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The Several Stages of Grief

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Brady Dent-McClean

on 9 September 2012

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Transcript of The Several Stages of Grief

G R I E F What is Grief? Grief is the natural, human response to the loss of something or someone A common misconception of grief is that the experience is the same for everyone. Everyone deals with Grief in different ways with emotional responses such as anger, depression or confusion. What Causes Grief? Another common misconception
of Grief is that it is caused only by
the loss of a close loved one. Grief may also be triggered by:
Being diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease
Divorce or end a relationship
Loss of job
Miscarriage or Stillbirth
Moving from a familiar home (Especially for the elderly) Signs and Symptoms Problems accepting the loss Inability to enjoy life Spiral into Depression and deep sadness Irritability or Agitation Have a loss of sense of purpose in life 1 The Five Stages of Grief It is important to realise that the Five Stages of Grief are not a designated course for which someone will undoubtedly go through when grieving. Everyone will experience this process differently. Some people may experience each stage to greater or lesser extent than someone else or may skip particular steps entirely. Shock and Denial Essentially, the denial stage is a way for people to avoid experiencing the pain of their loss.
Because the body is dealing with too much emotional trauma, it's simply easier to deny that there is anything wrong.
Becoming numb with shock is a normal reaction but should never be confused with 'not caring'. This also helps avoid the intensity of the pain of loss Shock and Denial Shock and Denial It is important to realise that this stage is experienced differently depending on the situation. For someone who's grieving a terminal illness-
People will often make remarks such as "I feel fine" or "This can't be happening, not to me."
For someone who's grieving a break-up-
The person who was broken up with will have trouble admitting that the relationship is over. Often they will try to call the person when they want to be left alone.
For someone who is grieving substance abuse-
People often feel that they don't have a problem with alcohol or drugs, and even if they do will label it as a small problem and will often claim that they "Have it under control" or "I can stop whenever I want". Shock and Denial It's never really certain how long a person will experience the Denial Stage but it is considered to be the one most short lived.
In order for this stage to run it's course, a person would need to be involved with the aftermath of there loss so they can gradually diminish the initial shock and disbelief.
Generally, people are forced to come to terms with their loss whether it be handling legal documents of a lost one, being separated from a parent after divorce or attending rehabilitation meetings after suffering substance abuse. It is after this that people will make the progression into the next stage. 2 3 4 5 Anger Anger As a person slowly eases out of the Shock and Denial Stage, the masking effects of denial begin to wear off and the reality of their situation re-emerges in full force.
It's a hard blow and usually a persons not ready to handle that overwhelming amount of emotions and as a result will redirect it as anger. Anger As the masking effects of the Shock and Denial Stage begin to wear off, a person is fiercely hit with the full impact of the reality and pain of their loss. The several mix of emotions simply becomes too overwhelming and are then redirected as anger. This newly found surge of anger may be directed at inanimate objects, complete strangers or family and friends. Generally, their is no sense of compassion or consideration when someone is taking out their anger upon someone else. So much so, that a person may yell, scream or insult even a sick or dying friend or loved one. Anger Depending on what a person has lost, what drives the surge of the newly found anger is different.
A woman who has suddenly lost her husband may feel anger towards her husband for leaving her with financial responsibilities.
A parent who has lost a child before his or her apparent time may feel anger towards God.
Pet owners sometimes feel anger towards themselves for failing to see the signs of their pets illness or injury.
Despite these reasons, they're may simply be no reason for anger but regardless needs to be processed before it explodes. Anger In order to move on and surpass the anger stage, the anger should be acknowledged and processed rather than pushed down and oppressed where it may manifest in inappropriate ways. Furthermore, it's also unhealthy for a person to be comfortable with the anger but may be resistant to accepting the loss and therefore remain in the anger stage for a long period of time, months or possibly years, constantly feeling bitter and betrayed. Anger The key is to embrace and feel the anger. Depending on the person and how they deal with anger there are a number of different ways to help process it.
Write in a journal to express you feelings in a safe and easy way
Talk to a family member, close friend or counselor about your feelings
Relieve the anger through physical movement such as jogging, dancing or martial arts
Practice meditation

It is then, when the anger is embraced and processed, that a person can move onto the next stage. Bargaining Bargaining Bargaining is a particularly difficult stage of the grieving process as it leads the grieving person to believe that there is something they can do to recover their lose, which in most cases, impossible.
It's understandable that a person would miss what they have lost and as a result will try to create a compromise with either themselves, a doctor, close friend or most commonly God, to recover their loss. Bargaining It's dependent on the situation as to what direction a person's bargaining may take.
- For someone who's lost a wive or husband may say:
"Please, take me instead." or "I'll do anything you want, just being him back."
- For a child who's lost their parents to divorce may say:
"I'll be good, I promise." or "I'll stop being naughty, please".
- For someone who's suffering from a terminal illness may say:
"If I could just live long enough to see my daughter get married." or "If i could ride my motorcycle one more time." Bargaining Once a person recognizes the futility of bargaining it's easier to progress into the next stage and ultimately find acceptance. Some ways to progress through the bargaining stage is to:
- Remain in the present moment (connect with people here and now)
- Keep to a routine (keeps the mind and body in comfort)
- Focus on positive aspects ( embrace this new reality)

When a person has surpassed their required time in the Bargaining Stage, it is then that they can progress further on. Depression Depression Finally, once all the masking effects of the previous stages have surpassed the reality of the loss as set it and a person will enter the depression stage.
When a person enters this stage, the feeling of sadness and helplessness take over and feel as though they'll last forever. Most people feel that because they are experiencing depression, they must have mental illness which only intensifies their depression. It's important to realize that experiencing depression after a loss is a natural and required response and will eventually subside and diminish with time and upon acceptance. Depression People often feel as though experiencing depression after a loss is unnatural and close friends and family will try to get the person grieving to 'snap out of it' or 'get fixed' as quickly as possible. This will not only disrupt the grieving process but may prolong it even further. It's important for the person to embrace the feeling of depression and allow it to run it's course. Depression Despite depression being a normal and required aspect of grief, there comes a time where if the depression is prolonged enough, it may develop into ongoing clinical depression, where a person feels as though life has lost it's meaning, they are unable to accomplish the basic chores of daily life or have suicidal thoughts.
It's is then where there should be cause for concern and professional aid is required.

A counselor who specializes in mental health should be referred to so they can assess the person's depression and take quick action to help them heal from their loss. Acceptance Acceptance Finally, a person is to enter the Acceptance Stage of Grief, where they have accepted their loss. This is not to be perceived as though the person is OK or alright with what has happened. This stage is about accepting the reality that what they have lost is gone and there is a new permanent reality that needs to be accepted. The 5 Stages of Grief is
a concept that has
thoroughly ingrained
itself into popular culture.
It's often referred to by
people of all areas of
the healthcare profession.
But is is true?
Is it accurate?
Or is it a Myth? Please, it's nothing but an
old myth! It's all fake! Of course it's true! It's a proven fact! 3 Common Myths About the Stage of Grief People have devised myths which are commonly associated about the Stages of Grief. This is an attempt to prove that the Stages of Grief are a false and inaccurate process of grieving.

1. The 5 Stages of Grief were defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Kubler-Ross' book, "On Death and Dying", presents 5 stages a terminally ill person may go through after learning of their illness. The book quotes them as "an attempt to summarise what we have learned from our dying patients in terms of coping mechanisms at the time of a terminal illness."
Rather than labeling these initial, proposed stages as, the "Stages of Grief" they would more accurately be named, "Stages to Receiving Horrific News". After the publication of the book, healthcare professionals have manipulated and altered the book into "The 5 Stages of Grief". 3 Common Myths About the Stage of Grief 2. The 5 Stages define the process a bereaved person MUST go through in order to resolve their grief.
The grieving process is a highly complex, unforeseeable, individual process that is very different for everybody. A process such as Grief could never be hoped to be generalised in 5 steps. 3 Common Myths About the Stage of Grief 3. A person who isn't progressing or experiencing the 5 Stage of Grief in sequence and a timely manner require professional help.
This believe causes a number of problems and misunderstandings. It has even been found that caregivers have actually gotten angry at some who is grieving because they are going through the bargaining stage before going through the denial stage. In further support for the falsities of the 5 Stages of Grief an article from "Scientific American" explains how there is no evidence to show that most people go through any of the stages in any order. According to Russell P. Friedman, executive director of the Grief Recovery Institute, "no study has ever established that the Stage of Grief actually exist, and what are defined as such can't be called stages". He then continues to say, "No matter how much people want to create simple, bullet-point guidelines for the human emotions of grief, there are no stages of grief that fit any two people or relationship." Further Fallacies of the Stages of Grief Further Fallacies of the Stages of Grief Friedman made his assessment after having daily encounters with people experiencing grief in practice. Psychologist Robert A. Neimeyer confirms his analysis. He concluded, explaining that scientific studies have failed to support that there is any emotional sequence present that can be generalised for every scenario when a person is grieving.

The article reflects the idea that the Stages of Grief are society's attempt to create some sort of order out of chaos.

The Stages are stories that, for the storyteller, may be true, but that doesn't necessarily make it valid for the story known as Science. "No Stages of Grief" Another article written by Russell Friedman, "No Stages of Grief", further explains how Kubler-Ross' initial theory of The Stages of Grief, which were originally associated with dealing with the news of terminal illness have been altered by students who have learned about the Stages in University and are applying them to all scenarios associated with Grieving. Freidman also states that the media has played a large role in the misconception of the Stages of Grief. When a tragedy makes the news, newscasters and alleged experts recite the Stage of Grief and medical and mental health professionals, especially the general public accept the theory without ever investigating its provenance or validity.

In summary, the article claims that the Stages of Grief are a complete misconception and an invalid theory towards the process of grief. Is it a one sided argument? Their is substantial evidence to support the arguement that the 5 Stages of Grief is a false and mythical theory which ceases to exist as nothing but a popular cultural belief.

But what about the evidence for supporting that the 5 Stages of Grief is in fact an accurate and evidential theory which can and should be applied to everyday events.

Is it enough to contradict and diminish the previous evidence or is there not enough to support the theory? Little Evidence Although it a common reference made by professionals of several areas of expertise, there is no experimental or scientific evidence to support that The 5 Stages of Grief are a true process of grieving.
Because of it's universal acknowledgment, no one has ever questioned the legitimacy of the theory. Little Evidence Despite the personal accounts of people who have claimed to have experienced their grief through the 5 stages, it's difficult to consider them as evidence as people TRY to progress through each stage in order as that's what they've been advised should happen.
If a patient were to not go through each stage in order, they would be considered to have dwelled into a deeper state of depression. By Brady Dent-McClean What's the Verdict? Personally, I believe, based on the strong and conclusive evidence that the theory of the 5 Stages of Grief do not actually exist. As a proven scientific fact, the 5 Stages of Grief, as defined, do not meet the criteria of proof required to establish them as valid.

Even though individuals, anecdotaly, may report feelings that mirror the Stages and sometimes even the order of the Stages, the hard evidence is insufficient to establish them as a universal law.
These are the 5 Stages most commonly presented as the manner in which we as humans deal with the event of a significant loss in our usual frame of reference for living. The 5 Stages of Grief
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