Grief is the natural response to loss. It’s complex, time-varying and multifaceted. Everyone grieves in their own way, but there are commonalities. Grief is permanent after someone close dies, finding a place in the life of a bereaved person. Its intensity subsides as the person finds a way to accept the reality of the death and restore wellbeing. However, for some bereaved people, troubling thoughts or feelings, problematic behaviors or severe social or life problems block adaptation to the loss. The result is complicated grief (CG). CG is associated with impairment in functioning and increased suicidal thinking. This condition can be reliably identified and research suggests that people suffering in this way respond significantly better to targeted complicated grief treatment (CGT) than to proven efficacious treatment for depression. CGT is a time-limited approach that uses methods from a range of evidence-based treatments to addresses grief complications and facilitate adaptation to loss.
1. Explain the model of acute, integrated and complicated grief
2. Describe how to recognize and assess for CG
3. Analyze the seven themes addressed in complicated grief treatment as they relate to the overall objectives of the treatment
Dr. M. Katherine Shear is the Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry and the founding Director of the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia School of Social Work. Dr. Shear is a clinical researcher who first worked in anxiety and depression. For the last two decades she has focused on understanding and treating people who experience persistent intense grief. She developed and tested complicated grief treatment (CGT) a short-term targeted intervention and confirmed its efficacy in three large NIMH-funded studies. CGT is strength-based and focused on fostering adaptation to loss. Dr. Shear is widely recognized for her work in bereavement, including both research and clinical awards from the Association for Death Education and Counseling and invited authorship of articles for Uptodate and the New England Journal of Medicine.