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In clinical practice complicated grief, an ongoing problem in coming to terms with loss, is a familiar issue.

Modes of complicated griefEdit

Absent mourningEdit

Delayed mourningEdit

Chronic of prolonged mourningEdit

Distorted mourningEdit

Clinical indicators of complicated mourningEdit

Theresa A. Rando in Treatment of Complicated Mourning outlined the following features:

  • A pattern of vulnerability to, or over-reaction to, experiences entailing loss and separation. *Psychological and behavioural restlessness, over-sensitivity, arousal, overreactivity, along with the need always to be occupied, as if cessation of movement would allow the surfacing of anxiety-provoking repressed or suppressed memories.
  • Unusually high death anxiety focusing on the self or loved ones.
  • Excessive and persistent over-idealisation of the deceased and/or unrealistically positive recollections of the relationship.
  • Rigid, compulsive or ritualistic behaviour sufficient to impinge on the mourners freedom and well being.
  • Persistent and obsessive thoughts and preoccupation with the deceased and elements of the loss.
  • Inability to experience the various emotional reactions to loss typically found in the bereaved and/or uncharacteristically constricted affect.
  • Inability to articulate existing feelings and thoughts about the deceased and the loss.
  • Relationships with others marked by fear of intimacy and other indicators of avoidance of future loss.
  • A pattern of self-destructive relationships commencing or escalating subsequent toithe death, including compulsive care-giving and replacement relationships.
  • The commwicement or escalation after the death of self-defeating, self-destructive or acting-out behaviour including substance dependence or abuse.
  • Chronic experiences of numbness, alienation, depersonalisation or other emotions that,isolate the mourner from him/herself and others.
  • Chronic anger or some variation thereof (eg annoyance) or a combination of anger and depression (eg irritability, belligerence, intolerance).

Treatment optionsEdit

See alsoEdit

References & BibliographyEdit

Key textsEdit


  • [[Rando, T.A. (1993)Treatment of Complicated Mourning. Research Press ISBN-10: 0878223290
  • Worden, J.W. (2001)Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Professional. Springer. ISBN-10: 0826141625


Additional materialEdit



External linksEdit

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