Family Therapy for the Bereaved

Family Therapy for the Bereaved
Type: Webinar
Presenter: David Kissaane, MD

The Family Focused Grief Therapy (FFGT) program is a brief, focused model of preventive family therapy delivered to families identified during palliative care to be ‘at risk’ of complicated bereavement. It is commenced in the clinical setting of a patient with advanced cancer, with the patient present at the meeting with the family.
It can form the basis of an initial routine family meeting during palliative care, and then continued family sessions can follow for families deemed to be at risk of morbid outcomes, or for families identified by screening to have some disturbance of their relational functioning, whether limited communication, poor teamwork or high conflict. FFGT has been shown recently to prevent the development of Prolonged Grief Disorder in bereavement.
The same model of family therapy can be started in bereavement if the family is being met then for the first time.


Learning Objectives


  • Review the background research upon which this model of family therapy for the bereaved has been developed, including how to recognise ‘at risk’ families.

  • Understand the core strategies and techniques of the Family Focused Grief Therapy model, including how to frame circular questions and offer therapeutic summaries.

  • Understand how to limit conflict and ensure safety in family meetings.

  • Critically appraise the benefits of family therapy for the bereaved.




David W. Kissane, MD is an academic psychiatrist, and psycho-oncology and palliative care researcher. He is currently the Head of Psychiatry for Monash University in Australia, recently the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and previously the Foundation Chair of Palliative Medicine at the University of Melbourne.

His academic interests include group, couples and family psychotherapy trials, communication skills training, studies of existential distress, and the ethics of end-of-life care. He developed a cognitive-existential model of group therapy for women with early stage breast cancer, which ameliorated fear of recurrence, and his trial of supportive-expressive group therapy for advanced breast cancer showed the prevention of depression alongside improved quality of life. He is best known for his model of family therapy delivered to ‘at risk' families during palliative care, which prevents complicated grief in bereavement. His work on demoralization as a variation of depression in the medically ill has preceded interventions to promote meaning-based coping.

At MSKCC, Prof Kissane established a Communication Skills Training and Research Laboratory, which developed an applied curriculum for oncology, training over 1000 clinicians. His books include the Textbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care with Oxford University Press (2017); Psycho-Oncology Care - Companion Guides for Clinicians I: The management of clinical depression and anxiety with Oxford University Press (2016); Bereavement Care for Families with Routledge (2014); Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care with Wiley-Blackwell (2011), Cancer and Depression for the World Psychiatric Association (2010); and Family Focused Grief Therapy with Open University Press (2002). Prof. Kissane was awarded the Jimmie C. Holland Chair in Psycho-oncology at MSKCC and was recognized by the International Psycho-Oncology Society in 2008 with their Arthur Sutherland Award for lifetime achievement.

Date  Tuesday 18th July, 2017
 10.30am - 12 noon

ACGB Member Price
Non-Member Price      
18/07/2017 10:30 AM - 18/07/2017 12:00 PM

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