Stages Of Grief

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Stages of grief have been defined in various ways by different mental health professionals. However, the most well known and perhaps widely accepted understanding of these stages was developed by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and subsequently outlined in her book, "On Death and Dying".

Kubler-Ross identified these stages as the feelings a patient experiences when informed of having a terminal illness. However, these stages can be applied to other situations; for example, dealing with the loss of a loved one. The five stages can even be applied to less than life-or-death matters, such as the breakup of a relationship.

The Five Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief, as delineated by Kubler-Ross, are the following: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. In other words, initially, when we're informed of bad news, we may feel, "This cannot be happening to me." Next, we may feel rage: "How dare God let this happen to me?"

Following that, we may engage in wishful thinking in the hopes of making the situation go away. "I promise to do (fill in the blank) if this would only stop." After that, a feeling of depression, or "I don't care," may replace the wishful thinking. Finally, and ideally, we learn to accept the loss. Therapy can help us get through these stages of grief and arrive at a place of acceptance.


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