Understanding The 5 Stages Of Grief

2. Anger: As denial and isolation become increasingly difficult to maintain, the reality and pain of the situation re-emerges. We begin to express our pain as anger; an emotion that makes us feels less vulnerable. The anger is often directed toward our lost loved one, which in turn makes us feel guilty and thus makes us even angrier with those still around us.

3. Bargaining: This is a vain expression of hope that the bad news we have received is reversible; we begin seeking ways to avoid having to accept the bad thing that has happened in our life.

4. Depression: There are two types of depression associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to the implications relating to the loss (i.e., sadness, loneliness, regret). The second type of depression is more subtle and private and involves our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell.

5. Acceptance: This stage is marked by withdrawal and calm. It is not a period of depression, but one focused on a return of stability to our life. We are ready and actively involved in moving on to the next phase of our lives.

The grief stages listed above are commonly experienced by people suffering from loss. The five stages can occur in any order and each stage can vary in intensity and longevity. Therefore, there should be no shame or stigma associated with the expression of these commonly accepted human emotions.

Society often does not afford us the time needed to move through each stage organically and thus some never reach the acceptance stage of mourning and may never move beyond their denial or anger. If you find yourself “stuck” in a grief stage, counseling and psychotherapy can play an integral role in helping you process the pain and continue moving forward in the grieving process.


Visit the BlackDoctor.org Mental Health center for more helpful articles and tips.

Cheryl Donald, LMFT, MBA is a Federal public health official and licensed psychotherapist with a private practice in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Donald specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, trauma, & relationship difficulties; follow her on Twitter @BrooklynMFT and like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BrooklynMFT.

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