5 stages of grief

5 stages of grief

Noted Swiss-American psychiatrist, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (7/8/1926 to 8/24/2004), posited that there are 5 stages of grief that individuals and their loved-ones encounter when diagnosed with a terminal illness:

1. Denial – Shock and disbelief prevail; the x-ray must have been interpreted wrong!
2. Anger – Why me? This is not fair!
3. Bargaining – God, I will go to church every day if you spare me.
4. Depression – There’s no hope.
5. Acceptance – A person has come to terms with the inevitable and a sense of serenity can emerge.

It is important to note the stages are not linear. In other words, people do not necessarily begin with step one, then move on to step two and so forth. Likewise, there is no set length of time one may spend in any given stage. Lastly, not all people go through every stage; some may experience only a few.

Dr. Kubler-Ross’s work provides a framework for understanding and empathizing with an individual coping with a major loss. It may be helpful for clients to know that processing through these stages is normal which, in turn, may promote an increased sense of control and self-compassion.”

Stephen Smith

Mental Health Counselor at Canyon Lakes Family Counseling Center
Stephen has over two decades of social service experience among the private sector, federal government and state government. This has included provision of social services to a wide range of individuals including families, disadvantaged youth, disabled workers and prisoners.

Additionally, he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Psychology from Central Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Washington State University. While not at work, Stephen enjoys spending time with his amazing family and volunteering at his church, Calvary Chapel.

For Stephen, it is an honor to come alongside his clients in their time of need in order to listen, comfort and counsel them.
Stephen Smith

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