Working With the Five Stages of Grief
Sign up for the support newsletter here.
I recently watched a movie autobiography of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. She was considered an important pioneer in the field of death and dying. (If you are interested in the movie, this is the link: Facing Death).
Dr. Kübler-Ross’research identified 5 stages of grief that the dying progress through. You may identify these stages in all types of grief. When noted, you can normalize these emotions for the people you are working with and help them along to the final stage.
1. Denial-This stage is an inability to accept the reality of the circumstances. Although a person may become “stuck” in an unhealthy way in this stage, denial is the psyche’s attempt to mitigate the pain involved in the situation.
2. Anger-This emotion may be directed at any person or organization involved in the situation. It is difficult to make rational decisions when anger is in play.
3. Bargaining-This phase of grief is often when the struggling person attempts to “make a deal” usually with God, maybe with doctors. This is an attempt to assert some type of control of the situation.
4. Depression-This is the beginnings of acceptance. It is a period of sadness and continuing regret over the situation.
5. Acceptance-The culmination of the grief process. Usually, the person has gained some objectivity about the circumstances.
Grief is not a “neat and clean” process and a person may move back and forth between all the stages. Each person takes their own path through grief. As helpers, we can support a person depending on the stage where we assess them to be.
Reference for Dr. Kübler-Ross here. For more information, Dr. Kübler-Ross’ foundation website is here.
Question or comments? Contact me at Allison@allisonvelez.com