Prolonged Grief Disorder



        It was two years after the tragic death of her daughter and Jane* couldn’t will herself out of bed the day prior to our session.  It was as if her muscles didn’t work; she had no energy at all.  “I can barely face life,” she admitted.  “I am either barely hungry or supremely starving.  Every day, I’m sad that I wake up. I just want to sleep.  If I’m being totally honest, I could care less if I live or die.” 


        “It’s my fault,” Joe* broke down in my office.  “If I had only talked to him, kept in better touch, maybe he would still be here today.”  The suicide of Joe’s loved one left him with tremendous survivor’s guilt and he couldn’t seem to move on with his life.  “He’s all I can think about.  If I laugh, I feel so angry at myself.  There’s nothing funny, there’s no joy.  He’s gone.”


        One of the most difficult challenges to cope with in life is the traumatic death of a loved one.  The pain and grief are overwhelming.  Clients sometimes express that they feel like they’re stuck in a permanent, painful “new normal” - an existence in which there’s nothing normal about.  Living hurts.


         I’m here to help you.


         I specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of grief that doesn’t seem to go away.  This intense grief impacts people’s abilities to function in daily life.  It’s called Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD), formerly referred to as Complicated Grief.  This disorder is more likely to occur after sudden or violent deaths, such as deaths by homicide, suicide or accident, especially if the individual who died was the person’s child or romantic partner.  


         Prolonged Grief Disorder is a treatable condition that affects an estimated 7-10% of the population. Untreated PGD can lead to substance abuse, suicidal thinking, sleep disturbances and impaired immune function.  


        Some of the symptoms of Prolonged Grief Disorder include:

  • Marked sense of disbelief about the death
  • Feeling as if a part of you has died
  • Avoidance of reminders of the person who has died
  • Intense emotional pain related to the death
  • Problems engaging with friends, pursuing interests, planning for the future
  • Emotional numbness
  • Feeling that life is now meaningless
  • Feeling detached from others, feeling alone or loneliness



For people suffering from Prolonged Grief Disorder, many also experience other disorders such as panic, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.  Approximately 80% of people with PGD experience chronic sleeping problems. 


Using evidence-based treatment modalities, I work with clients on symptom relief, to work towards accepting the reality of the loss, and to restoring life in the new world without their loved ones. 


If you or someone you love is grieving, please reach out to me so we can walk this journey together.  You are not alone and there is help here for you.


*Names and details are changed to protect anonymity

Contact Me

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 44

Black Diamond, Washington 98010


Office Location:

1174 Myrtle Avenue, Suite 106

Enumclaw, Washington


Phone: 360-469-4179

Appointment Times

Monday - Thursday

8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.



8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  



7:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m







24-Hour King County Crisis Line


Client Forms

New client? Please complete the inital paperwork prior to your first visit. New client forms are available as PDF downloads emailed directly to you.

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© Gera McGuire, MA, NCC, LMHC