Tool 10: The disillusionment process   

Staff working with people with ABI can experience a disillusionment process - especially when staff management practices are not working

The disillusionment process moves through the following phases:


  • Unrealistic expectations for the client
  • Inadequate skills
  • Over identification with the client - not professional relationship
  • Over investment of self - personally involved.


  • Lose enthusiasm with client due to unrealistic expectations
  • Other needs assume greater importance
  • Sense of unfulfilled expectations - feeling of non-achievement


  • Questions effectiveness - feels client is not achieving
  • What's the point
  • Staff member loses respect for the client
  • Hostility towards colleagues and superiors


  • Staff member does the minimum
  • Disinterested
  • Its only a job
  • Emotional detachment

Staff member leaves with negative experience

Strategies for preventing the disillusionment process

Some of the strategies for preventing the disillusionment process from setting in are:

  • Realistic expectations for the client
  • Staff understanding of ABI generally
  • Staff understanding each clients ABI - injury - effects - behaviour
  • Staff training with the skills to manage the behaviours for each of the clients they work with.

(c) Copyright - See: Module 8. Supervising staff / Managing staff -