Sunday, May 31, 2009

More about the Kubler-Ross Model

The last blog entry I identified Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's 5 stages of grief. I think it is important to mention that this model has received criticism over the years. Most of the criticism comes from the model being developed for the terminally diagnosed patient, not necessarily for the bereaved family and friends. Some of the other criticism comes from misconceptions and misinterpretations of the stages. However, it is my opinion that this model can be helpful on the grief journey. Grief is not an easy journey. No two people will ever grieve the exact way. But, this model can offer insight into the grief journey.
First and foremost, do not consider this a linear model. So, do not expect to pass from stage 1, on to stage 2, then stage 3, etc. If you can, imagine the stages of this model being in a circle with no particular place to begin or end. There are no stages to "graduate" and no certain place to start the journey. The stages (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression & Acceptance) can be revisited, rearranged and even removed for some people.
Lastly, I would like to discuss the Acceptance stage. I feel there is a lot of misconceptions about this particular stage. For example, when someone is in the Acceptance stage it DOES NOT mean that they must be "okay" or "like" the loss of their loved one. In my mind the Acceptance stage is more about realizing and acknowledging the reality of the loss. So, it is more about the permanence of the loss and the griever finding a way to "settle" into their new life without their loved one. As well as, being able to integrate the loss/grief into their life and function without overwhelming feelings of loss consuming them.
Unfortunately life will never go back to what it was prior to the death. But, a new sense of normalcy and a return to hope can be achieved.

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