Grief is our natural healing response to the loss of someone or something that we had loved or when we are faced with extreme change. It is a complex process, not an event, proceeding in stages from initial shock and chaos through adaption on to acceptance and transformation.
THE KUBLER-ROSS MODEL
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross postulates a model grief resolution that includes a series of distinct stages experienced by survivors of an intimate’s death. Both sufferers and therapists have reported the usefulness of the Kübler-Ross Model. Kübler-Ross later expanded her model to include many forms of personal loss and trauma, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or income, major rejection, the end of relationship or divorce, drug addiction, incarceration, the onset of a disease or chronic illness, an infertility diagnosis, and even minor losses in a wide variety of situations.
5 Stages of Grief
The first reaction is denial. In this stage, individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality.
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?”
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.
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. Examples of some psychological expressions during this stage are:
• “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?”
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. Examples of psychological responses in this stage are:
• “It’s going to be okay.”
• “I can’t fight it; I may as well prepare for it.”
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