Bereavement Counseling

From the NY Times article, Often, Time Beats Therapy for Treating Grief:

A major new “Report on Bereavement and Grief Research” prepared by the Center for the Advancement of Health concluded, “A growing body of evidence indicates that interventions with adults who are not experiencing complicated grief cannot be regarded as beneficial in terms of diminishing grief-related symptoms.”

The report adds that there is very little evidence for the effectiveness of interventions like crisis teams that visit family members within hours of a loss, self-help groups that seek to foster friendships, efforts to show the bereaved ways to work through grief and a host of other therapeutic approaches believed to help the bereaved.

In fact, the studies indicate, grief counseling may sometimes make matters worse for those who lost people they loved, regardless of whether the death was traumatic or occurred after a long illness, according to Dr. John Jordan, director of the Family Loss Project in the Boston area. Such people may include the only man in a group of women, a young person in a group of older people, or someone recently bereaved in a group that includes a person still suffering intensely a year or more after the loved one’s death.

Further, the research suggests, bereavement counseling is least needed in the immediate aftermath of a loss. Yet it is then that most grieving people are invited to take part in the offered services. A more appropriate time is 6 to 18 months later, if the person is still suffering intensely.

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