We all experience grief at some point in our lives, whether it is death, divorce, getting fired or a terminal illness. Everyone experiences it in their own way and in their own time. Many therapists and psychologists refer to the 5 stages of grief as laid out by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and some take it further to the 7 stages. However, what they all agree on is that there is no right or wrong way to go through the grieving process. There also isn’t any specific order in which these steps need to be experienced.
The 5 steps of grief
The 5 steps of grief according to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross are as follows:
As I’ve said above, there is no specific order to these and no rule that says you cannot re-experience any step. What is very important is that you arrive at acceptance eventually.
The 7 steps of grief
In the 7 steps, we expand on the 5 step process. The 7 steps are:
- Shock and denial
- Pain and guilt
- Anger and bargaining
- Depression, reflection and loneliness
- The upward turn
- Reconstruction and working through
- Acceptance and hope.
There is no straight line from the start to end. These steps are there more for therapists and healers to assess where in the process the person is, in order to help them. It was never meant to judge people for not going through them in a specific order or for the person experiencing grief to be excessively hard on themselves for not progressing at any particular pace.
I’d like to focus a little bit more on the final stage – Acceptance. For myself, having gone through these steps, and for so many others, it takes a very long time to reach this stage and when we do we judge ourselves harshly for reaching it. It is ok to laugh again, smile again, love again and to live again.
We feel guilty for moving on and having days when we are not aching or days when we don’t feel the sadness.
The first important thing is to know what this acceptance and hope may look like. Life will not be as it was before the loss – it will naturally be different. It’s the gentle realisation that although we have lost a part of us that is so important, we are still here and we owe it to the memory of those lost and to ourselves to move forward with our lives.
Acceptance isn’t forgetting -we always remember. It’s living differently because we now bear a scar inside of us that will heal but will never go away.
This is where we find our new normal.
Although I have said before that we all grieve in our own time and in our own way, it is important not to allow ourselves to get stuck permanently in any one stage before reaching acceptance. When we recognise or it’s pointed out to us that we are not coping or healing, we are allowed to and we should seek help.
Help comes in many different forms – choose what works for you. What works may also change over time where one method will work once but not the second time. Sometimes we find benefit in more than 1 form of assistance.
There is counselling, support groups, therapists, healing through art, etc. Within these sections, there are many different methods and means to reach our goal of healing.
Speak to people and try various options till you find those that resonate deep within you.
Hypnosis for healing
Hypnosis is one of the forms of therapy that allows the person to deal with their loss on a deep subconscious level and on a conscious level. When we heal on a subconscious level, the healing process is a lot more profound because we are going directly to the core of where all our memories and belief systems are. The process also doesn’t require years of therapy to work through the pain. Through the process of healing this way, the person is able to develop coping tools and methods that are personal to them.
The aim of this type of therapy is not to forget but to reframe how we remember the person or event so that it is no longer painful.
Please feel free to contact me for any further information. My contact details are on the contact us page.