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Complicated Grief Fact Sheet

  • Complicated Grief (CG) is a form of grief which usually develops after the loss of someone with whom the bereaved person has a close attachment. CG occurs when acute grief is accompanied by maladaptive thoughts, feelings, or behavior and is usually prolonged and impairing.

  • Complicated Grief occurs in about 10% of bereaved people, with higher risk for loss of a child or a spouse and for loss of a younger person or by a violent death.


  • Women may be more likely to experience CG than men. Prior exposure to trauma, insecure attachment to childhood caregivers, and pre-existing mood or anxiety disorders may also be risk factors.


  • CG does not resolve on its own, but it is responsive to treatment. Dr. M. Katherine Shear and her team at Columbia University’s Center for Complicated Grief developed a short-term 16-session evidence-based approach therapy that facilitates adaption to loss and
    resolves grief complications.


  • The Complicated Grief Treatment (CGT) has been evaluated in three separate clinical trials funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. CGT is the best-documented treatment for CG in the world.

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