Expertise in Complicated Grief: Help for When Mourning Gets Stuck

Acute grief and normal bereavement are our natural and healthy responses to loss. They are not a sign of failure or weakness, not something to feel a need to apologize for, not a disease to be treated or medicated away as quickly as possible.

Under condition of uncomplicated grief, bereavement support groups and peer counseling programs can prove extremely helpful, effective and appropriate. (Feel free to email me for a referral.)

However, mourning may not progress in a healthy manner. Or, grief may be complicated by other unresolved factors in the individual's history or personality. This is when a bereaved individual may want to seek consultation with a qualified therapist.

Some signs of complicated grief are:

  • A feeling of little or no progress after several months or years of mourning.

  • Sudden exaggeration of grief after a period of apparent progress or denial.

  • Persistent and debilitating depression.

  • Self-destructive behavior or persistent suicidal thoughts.

  • Prolonged ritualistic or isolative behavior.

  • Panic attacks or irrational fears.

  • Physical symptoms related to the death.

  • History of ambivalent, abusive or destructive relationships.

  • Strikingly absent grief.

  • Experiencing extreme rage over a prolonged period.

  • Multiple or concurrent losses.

  • Prolonged disorientation to person, place or time.

  • History of nervous or emotional disorder.

Call or send me an email to arrange a free telephone consultation.

Joseph C. Yaskin, MSS, LCSW

(717) 798-8459

(484) 278-1755

Material on this page adapted from

Kirk R. Gresham, R.N., M.F.C.C.

San Diego S.O.S. Newsletter

Vol. 7, No 1