'A range of activity is food for the soul'

Dr Leyla Ziyal finds common threads in her typical working day.

The focus of my work-day is three-fold. First, designing, delivering and evaluating therapeutic and rehabilitation interventions for brain injury survivors in my private practice. Second, writing my second book (due for publication in June next year); third, advising a Care Group on the start-up and development of a rehabilitation service for brain injury survivors.

These challenges hold in common three key demands. The first is a vision of the end-result I want to achieve. The second is formulating my goals and planning the steps I must take to deliver them. The third is maintaining resolve when I feel as if I were losing confidence in what I do.

In my private practice, I envision my ABI survivor clients participating in the real world within the parameters that their unique potential allows. Goal formulation and planning involves selecting and sequencing the methods and processes that will be most effective in    developing my clients’ motivation to achieve optimal functional competence, self-efficacy and exercise of choice. 

With my book, I envision the finished product benefitting ABI survivors and their families as Service-Providers incorporate its elements into their service offering. I'm doing my best to ensure it's of practical use, including in terms of content and design.

With the start-up and development of an ABI rehabilitation service, I envision a facility that thrives because it designs integrated intervention strategies and achieves complex outcomes that deliver real-world gains to users and their families. I aim to make my advice easy to understand, making use of vignettes.

With all my work, as with any, obstacles arise… mistakes occur and sometimes the end-product seems so far away that belief falters. A period of distancing re-energises drive and then I am back on page.

I am fortunate because these challenges are not disparate. There's ample room for cross-fertilisation and I am able to borrow and import from one to the other. It is quite rewarding to find that other people’s concerns are similar to mine and that our work shares some of the same underlying principles. For example, an early section of my book borrows from business literature the concept of person-environment fit as a critical contributor of well-being and risk-reduction in service-users. Recently I was delighted when the Director of the Care Group I am advising asked that person-environment fit be one of the central criteria of determining client suitability for the new service, as it was a key principle that underscored his current business.

The challenges of my work offer the stimulation and a range of activity that is food for the soul and that make every working day varied and interesting. Each day requires a different mental focus, different abilities. It's a little like an aubergine dip: diverse ingredients deliciously blended, and super-sensitive taste-buds to savour the flavour.

LEYLÂ ZIYAL M Phil AFBPsS C Psychol, Chartered Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist

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