Three Simple Strategies from Complicated Grief Treatment
April 6 @ 10:45 am - 11:45 am
Complicated Grief Treatment (CGT) is a time-limited, targeted psychotherapy with an average response rate of 70%, in three NIMH-funded clinical trials. CGT fosters processes that promote adaptation to loss using strategies that can seem counterintuitive. This presentation introduces core principles of CGT and explains their roots in scientific research. We provide a framework for thinking about acute, integrated and complicated grief. We describe three procedures used in CGT, explain how and why we use them and suggest ways to incorporate these simple tools into grief therapy. The Grief Monitoring Diary is utilized to teach clients to observe their grief and get to know it. We encourage them to notice ways that grief intensity oscillates and identify triggers for low and high grief intensity and reflect on their experience of grief. Situational Revisiting is a procedure designed to assist clients in re-entering a world defined by the absence of their loved one. This procedure provides a strategy for encouraging clients to decrease problematic avoidance and move about their world with increased freedom and confidence. The Aspirational Goals exercise invites bereaved clients to set aside the painful reality for a brief period in order to envision something for themselves in the future that could be fulfilling. We explain the theory behind these procedures, ways to present them, how clients typically respond, and how to troubleshoot problematic responses. By using these strategies, you will join therapists around the world, from a variety of orientations, who have discovered that broadening their theoretical framework and intervention repertoire to include components of CGT in their practice offers new hope for bereaved clients and a new confidence in their ability to help those struggling with complicated grief.
Bonnie Gorscak, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Training