Psychologists' and counsellors' perspectives on prolonged grief disorder and its inclusion in diagnostic manuals

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Abstract

In this research, proposed criteria for what has been termed ‘Prolonged Grief Disorder’ (PGD) (more recently termed, ‘Persistent Complex Bereavement‐Related Disorder’ (PCB‐RD) in the proposed DSM‐V), were presented to psychologists and counsellors. Method: Participants were asked about their views on the ‘disorder’ and whether they considered its inclusion in diagnostic manuals was justified. A total of 185 participants, (147 psychologists, specialist and general, and 38 counsellors) responded to an online survey (part of a larger research project), concerning their attitudes, choices and activities regarding bereavement therapy. In this part of the research, therapists’ perspectives about pathological grief, the recognition of PGD and its inclusion in diagnostic manuals were explored. Fifty‐nine participants took the option of adding written remarks to the survey to expand on their opinions regarding PGD. Results/Conclusions: Tentative support for the inclusion of PGD in diagnostic manuals was given; however many therapists indicated considerable reservations about potential negative repercussions of using such a diagnosis. One‐way between‐groups analysis of variance was undertaken to determine whether participants' opinions varied according to main occupation or specialism; however, no significant difference was found. This research was conducted prior to the latest update to the proposed revision and diagnostic category concerning bereavement in the DSM‐5 of April 2012, but many observations and recommendations concerning PGD made by the therapists participating in this research can be seen to be applicable to PCB‐RD. Implications: The implications of this research for assessing and diagnosing grief, and ways of working with bereaved clients, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-219
Number of pages8
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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