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In her landmark 1969 book, On Death and Dying, social scientist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined a five-stage model for the grieving process. She created this model from extensive work with terminally ill patients and it has been widely accepted by the general public. Kübler-Ross maintains that these stages are an incomplete expression of human emotion involved in grief, and can occur in any order.
Research from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross on the Grieving Process -
The Five Stages
Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief are:
In denial, the person rejects reality. Moving to anger, it is realized that reality cannot be denied, but negative emotions arise. With bargaining, the person seeks hope that reality can be avoided. When this is not the case, the person may sink into a depression before finally coming to terms with mortality.
While originally created from her work with dying people, these stages can be experienced by an individual suffering from any major life trauma, including the death of loved one, divorce, or loss of a job. Many children go through the grieving process and are effected by the divorce of their parents.
There are numerous critics to this model of the grieving process. Psychologist George Bonanno maintains that the Kübler-Ross stages do not exist at all, and that people experiencing a loss are more resilient than grieving, and that the absence of such grieving process is a health state. Psychologist Charles A. Corr believes that educators should move past reliance on the Kübler-Ross stages and work towards individual coping strategies.