Different Models of Grief/Loss

Description of the main points of 2 different models of grief/loss.

The first model I looked into was Kübler Ross who “Inspired by her work with terminally ill patients” (Kubler 1969) introduced the five stages of grief in 1969. The five stage model consists of  Denial, Anger, Bargaining and depression.

  • Denial is described as a defence stage and the refusal to accept what has happened.
  • Anger, the stage where a person goes through feelings of fury and may even look for someone to blame.
  • Bargaining this is the third stage where a person will turn towards feelings of hope. One example could be turning to a god they believe in to try and negotiate.
  • Depression is the stage where a person will start to realise what has happened. Reality hits where a person may experience feelings of helplessness, emptiness and severe sadness.

Acceptance is the final stage of the model where a person starts to come to terms with the situation and accepts what has happened.

The second model I looked at was a grief model by Colin Murray Parkes who like Kübler Ross’ stages; Parkes breaks grief down into different phases.

Shock and Numbness, similar to Kubler’s denial stage this is self-defence phase where a person is not ready to accept the situation.

Yearning and searching a phase of grief where a person experiences painful desire towards, someone, something or a situation.

Disorientation and disorganisation where a person will go through a period of mixed emotions. Like Kubler’s depression stage a person may experience extreme sadness and lack of interest towards life as the reality of the situation sinks in.

Reorganisation and resolution the phase where a person will start to come to terms with grief and loss. Adjusting to the situation and returning to their normal routine.

I personally think Kubler’s theory was easier to understand and also easier to research. Although originally inspired by terminally ill people, this model can be applied to other losses, such as a breakup, loss of job, infertility amongst many more. This model was one where I felt I was immediately able to self-reflect. As I went through the 5 stages each stage brought back a memory to different times of my life where I have experienced grief and loss.

When looking for Colin Murray Parkes theory I found it harder to clarify the phases. Different websites came up with different break downs. The model by Colin describes grief/loss as phases where ‘’ there is no specific or “usual” amount of time in which people experience/complete these phases’’ (Angela Morrow. (2019). The Four Phases and Tasks of Grief) everyone will inevitably experience grief and loss phases at some period of their life.

Overall going through each model made me realise that although experiencing these stages/phases in the past have made me feel empty. I now feel like I have come to terms more that these feelings are completely normal to any grief/loss situation. Looking back at the time I know I wished I had done things differently, or done more for a person because they are now gone. However, now I feel I have made it to the acceptance stage, I feel I did actually always do what I could. When the situation first hit me it became negative and concentrated on what I could have done as opposed to all the things I did do. I still feel bargaining is something that I do fairly often; I turn to tarot cards and spiritual messages for answers I may be looking for.

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