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Conference highlights the need for more awareness of Complicated Grief

Author: Leila Hawkins
19 October 2017

A conference organised by Child Bereavement UK has highlighted the need for more training and education to recognise and treat Complicated Grief.

Complicated Grief is a serious and often misunderstood condition that occurs when the bereaved person is unable to overcome loss. It can manifest itself by being unable to regulate the intense emotions that accompany grief, such as avoiding reminders of the loss, feeling self-critical, or feeling afraid of displaying emotions, leaving them stuck in the grieving process.

It is estimated to affect around 10 per cent of the adult bereaved population, with some people believed to be more at risk, such as those with a history of anxiety or depression and in cases where the death was particularly traumatic. 

The conference took place in London earlier this month, and was chaired by Consultant Psychiatrist Emeritus at London's St Christopher's Hospice  Dr Colin Murray-Parkes OBE, and joined by guest speakers David Trickey from The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, and Dr Susan Delaney from The Irish Hospice Foundation.

Psychiatrist Dr Katherine Shear from the Center for Complicated Grief in New York was one of the guest speakers. Dr Shear has spent decades conducting clinical research in anxiety, depression and related disorders. She has developed Complicated Grief treatment and confirmed its efficacy in three large studies funded by the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

At the conference, she told delegates about the success she and her team have had with the treatment.  

Dr Shear said:

“As professionals it is important that we understand, recognise and treat the symptoms of Complicated Grief and how they impact on an individual’s life, and those around them.”

Paula Abramson, Head of Training at Child Bereavement UK said:

“We were delighted to host Dr Shear along with other world-leading experts in the field. There was a real buzz and energy in the room and the day exceeded all of our expectations.”

Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive, and Paula concluded:

“There is clearly an appetite in the UK for further knowledge and training in this specialist area of bereavement work.”

For more information visit Child Bereavement UK

See more articles in Education

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