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Psychology of Healthy Grief: The Kübler-Ross Model


Kübler-Ross introduces grief as a five-stage emotional process that people go through when faced with suffering or death. The stages outlined in the Kübler-Ross grieving model are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Kübler-Ross, 2005). People experience the stages in different ways, and it is not constant to all individuals faced with extreme sad situations.

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Therefore, response to the death of sad situations is unique to every individual. The first stage of denial is used as a defense mechanism but later becomes angry when suffering persists. It is usually characterized by a failure to accept the reality of the impending situation. The second stage leads an individual to become angry with himself or anyone around. This is followed by an individual trying out an alternative to delaying death. Later on, the person becomes depressed when all alternatives do not bear fruits forcing him to accept the suffering. It is the real state of grief because the individual loses any relationship with affection. When the situation becomes unbearable, an individual chooses to accept the outcome as a sign of surrender (Kübler-Ross, 2005).

In the Bible, Job is described as a wealthy man who had everything anybody would wish to have on earth. Even though Job was wealthy, he never failed to worship God, and he is said to have strong faith in God. Satan was envious about this and asked God to test Job to see whether his faith was strong. In his opinion, Satan believed that Job trusted in God he had blessed him with a lot of wealth. God allowed Satan to test Job with all forms of plagues, but he should spare his life (Scire, 2007). Job endured grief and suffering after losing his wealth, children, and pain of skin disease. Although Job suffered and endured pain, he never failed to praise his God. His friends accused him falsely about the plagues, but Job remained steadfast to his God. In the end, God rewarded Job with more wealth than what he lost for remaining faithful to him.

The contrast between the Kübler-Ross model and Job

The difference between the Kübler-Ross model and the Job’s story is in denial and acceptance (Kübler-Ross, 2005). In Job’s story, there is no denial, although the model assumes that everyone should pass through this stage. This is illustrated when Job proclaims that everything comes from God and can take it altogether. On anger, Job never became angry at God in all the pain and suffering he went through. According to the model, we would have expected Job to be angry at God and lament why he had to pass through such pain and suffering.

The comparison between the Kübler-Ross model and Job

The Kübler-Ross model applies to the Job’s story under the stages of bargaining, depression, and acceptance. When Job was faced with the plague, he turned his bargaining to God. Here, both the story of Job and the model are consistent. Job suffered a lot of depression, especially from his friends who saw no need why he believes in God, yet he was enduring pain and suffering. Finally, both the story of Job and the model agree on acceptance. When Job was faced with suffering, he knew that God was aware of his suffering. He did not lose his faith even when grief became tough because he had already accepted any form of suffering from God.

Relationship and interaction between joy and the model

Grief makes the life of an individual to become complicated even when he experiences joy in his life. The Kübler-Ross model outlines that grief makes people undergo depression after suffering or pain. An individual is always in a close relationship with grief even after a long period. A case example of a married man who loses his beloved wife is enough proof that grief has a close relationship with depression, even when the person interacts with joyous events. After a husband loses his wife, he will move on with life and possibly marry another wife. However, he does not stop thinking about his dead wife after many years. His new marriage gives me joy, but it does not wipe his grief. Therefore, joy does not reduce the relationship of depression and grief in a person (Scire, 2007).

My opinion about handling grief

Grief is common to all individuals in the world because once in a while, everyone must undergo difficult situations or death (Santrock, 2007). However, grief may be caused by various factors, but the important thing is how to handle grief. My approach to handling grief is to accept and move on with the situation. When grief is on my side, I take it as part of life and look for ways to reduce its effects. This is contrary to the stages of the model where an individual undergoes defiance, annoyance, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. However, after an analysis of the grief model, I have changed the way I handle grief. Research has shown that there is a strong relationship between grief and depression in an individual (Santrock, 2007). This is independent of joy and sadness in a person.

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Kübler-Ross, E. (2005). On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. New York: Simon & Schuster Press. Web.

Santrock, J. (2007). A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development. New York: McGraw-Hill. Web.

Scire, P. (2007). Applying Grief Stages to Organizational Change. New York: Simon & Schuster Press. Web.

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