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A brief psychodynamic intervention for couples with unresolved grief: a case study report

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Two case reports of couples with unresolved grief who received a short-term psychoanalytically oriented intervention for couples are presented. The sixteenweek intervention is based on the unresolved grief triad (UGT) which links empirically based predictors of prolonged or complicated grief, including a history of unmourned losses and couple dynamics that prevent mourning, to couple manifestations of unresolved loss. In the first and second phases of therapy, experienced analytic couple therapists identified these factors and linked them into a unique UGT for the couple which is made explicit and worked with in the middle phase of treatment in relation to the day-to-day experiences that they bring to the sessions. In the final (third) phase of the intervention the loss of the therapy and therapist constitutes links that have been identified and processed with the couple during the intervention. The two case studies presented shared important similarities that offer insights into how couples become mired in unresolved grief. Their successful treatment using a short-term psychoanalytically based couple therapy suggests that the underpinning model on which it is based may be cost-effective in treating unresolved grief in couples.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2021

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  • Couple and Family Psychoanalysis aim is to promote the theory and practice of working with couple and family relationships from a psychoanalytic perspective. It seeks to provide a forum for disseminating current ideas and research and for developing clinical practice.
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