Evidence-based treatment is available
Complicated grief treatment(CGT) has been tested in 3 large studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The treatment is a short-term 16-week program. The treatment guides people in resolving grief complications and revitalizes the natural healing process.
CGT has been proven to be more effective than treatments that are efficacious for depression. On average, 70% of study participants who received CGT were much improved compared to 44% of those who received treatments for depression.
Complicated grief therapy brings grief front and center in the treatment process. The therapy is very guided. Therapists focus on grief and loss in each in each session. In addition we help people reconnect to personal strengths and resources, rediscover their own values and rebuild relationships with others. We want to help those stuck in grief learn that they can have a life of joy and satisfaction even after an excruciating loss.
CGT therapists are like Sherpa guides for grief. They know the terrain of loss and how to explain acute, integrated and complicated grief. They are able to see obstacles to adaptation, to design pathways for moving forward and to offer some new tools and resources. CGT therapists are good listeners and supportive companions.
Who Can Benefit from CGT
Many people who we have treated, had tried other therapy without much success. We have treated individuals who have been suffering for more than 20 years. We have learned that our success is due to:
- Promoting access to natural adaptive processes by recognizing and addressing grief complications that are obstacles to adaptation
- Fostering resilience through supporting adaptive processes and their natural facilitators
CGT is administered in seven core modules.
We can help therapists learn to recognize and treat CG
Our work at the Center for Complicated Grief has focused on developing and testing simple methods for recognition and treatment. The Brief Grief Questionnaire is a simple tool that you can use to screen for CG.
We have learned that if someone is experiencing intense yearning or longing or having frequent insistent thoughts and memories of someone who died in a way that this is interfering with their life beyond the point that they and others think is reasonable, they are very likely experiencing complicated grief.