Narrative reconstruction therapy for prolonged grief disorder – a pilot study

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Gali Elinger, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Eran Barkalifa, Paul A. Boelen & Tuvia Peri


Background: Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) is a chronic and disabling condition that affects approximately 10% of non-traumatically bereaved people. Narrative reconstruction (NR), originally designed for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a time-limited integrative therapy consisting of exposure to the loss memory, detailed written reconstruction of the loss memory narrative, and an elaboration of the personal significance of that memory for the bereaved.

Objective: This pilot study examined the efficacy of NR therapy in reducing symptoms in bereaved people diagnosed with PGD.

Method: Ten PGD patients participated in the study and were treated with 16 weekly sessions of NR. PGD, PTSD, and depression symptoms, as well as levels of loss integration, were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and at a 3-month follow-up.

Results: Following NR, participants showed significant reductions in PGD, depression, and PTSD symptoms, and elevated levels of trauma integration. Symptoms showed further improvement at the three-month follow-up.

Conclusions: These findings provide preliminary evidence for the feasibility and efficacy of NR in treating PGD. Narrative reconstruction therapy requires further evaluation in randomized controlled trials.

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