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A cognitive approach to persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD)

  • Michael Duffy (a1) and Jennifer Wild (a2)


Persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD) has been included in the appendix of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders as a condition for further study, and a new diagnostic category of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) is likely to be added to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) (Maercker et al., 2013). Whilst there is increasing evidence that prolonged grief has distinct characteristics (Bryant, 2012), there are clinical features that overlap with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive memories, emotional numbing, and avoidance of trauma or loss reminders. Here we describe how the cognitive model for persistent PTSD (Ehlers and Clark, 2000) and trauma-focused cognitive therapy for PTSD (Ehlers et al., 2005) have been helpful in treating persistent complex grief.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr Michael Duffy, Queen's University Belfast, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Belfast. E-mail:


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A cognitive approach to persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD)

  • Michael Duffy (a1) and Jennifer Wild (a2)
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