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Pilot study on traumatic grief treatment program for Japanese women bereaved by violent death


  • Nozomu Asukai, Nobuko Tsuruta, Azusa Saito, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science.

  • This study was conducted as part of a research project under a grant from Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. We thank Professor Katherine Shear, Columbia University, New York, for her training in complicated grief treatment.


This pilot study aimed to refine a treatment approach for traumatic grief due to violent loss. Our Traumatic Grief Treatment Program, a modification of Shear's complicated grief treatment (Shear et al., 2005), comprises psychoeducation, in vivo exposure, imaginal exposure, discussion of memories about and imaginal conversation with the deceased. Thirteen of 15 Japanese women suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to traumatic grief completed 12 to 16 weekly individual sessions based on their therapists' recommendations. Assessment scales included the Inventory of Complicated Grief, the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. There was significant reduction in symptom severity at treatment end, and symptom levels remained low throughout the 12-month follow-up period. Based on Jacobson's Reliable Change Index, 46% showed change on all 3 measures. These findings suggest that our treatment model may be feasible for treating traumatic grief with PTSD in non-Western settings.

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS

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