Experience of application of the meaning-centered psychotherapy to Japanese bereaved family of patients with cancer - A mixed-method study

Palliat Support Care. 2022 Dec 9;1-9. doi: 10.1017/S147895152200150X. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: This study aimed to adapt the meaning-centered psychotherapy (MCP) to treat post-bereavement grief in Japanese bereaved families who lost their loved ones to cancer and to examine the feasibility of the intervention using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Methods: A modified version of MCP was developed with cultural consideration. Bereaved individuals aged ≥18 years who had lost their family members to cancer at least 6 months before and had severe or persistent grief with a score of ≥26 on the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG-19) were included in the study. The participants received the modified version of MCP, which was provided in a 5-session monthly format. The levels of grief (ICG-19), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CES-D]), general health (General Health Questionnaire-12), and post-traumatic growth (Post-traumatic Growth Inventory -Short Form) were compared before and after the intervention.

Results: Five bereaved individuals were enrolled, and all the participants completed the program. The mean scores of the ICG-19. The participants' sense of regret, guilt, and being separated from the deceased person gradually shifted to the reappraisal of the experience, leading to a broadened view of the relationship with the deceased, and rediscovery of the core values, identity, and roles of the participants through the process of rediscovery of the meaning of life.

Significance of results: A modified version of the MCP was well accepted by Japanese bereaved families. The intervention appears to promote the rediscovery of the meaning of life and appears to have the potential to alleviate the bereaved individuals' depression and grief-related symptoms and to facilitate their post-traumatic growth.

Keywords: Bereavement; Brief psychotherapy; Depression; Meaning; Prolonged grief.