It's not clear how to prevent complicated grief. Participating in a brief course of counseling or psychotherapy soon after a loss may help, especially for people at increased risk of developing complicated grief. In addition, caregivers providing end-of-life care for a loved one may benefit from counseling and support to help prepare for death and its emotional aftermath.

Through early counseling, you can explore emotions surrounding your loss and learn healthy coping skills. This may help prevent negative beliefs about your loss from gaining such a strong hold that they're difficult to overcome. Talking about your grief and allowing yourself to cry also will help prevent you from getting stuck in your sadness. As painful as it is, trust that in most cases, your pain will start to lift if you allow yourself to feel it.

Family members, friends, group therapy and social support groups are all good options to help you work through your grief. You may be able to find a support group focused on a particular type of loss, such as death of a spouse or a child. Ask your doctor to recommend local resources.

Sep. 29, 2011

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