Stages of Grief

Kubler-Ross Model

Two Dried Leaves

What are the stages of grief?

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote a critically acclaimed book entitled, "On Death and Dying". In her book, she introduces a model known as the five stages of grief. The model postulates a progression of emotional states experienced by terminally ill patients after diagnosis, however this model can arguably be applied to any form of loss. The five stages are chronologically: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Bloom

A closer look at the stages of grief.

  1. Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage, individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality.

  2. Anger – When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"; "Why would this happen?".

  3. Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise. Examples include the terminally ill person who "negotiates with God" to attend a daughter's wedding or an attempt to bargain for more time to live in exchange for a reformed lifestyle.

  4. Depression – "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon, so what's the point?"; "I miss my loved one; why go on?"
    During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.

  5. Acceptance – "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it; I may as well prepare for it."
    In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions.

Foggy Pier

Depression and Loss Hotlines

The website:

https://griefresourcenetwork.com/crisis-center/hotlines/

provides several hotline resources more specific to your loss.