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What are the Stages of Grief in the Kübler-Ross Model?

Christy Jones-Hudson, MA, IMH-E®

June 18, 2021

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Question

What are the stages of grief in the Kübler-Ross model?

Answer

The model that many people are well-informed about is the Kübler-Ross model. That is what we will focus on today as we talk about grief. In the 1960s, Elisabeth Kübler Ross introduced this model that consists of five different stages of grief most commonly referred to as DABDA.

  • Denial & Isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Those components make up the Kübler-Ross model for grieving. It is important to realize that in the original context, this model was used for people who were suffering from a terminal illness. Once you learned of your fate, it was said that you would go through this cycle of grief. One, you might be angry, you might begin to bargain, you might be in denial about your diagnosis, and then you may come to accept the diagnosis.

Today, we understand that there are many applications in which the Kübler-Ross model is used. It is used when someone loses a loved one and someone passes away. It is also used for significant financial losses such as the loss of a job or income or large sums of money due to the stock market. People who go through divorces often grieve the loss of that relationship with someone they spent so much time with. That makes a lot of sense to grieve that sense of losing a companion. Again, back to the original context, individuals grieve when they receive a diagnosis of a chronic illness for themselves, another loved one, or their child.

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Perspective-Taking: Understanding Challenges, Fears and Joys of Parents of Children with Special Needspresented by Christy Jones-Hudson, MA, IMH-E®.


christy jones hudson

Christy Jones-Hudson, MA, IMH-E®

Christy Jones-Hudson, director of children and family services for Goodwill Easterseals of the Gulf Coast, provides monitoring and oversight to early childhood education programs. She is the owner of a small consulting company, Multicoachural Consulting, LLC which provides training and technical services to programs with a focus on serving children with special needs. Her writing has been published in national platforms such as Exchange Magazine and Motherly. She is the creator of the Game Faces Preschool Membership for High Performers opening September 2020.


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