Wednesday, February 6, 2008

5 Stages of Grief

The Kübler-Ross model describes in detail five stages of the grief process. These stages especially apply when the death was or will be related to a terminal illness.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying", describes these five discrete stages as the process that one goes through when dealing with traumatic loss. These stages are not exclusive to death, but also include divorce and loss of freedom or income, any form of traumatic loss. For our purposes we will outline the five stages of the Kübler-Ross model as it applies to grieving due to terminal illness and/or death.

1. Denial: This is the initial stage when we are first presented with the news of a death. Even if death was inevitable due to illness or age, we still feel that it can not be happening.

2. Anger: Anger almost always follows Denial; it is an essential part of the process. Without going through the feelings of anger on the surface, we could not get deeper into the emotional complexities of grieving.

3. Bargaining: This is a stage that only some people go through and only in some instances. Bargaining is basically the bartering of your own life, soul or material goods in exchange for the continued life of a person or to end the suffering of those left behind to deal with the grieving process.

4. Depression: In this stage many people find that they are in good company, so to speak. Almost everyone dealing with grief goes through this stage. It is hard and virtually impossible at times to move on, at least for awhile and this is just simply depressing.

5. Acceptance: This stage is actually a process in and of itself. It takes time to reach this point and no one person reaches it in the same amount of time. This is truly the definition of "time heals all things". We do not forget the person, but we are now sure that we can go on.


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