Boelen, P. A., Keijser, J. de, Hout, M. A. van den, & Bout, J. van den (2007). Treatment of Complicated Grief: A comparison between cognitive behavioral therapy and supportive counseling. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 277-284.


Few studies have examined treatments for complicated grief--a debilitating condition that can develop after the loss of a loved one. This study compared the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy with a nonspecific treatment with supportive counseling (SC). Using a minimization method, 54 mourners with clinically significant levels of complicated grief were allocated to 1 of 3 treatment conditions: (a) a condition of 6 sessions of cognitive restructuring (CR) and 6 sessions of exposure therapy (ET; CR + ET), (b) a condition in which these interventions were applied in reversed order (ET + CR), and (c) 12 sessions of SC. Outcomes showed that the 2 cognitive-behavioral therapy conditions produced more improvement in complicated grief and general psychopathology than SC in the completers and intention-to-treat groups. Comparison of the cognitive-behavioral conditions showed that "pure" exposure was more effective than "pure" cognitive restructuring, that adding ET to CR led to more additional improvement than adding CR to ET, and that ET + CR was more efficacious than CR + ET. Effect sizes of ET + CR were encouraging and compare favorably with those found in earlier bereavement intervention studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)