A quasi-experimental trial of narrative reconstruction for prolonged grief disorder: Symptomatic improvement and enhanced memory integration

Gali Elinger, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Yael Bar-Shachar, Tuvia Peri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) was recently approved as a formal diagnosis in the DSM-5-TR. The implementation of bereavement interventions is frequently requested, but their effectiveness has been controversial. Narrative reconstruction (NR) is a time-limited integrative therapy, originally developed for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and adapted for the treatment of PGD. NR consists of exposure to the loss memory, a detailed written reconstruction of the loss memory narrative, and an elaboration of the personal significance of that memory for the bereaved. Objectives: In this study we evaluated the efficacy of NR for PGD. Method: In this study, 33 participants with PGD were quasi-randomized—that is, assigned to an immediate (n = 20) or delayed (n = 13) 16-session NR intervention. PGD, intrusion, avoidance and depression symptoms, as well as levels of the loss memory integration, were assessed at pretreatment, post-treatment, and at a 3-month follow-up. Results: Mixed linear models showed significant intervention effects for PGD and intrusive symptomatology. Results also showed an increase in integration of the loss memory, and improvements remained stable for all outcomes at follow-up. Conclusion: In this study we established NR as an effective intervention for PGD and call for further validation in future studies. Integrating this intervention into the routine care of people with PGD seems important and beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2849-2868
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number12
Early online date17 Aug 2023
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Clinical Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


This study was supported by a grant from the Danielle Sonnenfeld Foundation in Israel. The authors thank all the patients who participated in this trial, and all therapists and raters who administered the interventions and assessments.

FundersFunder number
Danielle Sonnenfeld Foundation in Israel


    • memory integration
    • narrative reconstruction
    • prolonged grief disorder


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