Friday, May 11, 2007

CBT and bereavement by suicide

Bereavement can often lead to psychological problems over and above the normal grieving process - something referred to as 'complicated grief'. This can be characterized by symptoms such as avoidance of reminders of the dead person, purposelessness, detachment, disbelief and bitterness. These symptoms can be particularly acute when the person being mourned has commited suicide. A Dutch trial on 122 relatives who had been bereaved by suicide looked at the effectiveness of a family-based counselling programme of four sessions with a trained psychiatric nurse counsellor between three to six months after the suicide. Unfortunately the trial found that the cognitive-behaviour therapy based treatment was not associated with a reduction in grief although it did help people to blame themselves less for their relative's suicide.

de Groot, Marieke ... [et al] - Cognitive behaviour therapy to prevent complicated grief among relatives and spouses bereaved by suicide : cluster randomised controlled trial British Medical Journal May 12, 2007, 994-996

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