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The Road to Recovery – Meditation and Muse

Tragically, after unfortunate accidents, survivors find it hard to return to their normal lives.  This is not necessarily the case for David Todd.  A fighter at heart, 27-year-old David was involved in a near fatal motor vehicle accident in 2010, leaving him with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic amnesia (PTA).  Initially unable to move, speak, or breathe on his own, doctors said he may never wake from his coma.  However, he did wake, and for the past six years, David and his rehabilitation team, including his employment rehabilitation counselor, Jo Muirhead, have developed strategies and devised treatment methods that would aid him in defying the odds and allow David to return to employment, driving and a feeling of independence.

David Todd
David Todd

On January 8th of 2010, in his hometown of Sydney, Australia, David was on his way to work when he lost control of his vehicle, resulting in his car crashing into a telephone pole.  Fortunately, residents in the area alerted medical services and David was air-lifted to Royal North Shore Hospital.  There, his family received news that David may not wake up, and that if he did, he wouldn’t be the same. Since then, David has relearned how to walk and speak as well as achieving his two goals of returning to work and driving a car.

Jo Muirhead from Purple Co

David found that meditation was an effective tool in managing some of the challenges he faces with living with a TBI.  David’s counsellor, Jo Muirhead, recommended the use of the Muse to assist with calming and meditation.  David has been using the Muse for about twelve months and finds it to be a very helpful and efficient device, which assists him in managing his frustration and anger related behaviors.

Jo Muirhead is the founder of Purple Co, a company dedicated to helping people return to work following injury, illness or trauma.  She has a background in rehabilitation counselling and her expertise comes from her own experience in navigating through different career streams for over 20 years.  Jo is a member of the Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors as well as the Career Development Association of Australia.  

Every six weeks David and Jo would meet with other members of David’s rehabilitation team to brainstorm and manage David’s TBI challenges within the workplace and in social settings outside of work.  The Muse was included as an extra activity to assist with improved mood, improvement to agitation, focus and concentration, and to assist with meeting some of David’s behavioral challenges.  David continues to find success in Muse therapy where traditional meditative or calming strategies have failed.  David and Jo can attest that Muse doesn’t feel repetitive, especially when you receive different feedback after every session. 

“Muse keeps saying ‘Congratulations, you’ve made another day in a row’. It’s really motivating to to get that positive reinforcement”, explained Jo Muirhead.

After the accident David found himself battling bouts of anger and was regularly frustrated before he started with Muse. He tried forms of meditation before but none were as effective as Muse’s real time brain feedback during each exercise. David’s favorite metric is “The birds”.  Birds can be heard via the Muse app during a session once the mind is calm. This is just another reason to return to the app and see how the next session compares.  David uses Muse up to three times a day and has amassed a 137-day streak of meditation.  His daily exercise has paid off, resulting in David becoming more aware of himself and better able to control his emotions.  Jo informed us of David’s developing ability to notice social cues in conversations.  He has previously struggled with understanding appropriate times to speak and when to end conversations.  His astonishing progress is thanks to his hard work, a great rehabilitation process, and a helpful team consisting of his therapists, family and Jo. “After Muse, I just calm down”.  David admits, “Rehab is going to end eventually.  It will finally be over one day”.

“The Muse has actually given us a way of de-emotionalizing what’s going on with David and put that energy out to something quite tangible”, reasoned Jo Muirhead.

Jo Muirhead and Purple Co. has ‘a purpose for people’, as their tagline suggests. They hold workshopsprovide information on their blog, and offer many services.  For more information, visit: Purple Co.

David Todd and his dog
David Todd and his dog


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