Counseling & Therapy Services -Towson, MD
Barbara Reade, MS, LCPC 410-916-6017
The Stages of Grief and Recovery
Author: Barbara Reade, MS, LCPC
The stages of mourning and grief are experienced by people in all cultures. Grieving occurs in response to an individual’s own serious illness, the loss of someone close, the death of a valued being, human or animal, or any other significant loss in one's life. There are five stages of normal grief according to the research of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”
Each person has their own way of grieving and their own time frame for grieving. Often people go through these stages many times, in any order, until the grief is finally cleared.
These are the steps of grief as decribed by Dr. Kubler-Ross:
1. Denial- The first reaction to learning of a great loss is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. This reaction buffers a person from the immediate shock. This is a noraml response that carries us through the first wave of pain.
2. Ange-r As the effects of denial fade,, reality and its pain emerge. The intense pain of this emotion is often expressed as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one, or others close to us, even though logically we know it is not deserved.
3. Bargaining- this is a normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability and tends to help us temporarily feel like we may be able to have some control over the loss:
We may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. Many other types of bargaining can also take place. Each person does this is their own individual way.
4. Sadness- most people will to come to a time when tears and sadness feel like an all too frequent companion. It is important to know this is a necessary process to help the mind, body, and spirit heal from the overwhelm of loss.
5. Acceptance-it is hoped that everyone who goes through the mourning process will ultimately come to a place of acceptance concerning their loss. Unfortunately, sometimes people can get 'stuck' in grief and feel that the sadness will never change. If this happens, working through grief with a highly trained grief therapist can be very helpful.
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Barbara Reade MS, LCPC 410-916-6017
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