Navigating the Journey: Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief

Jan 24, 2023

Grief is a natural and universal human experience that we all will go through at some point in our lives. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job, or a dream, grief can be a difficult and painful process. To help us understand and navigate this process, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross proposed the Five Stages of Grief.

SCU Services grief-1024x684 Navigating the Journey: Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief

The first stage of grief is denial.

This is the initial stage of grief in which the individual is in shock and unable to accept the reality of the loss. They may have difficulty believing that the loss has occurred and may feel numb or detached. This stage is a defense mechanism that helps us to cope with the overwhelming emotions that come with a loss.

The second stage is anger.

As the individual begins to process their loss, they may feel anger and frustration. They may blame themselves or others for the loss and feel a sense of injustice. This stage is an important part of the grieving process as it allows the individual to release their emotions and come to terms with the reality of the loss.

The third stage is bargaining.

The individual may try to negotiate or make deals with a higher power in an attempt to reverse or lessen their loss. They may ask “Why me?” and “What if?” questions. This stage is a way for the individual to try to regain some sense of control over the situation and to find meaning in the loss.

The fourth stage is depression.

The individual may feel overwhelmed by sadness and despair as they fully come to terms with their loss. They may withdraw from their normal activities and feel a sense of hopelessness. This stage is a natural part of the grieving process and is a necessary step in healing.

The final stage of grief is acceptance.

The individual begins to come to terms with their loss and is able to move forward. They may find new meaning in their lives and begin to rebuild their future. This stage does not mean that the individual is completely over their loss, but rather that they have learned to live with it and to find ways to cope with the pain.

It’s important to note that these stages of grief are not a linear process and some people may experience different stages at different times or not at all. Grief is a personal and unique experience that can vary depending on the individual and the type of loss they have experienced. It is important to remember that everyone grieves in their own way and there is no right or wrong way to grieve.