What is your opinion on the four stages of grief?

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Dr._Ann_Becker-Schutte (Psychologist (Verified) ) - 06 / 29 / 2011

I often use the image of a spiral with my clients to explore the emotions that we experience while grieving, and like AZBodyMindCounseling, I think that the Kubler-Ross stages make helpful labels for grief emotions instead of describing a stair-step process. We talk about moving through grief emotions in any order, and work on developing permission for grief emotions to recur throughout the progress on the spiral. I appreciate the language that the Kubler-Ross stages model provides--and I think that, with a stages model, some people may feel as though they are supposed to be "moving forward" rather than allowing themselves to experience grief emotions in multiple ways, at multiple times. It is pretty powerful to give that permission to feel whatever feelings are coming up!

AZBodyMindCounseling (Professional Therapist (Verified) ) - 06 / 29 / 2011

Dr. Kubler-Ross' stages of grief include actually five stages: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, and Acceptance. To call them stages is somewhat a misnomer as they aren't stages from a linear perspective. We don't go through them in one direction emerging neatly on the other side healed and intact. We segue from one stage to another, sometimes bouncing like a pinball. The importance of the stages concept to me is that we can know that it is normal to feel any and all of these emotions as a natural part of the grief process. We don't have to feel guilty or wrong that we aren't grieving correctly. Grief is a unigue process with each of us spending the amount to time in each stage and visiting them in the order and frequency that we need to progress. The existentialists say that life is loss, that from the beginning we stand to lose everything and every one we've ever cared for. A daunting thought when one is in the midst of loss, but essentially true. We can accept that loss is a natural part of living. Some argue we must indeed do so to appreciate what we have. As a counselor who helps people through grief and loss, I've learned there is no magic pill or therapy to take the pain away. We connect through our common experience of the human condition. We help each other through by sharing tears, smiles, hugs and hope.
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