Have you or someone you know been faced with terminal illness or death of a loved one? The reality is nearly all of us have or will be a victim of loss and grief at some point. During such time, one is likely to experience a variety of different emotions as he or she struggles to work through the grieving process. In her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified and defined the five stages of loss and grief. The stages include denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While each stage is critical, everyone will experience each stage uniquely and at one’s own pace. According to Axerold (2006), the key to understanding the stages is not to go through every one precisely but instead to use the stages as a guide in the grieving process.

  1. 1.       Denial and isolation – Deny the situation; block out the words and hide the facts
  2. 2.       Anger – Blame others or the dying or deceased
  3. 3.       Bargaining – A need to re-gain control (ex:  “if only we (I) had….”)
  4. 4.       Depression (two types) – sadness and regret; preparation to separate (funeral, burial, etc)
  5. 5.       Acceptance (The Gift) – Closure

Do you feel unable to cope with your loss and grief? If so, you do not have to walk the road alone. The Refuge Center for Counseling specializes in offering hope to a hurting world and we want to help you reach the gift of acceptance. Feel free to contact us at (615) 591-5262 to schedule an appointment with a qualified therapist.

Axelrod, J. (2006).  The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 6, 2013 from

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