Stages of Grief

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What are the Stages of Grief?

Grief is a natural response to the death of a loved one and is also probably the most complicated and misunderstood emotion.

There is yet to be a unanimous number on the stages of grief as different experts claim different numbers.

Some claim there are 5 stages of grief, 6 stages of grief, 7 seven stages of grief, 9 stages of grief, 12 stages of grief. The key question is, which of them should we follow?

We all experience grief at some point in our lives, and we appear to have a preconceived idea of what grief experience looks and feels like. 

The way we experience grief varies from person to person and depends on factors like age, background, belief system, social relations, and mental health.

All these factors contribute to the individual grief experience, which we can divide into different types.

Having a comprehensive understanding of different grief processing models is important to be better prepared and support others who are dealing with grief.

Below is the table of content you can use to navigate any specific question you have in your mind.

Table of Content

Stages of Grief

Alternative Models of Grief

Final thoughts

The stages of grief were never intended to be a roadmap as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross reflected about 25 years after the first introduction of the stages of grief when she said:

“The stages of grief were never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to a loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives.” On Grief and Grieving (1995)

“Grief is the normal but bewildering cluster of ordinary human emotions arising in response to a significant loss, intensified and complicated by the relationship we have lost.” Dr Bill Webster.

Grief is not a contest to see who will fit five Kubler-Ross stages best or a race to the finish line. The emotions of grief can often feel overwhelming.

Whilst grief is universal it is also unique, which means that an extremely personal thing that only you know how to cope with.

I hope that this FAQ on stages of grief helps you make sense of the different emotions of grief that you may experience during your grieving process.

It is important to note that these models are frameworks and you should not be bent on neatly fitting into any one of them.

They serve as a guide as you learn to cope with grief following the death of your loved one.

I hope that understanding different grief model will help you develop a better coping, grieving process and strategies.

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