Kubler-Ross Model Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist who spent a lot of time with dying people developed a grief model composed of five stages. All the five stages may not be experienced by grieving people and they may not necessarily occur in the same order.
The first stage identified by Ross is the denial stage. Under this stage, the grieving individual consciously or unconsciously refuses to accept the loss that has taken place (Chapman, n.d.). This is the stage when the person feels numb. This stage is a sort of defense mechanism for the grieving person.
The second stage of the grieving cycle is the anger stage, which is necessary for the healing process. The anger is towards “the loss and the unfairness of it” (Patricelli, n.d.). Anger can be directed at the family, friends, doctors, to God and even to the person who died (Kessler, n.d.). It is important to note that underneath the anger is the pain, the pain of being abandoned (Kessler, n.d.).
Bargaining is the third stage of the grieving process. This is the stage which is replete of the “If only…” or the “What if…” statements (Kessler, n.d.). Another emotion which one finds in this stage is guilt. A person sometimes blames himself for not doing something to prevent the loss. This is the stage where a person would try to promise to do something just to reverse the loss. If it is a matter of life or death, bargaining does not offer a solution (Chapman, n.d.).
The fourth stage of the grief cycle is the depression stage. At this stage the person feels sad, regretful, fearful and uncertain (Chapman, n.d.). Individuals undergoing this stage cry, suffer sleeping disorders, experience a change in eating habits and withdraw from their usual activities such as socializing with friends (Patricelli, n.d.). Depression is one of the important steps towards the healing process.
The fifth stage of the grieving cycle is the acceptance stage. This is the stage where one realizes that the loss is real and permanent and that nothing can bring back the loved one. Another realization at this stage is that life goes on even without the lost loved one. Learning to live without the loved one and starting a life again is part of the acceptance. It is at this stage where one experiences a sense of peace with what happened.
The grief model developed by Kubler should not be misinterpreted as a process whereby one has to go through the first stage to reach the last stage. The different stages can be experienced at the same time and may recur at anytime during the grieving process. One does not have to go through all the stages one after another. People should understand that the grieving process varies from one person to another. Other people get stuck in one stage while others move on quickly to another stage. Acceptance may be easier for some people while it is more difficult for others. Grieving is unique to every individual. What is important is that each one learns to come to terms with his own grief, in his own time and in his own way.
Chapman, A. (n.d.). Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – Five stages of grief. Retrieved from businessballs.com: http://www.businessballs.com/elisabeth_kubler_ross_five_stages_of_grief.htm
Kessler, D. (n.d.). The five stages of grief. Retrieved from grief.com: http://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/
Patricelli, K. (n.d.). Stage of grief models: Kubler-Ross. Retrieved from hsccs.org: http://www.hsccs.org/poc/view_doc.