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the Seven Stages Of Grief

16 Février 2011 , Rédigé par Pasteur Christophe Deville Publié dans #Société

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (d. 2004) was a psychologist and behavioral scientist. She introduced the stages or phases of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance). She shone from the side that has made ethics in the context of accompanying persons at the end of life. The work of mourning is possible not only for those who lost a loved one, but it can be transposed to the sentimental area, during a break in the professional field and, when nearing the end of a contract, or during a layoff.

aigle.gifAs for me, who examined the work of Dr. EKR, I like to distinguish seven steps or stages through which we pass, in order to cope with a situation of transition. These 7 stages are linear, although it is possible to have flashbacks to one of these to "turn the page". I hope this overview will help you advance in your sentimental event, professional or otherwise.


Stage 1 - The Clash or shock: This is a short phase. It’s the announcement of a break that leaves the person without apparent emotion. You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief.  The word “stunning” may fit well to describe the reaction of the person in front of the transmitted information. Example: "I leave you, it's over" or "you're fired!" Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once.


Stage 2 - Denial: it’s the refusal to believe the information. It’s important to make a difference between stage one and two, between Shock and Denial (as said, Shock provides emotional protection).  Denial is the rejection of the information given. It gives way to a discussion inside and / or external. But do not think the brevity of this phase means that it is not important!  Some people lock themselves in this stage of denial of refuge (the preserve of the missing chamber intact, continuing to put his plate at the table (etc.). Example: "This is not true ... this is not possible."


Stage 3 – Anger: The confrontation with facts will generate an attitude of rebellion, turned to self and others. Intensities may vary, depending on the emotional maturity of the individual. The thought of the person feeds large contradictions. The person may get angry or locked in by the greatest silent. Impulses of revenge may push you to over-react. In fact, the person is faced with the impossibility of a return to the first situation. She must mourn, and goes through many emotions: blame, guilt, resentment, disgust, repulsion, seduction or assault. Example: "It's their fault; they never did anything for me." You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

Stage 4 – Sadness: it’s a state of despair. "It's not fair, why she did it me, what will become of me? Through stage 3 and 4, you may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back"!). This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders.  During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.


Stage 5 - Resignation: It is the abandonment of the struggle during which you may feel you tried everything to return to the first and lost position. You have no visibility of what you can do. you act according to circumstances. This resignation may also consist of rejection. Example: "That's life, God is in control."


Stage 6 - Acceptance: In this stage, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation (the loss of the loved one, girlfriend, or work). In accepting, you are able to keep the good times but also the worst. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness, but you begin to have more confidence in you; you feel better and the future does not seem as gloomy. Example: "I still think sometimes, but I'm finding a way forward."


Stage 7 - Reconstruction: the acceptance is not enough. We must gradually rebuild. As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life. This builds self-confidence. The feeling of vulnerability is replaced by a new energy and, for the believer, greater trust in God!

Ce texte est une traduction et une adaptation de l'article "Les Sept étapes du deuil".  (c) christophe Deville - juin 2009).

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