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204: Updated Diagnosis and Evidence-based Treatment of Complicated Grief: Ramifications of the Aftermath of COVID-19 and DSM-5-TR Revisions Affecting Individuals and Families


Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, Ed.D. Getting to the Other Side 1413 Grovehurst Dr. Marietta, GA 30062 Robert DeVries, Ph.D. Getting to the Other Side 1413 Grovehurst Dr. Marietta, GA 30062







The three years of COVID-19 and other difficult, traumatic circumstances have created a significantly higher number of bereaved people experiencing delayed grieving, either directly or indirectly. The DSM-5-TR (recently revised) now recognizes Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) as an official diagnosis which positively impacts the accuracy of diagnosis and insurance reimbursement. In this workshop, participants will compare the DSM-5-TR’s and the ICD-11’s definitions of prolonged grief and discuss appropriate diagnostic tests for PGD. The presenters will highlight evidence-based research studies that strongly recommend the CBT approach to treat prolonged grief and the three primary treatment frameworks of CBT with client goals and behaviors to help work through grief. To apply the content of prolonged grief treatment for clinical use by psychologists and licensed mental health professionals, participants will analyze case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of CBT treatment in prolonged grief and give some techniques to help Christian clients with faith questions and spiritual unrest. 


Learning Objectives 

Participants will: 

  1. Describe the criteria in the revised DSM-5-TR for Prolonged Grief Disorder in comparison with the ICD-11 and explain helpful methods using the Prolonged Grief Assessment tools to determine a client’s grief status appropriate for the PGD diagnosis 
  2. Analyze the evidence-based CBT therapy treatment protocols that are recommended as a framework to treat a client diagnosed with PGD and why these are particularly helpful to psychologists and licensed mental health professionals 
  3. Describe the evidence-based CBT strategies which provide goals and concurrent behaviors for clients to implement as adapted to their unique circumstances to promote a healthy mental health and spiritual perspective for their grief journeys