The Five Stages Of Grief: Exploring The Kübler-Ross Model

Five Stages Grief Exploring The Kübler Ross Model

Licensed professional counselor and mental health Jodi Clarke, LPC/MHSP explains that anger “tends to be more socially acceptable than admitting we are scared. Anger allows us to express emotion with less fear of judgment or rejection.”

“Where denial may be considered a coping mechanism, anger is a masking effect. Anger is hiding many of the emotions and pain that you carry,” explains Healthline. It adds “Anger may mask itself in feelings like bitterness or resentment. It may not be clear-cut fury or rage.”



When we begin to realize that anger is not the solution, we will begin to bargain. We begin to negotiate with God, Universe, divine power or even yourself to make things like they were used to. To take death away. To go back to the way of life before the tragic event. Bargaining is a natural response and acts as a coping mechanism against the feeling of grief. It’s when we try to come up with various alternate scenarios inside our minds. We start making several “if only” and “what if” statements. Bargaining enables us to delay the emotions of pain, confusion, and sadness.

Professional counselor Jodi Clarke explains “When bargaining starts to take place, we are often directing our requests to a higher power, or something bigger than we are that may be able to influence a different outcome.” She adds “While bargaining we also tend to focus on our personal faults or regrets. We might look back at our interactions with the person we are losing and note all of the times we felt disconnected or may have caused them pain.” Bargaining is a way to protest the helplessness we feel in the tragic reality.

Read also: 5 Ways To Help Someone Who Is Dealing With Loss


Feelings of depression arise due to feelings of helplessness and being powerless in a terrible situation. Unlike anger and bargaining, depression is a rather quiet stage in the Kübler-Ross model. Depression can be a natural emotion when coping with a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one. During grief, depression may refer more to a deep sadness than a mental health problem. We may become isolated and withdrawn, yet feel lonely. However, this stage can actually help us to cope with the tragic event. “That doesn’t mean, however, that depression is easy or well defined. Like the other stages of grief, depression can be difficult and messy. It can feel overwhelming. You may feel foggy, heavy, and confused,” explains Healthline.

According to an article in The Cut, “The depression stage typically marks the beginning of a deeper, more realized grief, in which the grieving party realizes that the precipitating event is real, and maybe irreversible.”

Christina Gregory, PhD writes “Depression is a commonly accepted form of grief. In fact, most people associate depression immediately with grief – as it is a “present” emotion. It represents the emptiness we feel when we are living in reality and realize the person or situation is gone or over.”

What they say is true, grief doesn’t end


 In the Kübler-Ross model, acceptance does not refer to a hopeful or happy stage of grief. It does not denote that you have overcome the emotional pain of the loss. It does not mean that you become “okay” with the loss and you get back to your life as it was. Although it does mean that you’ve learned to accept the truth and learned to live with reality. Now you know that there is a void in your life and you choose to move forward with that emptiness inside you. Acceptance is about finding the will to live again with your broken heart. It is not about forgetting or replacing what we have lost. Acceptance is about learning to move ahead while carrying them in our hearts and minds. This is when you feel calm yet withdrawn. 

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