The Application of Cognitive Therapy to the Bereaved

  • Stephen Fleming
  • Paul J. Robinson
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


In the present chapter the application of cognitive-behavior therapy to the treatment of those who have experienced the death of a loved one is outlined. A cognitive-behavioral approach is of particular value in the treatment of the bereaved because of the focus on personal meaning—in this case, the personal meaning of the loss to the bereaved. Depending upon individual circumstances, this focus on personal meaning may take one or more forms. First, it may involve exploration of the bereaved’s appraisal of the past, present, and hoped-for future relationship with the deceased. Second, it may entail the exploration of the bereaved’s expectations with regard to his/her understanding of the grief process. Finally, focus on personal meaning may involve exploration of the meaning of the loss and its impact on the survivor’s self-concept. Each of these foci receive more or less attention in therapy, depending upon the nature of the grief reaction and the therapist’s conceptualization of the key therapeutic issues that warrant consideration.


Cognitive Therapy Personal Meaning Automatic Thought Negative Automatic Thought Grief Reaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Fleming
    • 1
  • Paul J. Robinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Atkinson CollegeYork UniversityNorth YorkCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNorth York General HospitalWillowdaleCanada

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