10 Stages of Grief

10 stages of grief counseling naples florida

One unifying fact about everyone living on this earth is that we will all die. Death and dying are uncomfortable, omnipresent realities of being human.

As such, everyone experiences grief at some point in their life- loss of a loved one is inevitable. Yet, the experience is gut-wrenching and complex each time you have to face it.

Each person copes with grief differently. The grieving process does not follow a structured time schedule. However, the experience tends to come in stages.

Learning about the stages of grief can help you cope with the emotion healthily. I’m going to share 10 stages of grief (expanding on Elisabeth Kübler Ross’s Kübler ross Model of denial anger bargaining depression and acceptance).

With this model, you’ll know what to expect in terms of the 10 stages and grief therapy goals in your healing and mental health journey.

10 stages of grief depressed woman

10 stages of grief

Whether or not the death of a loved one was anticipated (like working with a terminally ill family member), the first response after loss typically involves a level of shock that this is reality. You freeze in the reality that your whole world just changed.

Allow yourself to feel shocked and disbelief, knowing this is a natural response to a significant loss.

The mind can only handle so much emotion, and it is natural to experience denial about the circumstances.

Don’t rush yourself to think too far into the future. Gradually start to tolerate the pain and reality associated with your new situation.

The emotions associated with loss are intense. The level of hurt may feel unfamiliar to you. Coping with loss is extremely painful.

Practice patience and self-compassion, knowing that feelings of pain are temporary and normal.

Once the reality of the situation sets in, and you feel the pain, you may notice yourself feeling angry. Why me? This isn’t fair. It doesn’t make sense. You may look for someone to blame. You may feel angry at how little the people around you seem to understand.

Recognize that feeling angry is justified, and can also serve as a natural defense mechanism to avoid feeling pain. Channel these emotions in ways that are effective for you. Try journaling, exercising, or expressing your feelings through therapy.

As you navigate your anger, you may be resistant to accepting this reality and returning to a “new-normal” version of your life. It feels too painful to leave this person and experience in the past.

It’s important to not rush yourself, and to work on one goal at a time. Focus on your self, your relationships, your work- prioritize returning to your life in a way that makes sense to you.

Once you get through the acute pain and anger, you may notice the space clearing for a more heavy sense of sadness and depression to set in. No matter what you do, who you blame or place anger toward, the reality of this loss is here to stay.

In your sadness, seek support from friends or a therapist. At this point, you may find in helpful to join a support group or read a book on death. Nurture yourself with activities that feel compassionate.

At this point in your grief journey, you will begin to understand what it means to live with this reality, and these emotions, in the long term. You will always carry this pain as part of your story, though the intensity becomes more tolerable. You experience the emotions in waves.

At this point, the high-intensity level of feelings of grief are processed, and you can reintegrate into your life in a new way. You begin attending to your normal life again, maybe even exploring new interests.

Don’t try to make everything look the way it once was. Explore the possibilities for a new chapter of your story. There will be good days and difficult days, but you accept yourself wherever you are.

Over time, with perspective, make meaning about the life and loss you experienced. Reflect on the lessons you learned in your journey through grief.

Maybe you find a way to stay connected to your loved one through rituals. Maybe you find connection to a higher power. Over time, make meaning in a way that speaks to you.

The final stage of grief is growth. No one is the same after going through the experience of a significant loss.

Notice how the experience has changed you. Be empowered by your resilience to wake up each morning and start again, regardless of the pain life has thrown your way.

10 stages of grief therapy counseling naples florida

moving forward

We recommend attending depression therapy or grief counseling to process the complex emotions and stages as you learn about coping with grief.

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