The suggestion that grief has stages has been controversial ever since 1969 when the Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first proposed them in her groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying.
Still, as a licensed counselor who works with grieving clients on a regular basis, I have found that sharing my own understanding of Kubler-Ross’s stages can help clients make sense of their grief, which I hope this Topic will do for you.
But first, a few cautions. The stages of grief are overlapping and recycling, so even though we tend to move through them sequentially, we will also move back and forth between them and even recycle through them repeatedly in smaller circles over time.
We will also find ourselves in more than one stage at a time, so don’t think of them as strictly distinct or linear, but rather view each succeeding stage as becoming more dominant over time as we progress down the path of grieving.
So, here are the Five Stages of Grieving as I understand them AND have experienced them myself.