There is help for People with Complicated Grief.
Complicated Grief Treatment (CGT) is a short term therapy that addresses the issues that complicate grief and helps strengthen a bereaved person’s natural adaptive capacity. There are components of the therapy to help people get to know grief, manage strong emotions, think about the future, rebuild strong relationships, think about the death, revisit reminders of the loss and access living memories. CGT delivered in 16 weekly sessions can make a dramatic difference in the life of someone with complicated grief. After CGT 70% of people are much improved.
Who Can Benefit from CGT?
This therapy can be used to help a person with complicated grief, regardless of who they lost or how the death occurred. Sometimes people ask if a person who lost a child can benefit from this treatment. Sometimes they ask if a person whose loved one died by suicide can benefit. Sometimes the question is whether an older adult can be effectively treated with CGT. We have treated people will all of these kinds of losses and more. Many people we have treated successfully have tried other therapy without much success yet they respond well to CGT. The treatment works best when a person is willing to do things that seem counter-intuitive at first.
How can sufferers recognize CG?
“Are strong feelings of yearning or longing for your loved one and/or thoughts and memories of them so persistent and intense that it stops you from being able live your life in a meaningful way?”
Most people with complicated grief have said they have never been asked this simple question and when they heard it, they felt understood for the first time.
Here are some examples of the way it feels to have CG:
You think so much about the loss that it’s hard to do normal, everyday things that used to be second nature...like taking good care of others, including children, going to work or concentrating at work, cooking, shopping, paying bills, exercising
You find that memories of a loved one are upsetting and it's reassuring to be upset because it means you are not moving on and leaving your loved one behind.
You feel like running away even though this doesn’t make sense and you know it’s not the way to deal with difficult situations - doing this even if you are a person who usually faces problems and figure them out
You do “crazy” things to try to escape from the pain, like almost pretending the person is still here - asking questions over and over, continuing to do things you did when your loved one was sick, obsessing over how many places to set at the table, keeping their clothes and other possessions ready for them, continuing to make the deceased person’s favorite meals.