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bereavement counselling resource

The 5 Stages of Grief

Grief is a natural response to any form of loss, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, being made redundant, the end of long-time friendship or even the loss of your childhood as you move into adulthood.

Loss can be painful for many people and everyone experiences their loss in different ways.

If you’re experiencing loss right now, you will be going through a grieving period and you may be struggling to understand your emotions fully. People who are close to you may rally around you to help you overcome your loss, give you support, offer a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, and it may help for a while. There may be days you struggle more than others as you may experience a wave of emotions, one day feeling okay, another in tears and this can feel frightening & upsetting.

It’s normal to feel this way. What you’re experiencing is a process of grief. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a famous Psychiatrist, developed the Kubler-Ross Model, or the Grief Cycle to help people understand their own process of grief.

The first stage is Denial, where you still can’t believe they’ve gone, you’re still in shock, feel numb & disorientated. The second stage is Anger, where you are so upset you begin to direct your anger at others, or at the person you have lost. Then comes Depression, this is the third stage and where you may feel at your worst, lost, overwhelmed with grief and feel you can’t go on without them.

Sooner or later though, with help and time, you may start to climb out of this depth of despair as you enter the fourth stage known as the Bargaining stage as you try to gain some semblance of control. You may feel guilty though as your life is continuing and you may begin to make ‘if only’ statements, hoping you could have done something different to save this loss.

The most difficult, and quite painful stage is the final stage, that of Acceptance. You may think that to accept what happens means it’s over for good, they’re not coming back, which is too hard to contemplate and you may move back down and along the grief cycle all over again, this is normal. This final stage, however, just helps you to understand that it’s okay to try to move on, to start making plans for a new life, where you can make it a manageable one without them.

Some people can manage their grief on their own, with the support of loved ones, but if you begin to struggle, you may feel that therapy will help you cope better. A Therapist will help navigate you through the stages of grief, slowly and gently, listening and supporting you throughout each stage as you start the process of healing.