5 Stages of Grief: Is it Just a Myth?

stages-of-griefFor years now, many people have adhered to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief when they are trying to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, have become the standard by which people in all walks of life measure their progression through the fog of grief.

New studies and books that have been published recently show that, in fact, this is not the case. Several researchers in the field have described grief as something more of a stress reaction. No two people will experience their sadness the same and no one will have the same recovery path as anyone else. So, to adhere to five stages may actually have the opposite intended effect of giving some peace by creating a timeline.

According to Dr. George Bonanno, grief comes more in wave-like patterns, rather than the linear progression that the 5 stages of grief apparently take. Researchers have never actually been able to find proof of Kubler-Ross’s model when it comes to family members recovering from the loss of a loved one. Some say that the stage may identify parts of grief, not everyone experiences all of the stages and they may not experience them in any particular order.

Contrary to what has been suggested in the past, grief is not a psychological disorder. It is 100% natural to experience grief after the loss of a loved one. In fact, it’s more worrisome if you aren’t experiencing some form of grief. It’s not necessary to seek counseling or support if you don’t feel that you need it. However, if you become overwhelmed by your feelings of grief, then it is recommended that you talk to a professional about your situation.


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