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

Five Stages Grief Exploring The Kübler Ross Model

5. Acceptance

 In the Kübler-Ross model, acceptance{5} 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 This is when you feel calm yet withdrawn. 

Here, our thoughts and feelings start to become more stable as we become more grounded with the actual reality. The stage involves constant readjustment as the individual may finally begin to function normally again, at school, work, relationships, social settings, and in their personal life. They may invest more time in strengthening other relationships or even build new ones with time. Although they realize that their deceased loved ones can never be replaced, they choose to move ahead, evolve, and grow in their actual reality.

When we reach the stage of acceptance, we don’t stop feeling the emotional pain associated with loss. We simply stop resisting our reality and stop struggling to change it.

Read also: How Radical Acceptance Can Help You Get Through Tough Times

The adapted stages of the Kübler-Ross model

The Five Stages of Grief was later adapted by author David Kessler who co-wrote the book ‘On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss’ with Elisabeth Kübler Ross. {7} According to Kessler, the book focuses on the much-needed adapted stages of grief. “The stages have evolved since their introduction and have been very misunderstood over the past four decades,” he explains. {6} These stages are not meant to categorize or structure difficult & disorganized emotions. These are raw emotions that someone going through bereavement and grief experiences. These are not typical reactions and emotions.

The Five Stages of Grief was developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to understand and explain the various ways we process and experience grief. However, the Kübler-Ross model was greatly misinterpreted and misunderstood and Kübler-Ross regretted writing the book in a way that made it look like a predictable and linear progression. These stages were originally considered by Kübler-Ross as a reflection of how some individuals deal with disease and death. These were not developed as observations of how someone grieves.

The Five Stages Of Grief: Exploring The Kübler-Ross Model
When grief is deepest

Although Kübler-Ross died in 2004, the adapted version of her model helps to rectify some of the flaws in the original version and manages to help people understand their emotional responses to loss and suffering. As per David Kessler, the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, help us understand how we learn to survive, live and thrive when we have lost someone we love. These stages are meant to help us identify and understand what we are feeling and going through. But they do not necessarily follow a linear path as grief is different for everyone. Not everyone experiences all the stages or progresses through them in any specific order. These stages are simply meant as a tool to help us better cope with loss and life.

However, it should be kept in mind that although the Kübler-Ross model has historical value, it is considered to be scientifically outdated, especially in clinical practice.

Read also: Grief Has No Expiration Date; You Don’t Need to Feel Guilty for Your Sadness

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