Complicated Grief Treatment (CGT)

We have developed and tested a treatment approach that is highly effective, short term and simple to administer.  As of now, this is likely the best way to help people with persistent impairing grief.  CGT is focused on helping people adapt to the loss in two clear ways. First, we identify and resolve grief complications and second, we facilitate natural adaptive processes.

We use seven core themes in this work, including understanding grief, managing painful emotions, thinking about the future, strengthening relationships, telling the story of the death, learning to live with reminders and remembering the person who died. We work with these themes throughout the 16-session treatment. We use well-defined strategies and procedures.  Sessions are structured in a manner similar to CBT. Each session begins with a review of the past week and setting an agenda. We then move to a loss-focused procedure followed by a restoration-focused procedure. The session ends with a brief summary and feedback about how it went and plans for the upcoming week.

A treatment manual and other therapy aids are available for purchase on this website. We teach courses and workshops and provide case consultations. Therapists often tell us they are converts to this approach after a single session with a client they know well.  They say clients respond to the CGT approach with more hope and enthusiasm than the therapist has seen from them. The therapist say they learned things about clients in just one session that they had not known after months of working with the client.  This was also our experience in doing our treatment research studies.

There is help for people with complicated grief.

The important thing to know is that people with CG can be helped. People with CG often feel hopeless and are skeptical that anything can change this. In reality, CGT can make a dramatic difference in the life of someone with complicated grief. In our research studies 70% of people are much improved after just 4 or 5 months. We hope you will learn to do this treatment.