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Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Feb;145(2):203-9.

A controlled trial of brief psychotherapy and mutual-help group treatment of conjugal bereavement.

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  • 1Center for the Study of Neuroses, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Sixty-one women who sought treatment for unresolved grief reactions 4 months to 3 years after the death of their husbands were randomly assigned to either brief dynamic psychotherapy with experienced clinicians or mutual-help group treatment led by nonclinicians. Women in both groups experienced a reduction in stress-specific and general symptoms as well as improvement in social and work functioning. Women in the brief psychotherapy group showed a greater decline in one measure of general symptoms, and there was greater attrition in the group treatment condition. When two subgroups who had completed the majority of sessions were compared, treatments were found to be equally effective.

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