Treating complicated grief and posttraumatic stress in homicidally bereaved individuals: A randomized controlled trial

M. van Denderen*, J. de Keijser, R. Stewart, P.A. Boelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Homicidally bereaved individuals may experience symptoms of Complicated Grief (CG) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This Randomized Controlled Trial examined the effectiveness of an 8-session treatment encompassing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to reduce self-rated CG and PTSD symptoms in 85 Dutch adult homicidally bereaved men and women. We compared changes in symptoms of CG (assessed using the Inventory of Complicated Grief) and PTSD (assessed using the Impact of Event Scale) between an intervention group and a waitlist control group. The treatment was effective in reducing CG and PTSD symptoms, from pretreatment to posttreatment. It can be concluded that EMDR and CBT seem promising treatments for homicidally bereaved individuals for both men and women, and regardless of the time since the loss. Further research is needed to examine whether a combined treatment of EMDR and CBT together is of added value in situations where grief and trauma are intertwined over offering only one of the two treatment modalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-508
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
Volume25
Issue number4
Early online date26 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • homicide
  • loss

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