Bereavement - Experiences Beyond the Classic 5 Stages of Grief

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Health Assured team

23 February 2017

Human beings are complex, each with a unique experience of grief to be honoured. The human experience of loss is commonly shared, no matter who you are or what status you have in the world.   Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, identified five stages of the ensuing grief that follows a major loss and death. These stages are known as:
  • Denial and isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
  This brief list of the classic stages makes it relatively simple for anyone to understand the dynamics of grief, whether it be her own or somebody else’s. And this simplicity is good when we struggle with a wide range of emotional states that we don’t have the energy to process or explain.   Though it’s helpful to have a simple framework to understand the process of grief, human beings are complex, and the grief each of us feels is likely to be accompanied by other stages.   It’s normal and likely that you’ll experience something beyond the classic five stages of grief. When you realize this during a time of loss, it’s important to honour your individual experience and be compassionate to yourself.   Excerpt from PsychCentral Online, to read the full article click here.  


Death and bereavement are an inevitable part of our lives and yet they are rarely talked about. The unpredictability of life means we can never be sure how soon or how often we will face the challenge of this major life event. The death of someone close to us is probably the most severe loss we ever have to cope with and can affect us in many very different ways.  

How will bereavement affect me?

Reactions to loss vary enormously and there is no right or wrong way to respond. However most people report a similar range of reactions and it can be important to know that these are normal and not a sign of illness. As well as the emotional pain of the loss, we may also experience practical and financial consequences as a result of the bereavement. These can include accommodation issues, childcare and support difficulties, financial pressures and legal issues connected with settling the estate of someone who has died.  
Health Assured has the experience and expertise to help support individuals and organisations who are working with bereavement issues.

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