birth that left your senses reeling.

What Valentines day brings to a fore is difference between you and your partner. What difference brings to a fore is that you are separate people who can come and go as you please. You might be with a long-term partner, married, engaged, but you can separate if one of you decides to. You are in a non-symbiotic relationship and this is scary. When we were attached to our mother’s body we couldn’t leave them and they couldn’t leave us, there is comfort in that… when the cord is cut anything can happen. There is no cord between you and your partner and so when they get it wrong, on a day when there is so much pressure to get it right, you realise unconsciously that they do not KNOW you, that they cannot KNOW you because they are separate from you and because they are separate they can leave you.

Their mistake about the card then becomes an unconscious warning sign for an imagined abandonment; they didn’t get it right, they don’t KNOW me, they will leave me. Every separation in your mind become unconsciously flagged up – whether it is a separation in conscious memory or not – first day of school, first day of nursery, leaving to go to university, being weaned, weaning your own children – this little loss that your partner has triggered (in puncturing your unconscious symbiotic fantasy via getting it ‘wrong’) in turn triggers a heap of other losses that we are continuously processing throughout our lives. It is a domino effect.

Now let me say it again; the strength of a relationship is not in how couples get it right, but how they cope when things go wrong. If you and your partner can allow for Valentine’s to be a mess and laugh about it, while acknowledging the sadness in the loss of the ideal – candle lit dinners, flowers and chocolate – then you are in a strong relationship.
— Linsey Blair, Psychosexual & Relationship Psychotherapist, Strive Clinic Galway

Remember there is no right and wrong, there is just difference and difference is something we should celebrate. I, for one, would not like to be in a relationship with myself.

You can wish Valentine’s day had been better; you can wish he was more romantic, but at the same time it is important to realise that you choose him because of who he was and if he wasn’t romantic then, he is unlikely to be so now. He or she has other qualities that drew you in; concentrate on those. A symbiotic “relationship” might have its upsides, but the truth is it requires one person to be mindless so as the other can take over (think Fifty Shades of Grey). So my advice is lower the pressure, get that dine in for two at M&S, have a laugh, and remember it’s a whole other year before this day comes round again….and if you want help to think about how to cope the next time Valentines comes round, well… you can always come and see me.

Linsey Blair is Psychosexual & Relationship Psychotherapist at Strive Clinic Galway.

Relationship Therapy is helpful for common relationship problems such as breakdown of communication, arguing, parenting together, affairs, working through separation or divorce and making shared decisions. Sexual challenges helped include loss of desire, lack of sex, painful intercourse, erectile disorder, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, anorgasmia, sex after sexual trauma and sex addiction may benefit from Psychosexual Therapy. Other issues involving sexuality and gender identity can also be addressed.

For an appointment with Linsey you can call 091 393 180.

Managing Cancer-Related Memory & Concentration Problems - Workshop Series


'Chemobrain' is a common term used to describe thinking, memory and concentration problems that can arise after a cancer diagnosis or treatment.

Some of the common symptoms of chemobrain are:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling unusually confused at times
  • Being disorganised
  • Feeling mental foginess
  • Being unable to keep attention
  • Difficulty finding the right word
  • Poor short term memory
  • Forgetting important tasks
  • Challenges with multitasking

Many people just accept this as being their new normal after a cancer diagnosis or cancer treatment, but there are many things which can help!

This is a 4-week series of workshops which aim to provide practical advice and strategies to manage memory and concentration problems associated with cancer and cancer treatments. 



Week 1

Week 1 will focus on understanding how cancer and cancer treatment can affect our thinking processes. We will explore some of the risk factors associated with memory and concentration problems and introduce you to the self-management strategies that we will be learning about to help manage these in day to day life.

Week 2

Week 2 will focus on understanding the relationship between pain and fatigue on your memory and concentration and explore practical strategies to manage these. 

Week 3

Week 3 will focus on understanding the relationship between poor sleep and stress on our memory and concentration and explore practical strategies to manage these.

Week 4

Week 4 will conclude our workshop with an exploration of the practical management strategies to improve memory and concentration performance during daily life activities.



Programme Lead

 kimberley clarke, occupational therapist, strive clinic galway

kimberley clarke, occupational therapist, strive clinic galway

This programme of workshops will be delivered by Kimberley Clarke, Occupational Therapist at Strive Clinic Galway. 



€90 for total course of four workshops, each lasting approximately 60 minutes.



Workshops will commence at 1pm each day in Strive Clinic, Level 2, Briarhill Shopping Centre, Galway.

Week 1 - Tuesday February 27th 

Week 2 - Tuesday March 6th 

Week 3 - Tuesday March 13th 

Week 4 - Tuesday March 20th

This programme is designed for attendance at all four workshops.



How to book

Spaces are limited on this workshop series so early booking is essential. Please call Strive Clinic on 091 393 180 to reserve your space.

Managing Cancer Related Fatigue - Workshop Series


People with Cancer Related Fatigue often describe a persistent lack of energy, whole-body exhaustion and general weakness, which does not go away even with rest. Unfortunately, Cancer Related Fatigue is a common symptom of cancer and cancer treatment and can affect anybody regardless of their type of cancer, age, or stage of treatment.

Cancer Related Fatigue can leave us physically and emotionally drained, while being very disruptive to daily life.

Unfortunately, a lot of people do not report cancer related fatigue to their doctors or other health care professionals because they think that nothing can be done to help it. In fact, there are many things that can be done to alleviate the debilitating effects of Cancer-Related Fatigue. 

This series of four workshops will focus on strategies to improve function and quality life when living with Cancer Related Fatigue.



This is a 4-week series of workshops which aims to provide practical advice on how to optimise your energy levels when you are experiencing fatigue. The programme is designed for attendance at all four workshops.

Week 1

Week one will focus on developing your understanding of chronic fatigue and cancer. We will also introduce the fatigue management principles that we will be exploring throughout the workshop.

Week 2

Week two will begin to focus on specific fatigue management strategies. During this week’s session, we will cover energy conservation strategies in detail. We will also include some tips on how to reduce mental fatigue in daily life.

Week 3

Week 3 continues to build your knowledge around fatigue management strategies. This week we will explore managing stress and maximising your sleep to optimise your energy levels.

Week 4

Week 4 concludes our fatigue management workshop series with a very practical focus: exploring ways to adapt your daily life activities and your environment to optimise your energy levels. We will also briefly explore general healthy living advice to maximise your energy.  


 kimberley clarke, occupational therapist, strive clinic galway

kimberley clarke, occupational therapist, strive clinic galway

Programme Lead

This programme of workshops will be delivered by Kimberley Clarke, Occupational Therapist at Strive Clinic Galway. 



€90 for total course of four workshops, each lasting approximately 60 minutes.



Workshops will commence at 12 noon each day in Strive Clinic, Level 2, Briarhill Shopping Centre, Galway.

Week 1 - Monday February 26th 

Week 2 - Monday March 5th 

Week 3 - Monday March 12th 

Week 4 - Monday March 19th

This programme is designed for attendance at all four workshops.


How to book

Spaces are limited on this workshop series so early booking is essential. Please call Strive Clinic on 091 393 180 to reserve your space.

Difficulty Communicating...Understanding Aphasia

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Let’s Communicate!

Language is a highly developed skill that we use throughout the day. It allows us to make our needs or wants known, develop relationships, give instructions to others, and respond to questions. From calling a friend, to ordering a pizza, from writing a postcard, to reading a book, we rely heavily on language.


So what happens when someone who used to be able to use their language without a second thought, suddenly experiences aphasia?

‘Aphasia’ is the term used to describe an acquired language disorder associated with brain injury. It frequently occurs after stroke, but can also occur after head injury, as a result of a brain tumour or infection, or alongside a progressive neurological condition such as dementia.

Aphasia can be devastating. It leads to frustration for the person experiencing it and it’s equally difficult for family members to see their loved one struggle to find the right words, follow simple commands, read simple sentences, or write their own name. It can make everyday tasks seem impossible – things like reading the newspaper, going to the shop, or making appointments. Over time, it can lead to social isolation.

Aphasia can affect some or all of a person’s language modalities, which means that listening, speaking, reading and writing can be affected and to varying degrees of severity. This is due to the location and extent of the damage to the brain (our language centre is normally located on the left of the brain), the cause of the brain injury, and age. Recovery is difficult to predict, the initial severity of aphasia, age, comorbidities and other factors can guide our expectations.


    Speech and Language Therapy



    This is why it’s necessary to have a comprehensive assessment from an experienced Speech and Language Therapist so that your language abilities and impairments can be identified and an appropriate management plan can be devised. If there are cognitive impairments as well, like poor memory or attention deficits, these will need to be assessed by an Occupational Therapist as these difficulties can affect communication and the ability to recover language skills.

    Therapy for aphasia strives to improve the ability to communicate by one or more methods, for example, promoting use of current language skills, therapy sessions aiming to restore language abilities as much as possible, compensatory strategies for language problems, and/or learning other methods of communicating.


    The kinds of difficulties people with aphasia may present with:

    •  Fluent speech but makes little sense; sometimes the person with aphasia can make up words but have little awareness of this
    •  Difficulty naming items or finding the right words in conversation
    •  Agrammatical speech, leaving out words like ‘is’, ‘and’, ‘the' 
    •  Good grammar but very little meaningful content
    •  Mixing up words, e.g. ‘spoon’ for ‘fork’
    •  Mixing up sounds in words, e.g. ‘tup’ for ‘cup’
    •  Difficulty understanding spoken words, phrases, or sentences


      How to Help

      These are some tips to communicate well with a person with aphasia:

      1. Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking, make eye contact and maintain it.
      2. Watch their body language and gestures. Can they point to show you what they need? Can you tell from their body language that they are uncomfortable?
      3. Minimise or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people). Talk in a quiet place.
      4. Keep your own voice at a normal level, unless the person has indicated to speak louder.
      5. Keep communication simple, but adult. Simplify your own sentence structure and reduce your rate of speech. Emphasise key words. Don’t talk down to the person with aphasia.
      6. Give them time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
      7. In addition to speech, communicate with drawings, gestures, writing and facial expression. Praise attempts to speak and downplay errors. Avoid insisting that each word be repeated to perfection.
      8. Engage in normal activities whenever possible. Do not shield people with aphasia from family or ignore them in a group conversation. Involve them in family decision-making as much as possible. Keep them informed of events.
      9. Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.

      Some people with aphasia also carry an information card explaining that they have aphasia and what aphasia is. In addition, it is useful to carry identification and information on how to contact significant others.


      Famous People and Aphasia:

      Did you know that Roald Dahl’s, the BFG, was inspired by his wife’s aphasia? He recorded the many odd words that his wife produced after she suffered a series of strokes. She had severe aphasia and after an intensive rehab programme, regained her ability to communicate well enough to return to acting!

      Sinéad Francis is our Speech & Language Therapist at Strive Clinic Galway. Call 091 393 180 to make an appointment.