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             27 June, 2022
 

    
Category:  Articles » Self Improvement » Grief-Loss

 

Grief Recovery Stages Summarized

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2009-05-21 05:20:26     
Article by Maurice Turmel PhD

The stages of Grief Recovery are often confused with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' Stages of Death and Dying. This schema evolved as a result of her therapeutic work with terminally ill individuals whose reactions to a Terminal Illness diagnosis she summed up as follows. Terminally ill individuals would go through: 1) Denial; 2) Anger; 3) Bargaining; 4) Depression; and 5) Acceptance. This group of stages has nothing to do with the grief recovery process even though they are mistakenly quoted as such.

In reviewing the available material from various Mental Health Associations and my own 25 years of experience helping individuals, couples and families deal with Grief and Loss, I can offer the following stages of Grief Recovery. These coincide well with our current understanding of the bereavement process and what grieving individuals actually go through. In this article I aim to clear up a long standing area of confusion.

1) Numbness and Shock: - We hear the news about the death of a loved one and our mind goes into shock. The news is too unbelievable, too hard to digest in one sitting. Numbness enters the picture because our mind is still reeling from the news as our body goes into a state of emotional numbness. We try desperately to process this terrible news. Simple tasks now feel overwhelming. Feelings of disorientation and displacement are common. Some have described this as a dreamlike state where you feel disconnected from events and people around you. Funeral arrangements and other issues are accomplished mechanically.

Stage 2) Disintegration and Disorganization - Eventually shock wears off, and our grief feelings come to the fore. You may feel like youre falling apart or adrift in a sea of feelings that are quite new to you. A good grief resource, grief counsellor or support group can help you navigate this part of the experience more readily. You may have some physical symptoms such as sleeplessness that you can take up with your family doctor. Feelings of anger, depression, anxiety and confusion are also common. Breaking into tears for no apparent reason is also normal, given the circumstances.

3) Grief Recovery and Bereavement - This is the heart of your grief recovery work. Those initial reactions, which you had little or no control over, have given way to the deeper experience of loss. You now realize you have entered grief and are ready to consider options for recovery. Grief books, grief audio books, poetry, music, counseling and group support are all up for consideration. You can join an online support group these days and meet with other grieving individuals who are dealing with a similar loss. You are told, by many different sources, that you will need to deal with your feelings now, that there are all kinds of supports available and you are not alone, unless you choose to be. Feeling like a victim? That's a choice too!

4) Reintegration / Coming back Together: You've been working through your bereavement and grief recovery using all available resources. Help in the form of counseling, support groups, books and related materials have helped guide you throught the process. Dealing with emotions and feelings has begun to pay off. You're feeling like your old self more and more with each passing day. Emotional breakdowns are far and few between. When they do come they are short-lived because you deal with them efficiently. You realize your life has been changed and you've had to change to meet the new challenge. Nothing is the same after a loved one dies but we can move on. As the hurt fades away you realize that your love for them remains strong in your heart.

As you can see these 4 stages of grief recovery are not the same as the Kubler-Ross designations. There are some similarities but the differences are quite stark. What you go through in grief recovery and bereavement is not the same as what an individual with a terminal diagnosis has to face. Bereavement results from the loss of a loved one, through murder, suicide, accident or illness and may involve the loss of a parent, child, spouse, friend or life partner. I have dealt with all of these losses so I know on a personal level that these stages make sense.

At this point I'd like to offer the following recommendations. 1) Look for a good book or audio book resource at your favorite bookstore or online. This will be a resource you can access whenever you need to and should contain a step by step program for your grief recovery. 2) See if there are grief support groups available in your area. Churches and community centers often host these year round. This helps normalize what you are going through and nullifies the feeling of being alone when dealing with this type of tragedy.

3) Sometimes local groups are not available. Not to worry because online Grief Support Networks are plentiful. Just do a search for "Grief Support Online" and numerous choices will be available to you. Again, the main benefit is community and a sense of belonging. There is no need to go through grief alone or suffer for an extended period of time. Share your story with others and listen to theirs. This helps you both. 4) If necessary see a therapist. Some of your early experiences may be too overwhelming or confusing. See an expert. He or she will help you get on track with a tailor made grief recovery program.

Specialized in: Grief Recovery Stages - Stages Of Grief Recovery - Stages Of Grief And Grieving - Stages Of Grief - Stages Of Grieving - Stages Of Bereavement - Bereavement Stages
URL: http://www.howtocopewithgriefandloss.com
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