Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Complicated Grief Reactions: Treatment Protocol and Preliminary Findings From a Naturalistic Setting

K.B. Komischke-Konnerup*, M. O'Connor, H.J.A. Hoijtink, P.A. Boelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In bereavement, some individuals develop complicated grief reactions (CGR), including symptoms of prolonged grief disorder (PGD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. Symptoms of PGD often co-occur with other complicated grief reactions, e.g., PTSD and depression, pointing to the need for a transdiagnostic understanding of CGR to inform treatment. In this paper, a transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy for CGR called “CBTgrief” is explained, including its theoretical framework and treatment content. CBTgrief is based on previous cognitive-behavioral conceptualizations of PGD, PTSD, and depression and includes 12 sessions consisting of exposure, cognitive restructuring, and behavioral activation. Preliminary findings of CBTgrief are evaluated in terms of feasibility, acceptability, and treatment satisfaction in a sample of eight older bereaved individuals treated for different types of CGR in a naturalistic clinical setting. Additionally, theory-driven hypotheses about changes in CGR and theoretical proposed core maintaining processes are evaluated using Bayesian informative hypotheses testing. Preliminary findings, limitations, implications, and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Early online date13 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • depression
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • prolonged grief disorder
  • transdiagnostic treatment

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