Grief Management Treatment Program Options - (2023)

Grief is often associated with the loss of a loved one, but it is actually the emotional reaction to any major loss. Job loss, the death of a loved one or a divorce can all trigger grief. While grieving is a necessary process, it can also develop into unhealthy mental and emotional states. Knowing how to recognize a grief-related problem and understanding how to find grief management treatment program options can help you or someone you love cope with life after a significant loss.

What Are the Main Causes of Grief-Related Problems?

Grief is caused by loss, including loss associated with:

  • The death of a loved one
  • A romantic breakup
  • A divorce
  • A miscarriage
  • A move away from a familiar locations
  • The loss of a job

Individuals who face loss situations react in very personal manners, but experts agree there are general stages to most grief processes. One breakdown of the grief process indicates that individuals first feel isolated because they block out what is happening; denial is a way to protect oneself from feeling the loss. Next, grieving individuals feel anger at upsetting situations and wonder why they are happening to them. Anger often gives way to thoughts of “What if?” Grieving individuals can spend hours, days and even weeks trying to make logical sense out of their situations or bargaining with a higher power to make things different.

Once you realize that the situation is happening and isn’t going to change, you may experience a period of depression or intense sorrow. Finally, grief moves into the stage of acceptance. It’s in this stage that you begin to cope with grief, heal and move on. Grief problems occur when someone is stuck in the grief process. An individual can remain angry, be unable to move past denial or be stuck in a worsening depression. Sometimes, professional intervention via therapy, inpatient treatment or medication may be required to assist with recovery from grief-related problems. If you or someone you know is struggling to deal with loss, call us at for information on how to find help on treating grief management problem.

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Is There a Cure for Grief?

Grief is a natural response to normal, but upsetting, events in life; the only cure for grief would be to avoid living your life altogether by shutting yourself away. Even then, you might succumb to grief related to the fact that you’re losing out on everything the world has to offer.

Many people say that time is the only thing that heals grief, but even time doesn’t work without further assistance in some cases. There is not an average statistic for the time it should take you to grieve. Taking a long time to grieve doesn’t mean you have a grief-related problem, but unresolved grief or mental, emotional or physical complications from grief may mean you need help dealing with your loss. Some situations that might trigger grief-related problems include:

  • The loss of someone very close to you, such as a spouse
  • An unexpected loss, such as a child
  • A violent or traumatic loss, as might be experienced with a suicide, homicide or violent accident
  • Permanent loss of freedom or lifestyle due to chronic disease progression

Grief problems can also be precipitated by a history of anxiety, depression or mental illness. If you return to work or start carrying out other obligations without allowing time for the grief process, you can create an obstacle that might result in unresolved emotional issues. While all of these issues can be addressed through therapy and other treatments, there isn’t a magic pill or procedure that will cure your grief immediately.

Therapies for Grief Management Issues

Mental health and medical professionals use a number of therapies for grief management issues. Options include individual counseling, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and participation in inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation programs. Because grief is a very personal reaction to a situation in your life, treatment planning should be equally personal.

Speak with your physician or a mental health counselor about your options before you decide on treatment. If you don’t know where to get information about treatment for grief-related issues, call . Our trained counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you find information about programs in your area.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment for Grief Disorders

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an umbrella term for several therapy processes that are based on the idea that behaviors, including emotions, are caused by our thoughts. Because people can change their thoughts, those who use this method of therapy believe they can therefore change their behaviors and emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy for a grief disorder involves a limited-time engagement between a therapist and a patient. The goal of the therapy isn’t to instruct you on how you should feel; the aim is to help you learn how to react to your thoughts and external stimuli in ways that deliver the behavioral and emotional results you desire. According to a study cited by the National Cancer Institute, cognitive behavioral therapy was more successful than counseling in relieving mental distress related to grief.

Medically Assisted Grief Therapy

Experts are divided regarding medically assisted grief therapy. There isn’t a pill that will get rid of your grief, but there are medications available that can assist with symptoms of the grief process. Some individuals experience trouble sleeping, have bouts of anxiety, or develop other physical or mental symptoms related to grief. Some healthcare professionals believe prescribing medication to deal with these symptoms clears the way for individuals to deal with the emotional and mental aspects of loss. Dealing temporarily with symptoms can also help you function on a daily basis while you are going through the grief process.

Other professionals disagree with the use of medications in grief therapy. Because medications can impact emotional processes, some experts argue that they could stall or slow the grief process. The decision to introduce medication into treatment for a grief problem should be made on a case-by-case basis by the patient and their healthcare team. If you feel like sleep problems or other issues are getting in the way of dealing with your grief, talk to your doctor about medication options.

Other Therapeutic Methods

Individual counseling, group therapy and complicated grief treatment are other therapeutic models that could assist with grief-related problems. Complicated grief treatment involves a three-phase process that includes setting goals for recovery, coping with and sharing the loss, and reviewing progress and planning for the future. A clinical trial that compared complicated grief treatment (CGT) to psychotherapy found that CGT was more advantageous in helping individuals deal with grief.

Residential Inpatient Grief Management Treatment Centers

Some grief-related problems may be severe enough to warrant inpatient grief management treatment; a stay in a residential treatment center may be particularly helpful for individuals who are experiencing substance abuse problems, depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts associated with their grief.

The Benefits of Residential Grieving Treatments

One benefit of a residential grief treatment program is that it removes you from your current situation. A change of setting can remove certain triggers for grief bursts, which are short episodes of intense mental or emotional distress. Grief bursts are often triggered by something that reminds you of your loss, such as clothing that belongs to a deceased loved one. Seeking treatment in a residential facility also temporarily removes your need to comply with the rigors of life. Several days or weeks without the need to attend to other family members, go to work, or participate in other social requirements gives you time to concentrate on yourself and your healing process.

Luxury Grief Management Facilities

There are different types of residential grief management programs. Luxury programs are more expensive but tend to come with accommodations that are more comfortable. In a regular residential facility, you might be given a small room or be required to share a basic hotel-style room with someone else. A luxury facility usually offers private rooms with extras such as workspaces, couches and king-size beds. Some luxury programs double as spas, offering massages and other extras alongside group therapy and counseling.

Executive Grief Management Programs

Some programs offer grief management resources to certain groups of individuals. It can be beneficial to look into specialty facilities because programs at these facilities will be targeted to your specific requirements and issues. For example, executive grief management programs offer support to upper-level businesspersons. Business leaders may deal with job-related grief or need to learn to cope with personal losses and the stress of running their businesses.

Outpatient Grief Rehab and Treatment Programs

Not all grief rehab programs require inpatient stays. There are a number of outpatient resources that require attendance on a daily or biweekly basis. Some programs provide afterhours treatment for individuals who can’t afford to leave their jobs or have other obligations during the day. Although such programs don’t come with the same benefits as inpatient treatment, they can offer assistance for your grief management issues.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

Common medications used in grief treatment regimens include antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds and medications to promote sleep. You might also talk to your doctor about medications to control blood pressure and other physical stress symptoms, especially if you have a history of such issues or are already on related medications. Some individuals in a grief situation take over-the-counter medications such as sleeping pills to promote rest and vitamin C or other vitamins to help with energy levels or to bolster the immune system. It’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before deciding on a course of over-the-counter medications, particularly if you are involving pain or sleeping pills in your regime.

How to Find the Best Grief Disorder Treatment Facility

Grief isn’t like a sprained ankle or sore throat. There may not be a day when you can declare that you are cured and your grief is gone. By finding the best grief disorder treatment facility or therapy option, you can reduce any grief-related problems in your life. A good therapy or treatment facility will help you learn how to cope with your loss, manage reactions to triggers and face life again.

You can find out about treatment facilities in your area by talking to your doctor, speaking with a grief counselor, or picking up literature at a local mental health clinic or hospital. Community centers, funeral homes and even the local library may have literature available regarding the grief process and how you can get help.

If you can’t find a local resource for treatment for your grief-related problems, call us today at . Our counselors are standing by; don’t put off the phone call. Reaching out today is the first step toward rediscovering the joy of living.

Additional Resources

As advocates of mental health and wellness, we take great pride in educating our readers on the various online therapy providers available. PsychGuides has partnered with several thought leaders in the mental health and wellness space, so we can help you make informed decisions on your wellness journey. PsychGuides may receive marketing compensation from these companies should you choose to use their services.

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Grief Management Treatment Program Options - ›

Options include individual counseling, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and participation in inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation programs. Because grief is a very personal reaction to a situation in your life, treatment planning should be equally personal.

What kind of therapy is best for grief? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for grief works by helping you become aware of your negative thought patterns. These patterns can lead to behaviors that make it difficult to process grief. During CBT sessions, a therapist might ask you to discuss what you're thinking about or feeling in terms of your grief.

Which antidepressant is best for grief? ›

Escitalopram significantly reduced depressive symptoms (P<0.001) over time. Subjects with uncomplicated grief and those with complicated grief improved similarly over time.

What are the 4 R's of grief? ›

Dr. Hoy and other counselors believe every good funeral includes these four R's: Recognize Reality, Remember, Reaffirm, and Release. Use these as a guide towards a “good goodbye.” The bereavement process starts with the recognition and realization that someone has died.

What is the 5 process model for grief? ›

The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – are often talked about as if they happen in order, moving from one stage to the other.

What is the antidote to grief? ›

The antidote for Grief, according to the ancient spiritual teachings, is to let go, and to have faith.

What is the best advice for coping with grief? ›

Coping With Loss
  • Take care of yourself. Try to exercise regularly, eat healthy food, and get enough sleep. ...
  • Talk with caring friends. ...
  • Try not to make any major changes right away. ...
  • Join a grief support group in person or online. ...
  • Consider professional support. ...
  • Talk to your doctor. ...
  • Be patient with yourself.

What is a positive strategy for coping with grief? ›

Accept Your Feelings and Take Your Time

"The best coping strategy is to give yourself permission to feel your feelings without judgment," said Manly. That means sobbing if you're sad, feeling rage when angry, and resisting the idea that displaying those emotions is wrong or bad.

Why aren t antidepressants typically given to a grieving person? ›

As a general rule, normal grief does not warrant the use of antidepressants (/articles/ depression/antidepressant-medication. htm). While medication may relieve some of the symptoms of grief, it cannot treat the cause, which is the loss itself.

What is the most intense type of grief? ›

This is known as complicated grief, sometimes called persistent complex bereavement disorder. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble recovering from the loss and resuming your own life. Different people follow different paths through the grieving experience.

What medication is used for prolonged grief disorder? ›

Naltrexone has the theoretical potential to be another form of treatment that can improve the mental health, physical health, and well-being of the bereaved with PGD.

Does CBD help with grief? ›

CBD is widely known for calming nerves and easing anxiety, and this can be very helpful when dealing with a loss. As educator Mickey Nulf notes, “CBD kept my anxiety down while the grief hit and encouraged me to actually deal with the grief instead of just burying it,” making it a helpful tool in the grieving process.

What is the shock stage of grief? ›

Shock: The First Stage of Grief

This can feel like a massive blow, sending a person into a state of emotional shock. During this earliest stage of grief, a person may feel unable to process the meaning of the news. Shock can last just a few moments or for many days.

How long is the average grieving process? ›

It's common for the grief process to take a year or longer. A grieving person must resolve the emotional and life changes that come with the death of a loved one. The pain may become less intense, but it's normal to feel emotionally involved with the deceased for many years.

What is grief denial? ›

Denial. Denial is the stage that can initially help you survive the loss. You might think life makes no sense, has no meaning, and is too overwhelming. You start to deny the news and, in effect, go numb.

What are the symptoms of shock after death of loved one? ›

Shock is common after the loss of a loved one. Shock symptoms can include both a bodily and emotional response in the same person. It's possible that you'll experience dizziness, nausea, confusion, numbness, or even exhaustion. Feeling stunned may cause you to doubt the veracity of what you're hearing.

What is the circle of grief theory? ›

The Circle is about “supporting in, complaining out.” In other words, it's about allowing those closest to the crisis to vent out and say what they need to say freely, while those further from the crisis offer support and solace.

What is the 3 5 7 grief model? ›

The 3-5-7 Model©

The model incorporates theoretical underpinnings from child development, attachment, separation and loss, trauma, family systems, and relationship development. The 3-5-7 Model has several beliefs at its core: Human beings grow, heal, and develop a sense of self in relationships.

What is the Kübler-Ross grief cycle? ›

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. A Swiss American psychiatrist and pioneer of studies on dying people, Kübler-Ross wrote “On Death and Dying,” the 1969 book in which she proposed the patient-focused, death-adjustment pattern, the “Five Stages of Grief.” Those stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

What is a natural response to grief? ›

natural responses to grief:

Feeling tightness in the throat or heaviness in the chest or in the pit of the stomach. Having a desire to smoke or drink in a greater amount than before. Feeling restless and looking for activities. Having difficulty sleeping, waking early, and often dreaming of the loss.

Can you block out grief? ›

Inhibited grief can appear when you avoid facing your loss. Problems – including emotional and physical issues – can arise if you don't allow yourself to grieve properly. What is this? You are inhibiting your grief journey when you put your energy into distractions instead of working through the loss.

How do I stop suppressing grief? ›

Stay connected with support systems, such as support groups and social groups. Consider going to regular therapy sessions or joining a bereavement group. Allow yourself to feel emotions. Instead of stifling your emotions, you have to allow yourself to go through those emotions, even as you experience joy and happiness.

Can crying help resolve grief? ›

Crying releases stress hormones including cortisol which can build up in our bodies and cause physical and emotional stress. Crying also stimulates the production of endorphins, our body's natural pain killer which trigger a positive feeling.

What is complicated grief disorder? ›

Complicated grief disorder, which is also known as complicated bereavement disorder, keeps sufferers trapped in their pain and sense of loss after the death of someone they love.

What is a natural alternative to Zoloft? ›

Other Zoloft alternatives for anxiety and depression treatments include targeted nutritional supplements and herbal remedies, such as valerian,16 kava,32 Vitamin B12,24 chlorella,33 amino acids.

When does mourning become a mental illness? ›

When you can't stop grieving, your grief may become a long-term and possibly even disabling mental condition. Chronic depression could mean major depressive disorder, in which you have episodes with severe symptoms of depression and possibly other times when you feel fine.

What is the most painful grief? ›

The death of a husband or wife is well recognized as an emotionally devastating event, being ranked on life event scales as the most stressful of all possible losses.

What is shadow grief? ›

The person living in the shadow often has symptoms that suggest that the pain of grief has been inhibited, delayed, converted or avoided altogether.

When does grief hurt the most? ›

As the study mentioned above indicates, many people experience the “peak” of grief at about 4-6 months. It is not unusual to feel better in some ways at 6-8 weeks as you come to terms with the new reality, but also still feel very intense emotions over the next several months as you continue to process.

Which mental disorder is more likely to be caused by persistent grief? ›

Prolonged grief disorder often occurs along with other mental disorders such as PTSD, anxiety or depression. Sleep problems are also common; an estimated 80% of people with prolonged grief disorder experience long-term poor sleep (Szuhany et al., 2021).

Do anti-anxiety meds help with grief? ›

I now see that some clients truly need relief from the intensity of their feelings of loss. Today's antidepressants, anti-anxiety and sleep medications are more effective. They can be useful for taking the edge off, when prescribed in the right doses by a psychiatrist.

What does unresolved grief look like? ›

Unresolved grief, or complex grief, is different from normal grief in various ways. First, it lasts much longer, at times for many years. Second, it's much more severe and intense, not lessening with time but instead often worsening. Third, it interferes with a person's ability to function normally in daily life.

Does CBD stabilize mood? ›

Early evidence suggests that CBD oil could play a role in regulating mood and alleviating depression. Drawbacks can include mild to moderate side effects like nausea and fatigue, as well as potential drug interactions and negative effects on liver function.

Is CBD a good treatment for depression and anxiety? ›

CBD has shown promise in initial studies as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, and it may cause fewer side effects in some people.

What is the difference between grief and mourning? ›

➢ Grief is what we think and feel on the inside when someone we love dies. Examples include fear, loneliness, panic, pain, yearning, anxiety, emptiness etc. ➢ It is the internal meaning given to the experience of loss. ➢ Mourning is the outward expression of our grief; it is the expression of one's grief.

What is disenfranchised loss? ›

Disenfranchised grief refers to a loss “that's not openly acknowledged, socially mourned, or publicly supported.” ¹˒² Some people may minimize the loss of a job, a pet, or a friendship, for example, as something that's not worth grieving over.

Can your body go into shock from grief? ›

Recognize that shock is a natural part of grief that may occur many times before the actuality of the loss sinks in. Even though it feels off-balance, it is part of the process of dealing with painful experiences. In time, the shock will lessen.

How long does grief fatigue last? ›

Grieving isn't just an emotional process. It can be surprisingly physical too, leaving you exhausted, achy, restless and even with cold or flu-like symptoms. Your mind and body are run down and burnt out, and you might feel that way for weeks or even months.

Why is grief so painful? ›

The pain is caused by the overwhelming amount of stress hormones being released during the grieving process. These effectively stun the muscles they contact. Stress hormones act on the body in a similar way to broken heart syndrome. Aches and pains from grief should be temporary.

Is it normal to cry everyday after a death? ›

People react to grief in very different ways. Some people find they cry very frequently and may be overwhelmed by the strength of their emotions. Others may feel numb for some time, or feel unable to cry. Some people experience swings between extremes.

What are the three R's of grief and loss? ›

In order to help you navigate what you might be experiencing right now, I want to talk to you about the three R's to loss and grief. So the three R's are recognition, remembering and rebuilding, and I want to go through those each in turn.

What are the three theories of grief? ›


Stroebe and Schut3 proposed a 'dual-process model' with grief being a process of oscillation between two modes, a 'loss orientation' mode when the griever engages in emotion-focused coping, and a 'restoration orientation' mode when the griever engages in problem-focused coping.

What are the 3 factors that affect the grieving process? ›

Factors that can lead to complicated grief
  • Factor 1: The relationship with the deceased.
  • Factor 2: The nature of attachment with the deceased.
  • Factor 3: What type of death occurred and circumstances surrounding the death.
  • Factor 4: History of coping with previous losses.
  • Factor 5: Personality variations.
Jul 29, 2019

What are the three major forms of grief? ›

Here are seven types of grief:
  • Normal grief. ...
  • Anticipatory grief. ...
  • Disenfranchised grief. ...
  • Chronic grief. ...
  • Abbreviated grief. ...
  • Traumatic grief. ...
  • Absent grief.
Aug 4, 2022

What are the 6 Rs of grief? ›

significant loss. She called her model the "Six R's":

React: Recollect & Re-experience: Relinquish: Re-adjust: Reinvest: the loss: First, people must experience their loss and understand that it has happened.

What is the most recent grief theory? ›

More contemporary grief theories include: Continuing Bonds, (Klass, Silverman, and Nickman, 1996), which says the bereaved maintain the presence of an ongoing inner relationship with the deceased person.

What is the worden model of grief? ›

Worden's model states we shouldn't avoid our emotions, but rather express them. By acknowledging how grief makes us feel and being open about these feelings, a mourner is better able to work through these complex feelings. After a loss, we have to adjust to our 'new realities' of life without our loved one.

What is adaptive grief? ›

In other words, they adapt to the change brought upon them my loss. This type of coping and acceptance is referred to as adaptive grief. Grieving that doesn't seem to lessen over time, becomes debilitating, or persists for an extended period is called complicated grief, or prolonged grief disorder.

What makes grieving more difficult? ›

Factors that may increase the risk of developing complicated grief include: An unexpected or violent death, such as death from a car accident, or the murder or suicide of a loved one. Death of a child. Close or dependent relationship to the deceased person.

What makes grieving easier? ›

While sharing your loss can make the burden of grief easier to carry, that doesn't mean that every time you interact with friends and family, you need to talk about your loss. Comfort can also come from just being around others who care about you. The key is not to isolate yourself. Turn to friends and family members.

What is dysfunctional grief? ›

Abstract. Dysfunctional grieving represents a failure to follow the predictable course of normal grieving to resolution (Lindemann, 1944). When the process deviates from the norm, the individual becomes overwhelmed and resorts to maladaptive coping.

What is masked grief? ›

Masked grief occurs when someone tries to suppress their feelings of grief and not deal with them or allow them to run their natural course. In the very early moments after a loss, our bodies and minds are clever in that the initial feelings of shock and denial are useful to us.

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