Cognitive Therapy Helps Relatives of Suicide Cases
But complicated grief, depression and suicidal thoughts remain
FRIDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Relatives and spouses bereaved by suicide who undergo cognitive behavior therapy are less likely to blame themselves for the death, but they still endure complicated feelings of grief and depression and may contemplate their own suicide, according to a study published online April 20 in the BMJ.
Marieke de Groot, a psychiatric nurse at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a study of 122 first-degree relatives and spouses of 70 people who committed suicide. While 68 participants from 39 families underwent four sessions of family-based cognitive behavior therapy with a trained psychiatric nurse counselor, the remaining 54 participants from 31 families were assigned to a control group with no intervention.
When the two groups reported on their feelings, there was no difference in terms of complicated grief, thoughts of suicide or depression, but those in the intervention group were less likely to blame themselves for the suicide and were less likely to report maladaptive grief reactions.
"Having a chance in counseling to reflect on and acknowledge their loved one's difficulties before the suicide may have helped relatives to realize that they did nothing wrong. Informing relatives of the psychiatric context of suicidal behavior might have challenged their perceptions of guilt and self-blame," the authors concluded.