The Kubler-Ross Stage Model

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The paradigms of thanatology have spanned many years with models of death and dying undergoing many changes and attempts to comprehend coping with loss and grief (Roos, 2012). Greenstreet (2004) maintains that grief is an inherent human response that can be defined as an individual’s personal reaction to loss, and can encompass many dimensions including emotional, physical, behavioural, cognitive, social and spiritual. In order to underpin such a concept as grief a Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, proposed a theoretical liner process to promote death awareness to the public which illustrated that dying people will progress through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (Buglass (2010). Subsequently…show more content…
I found this particularly relevant to a situation in my personal life as I have a young family member dealing with terminal cancer for the last two years. Being aware of the Kubler-Ross stage model enabled me to anticipate that at some stage I would move from the anger phase to the final stage of acceptance, and this gave me some comfort. Being able to go through these stages accepting the inevitable with my family member brought a sense of closeness between us allowing me to be present in her journey. As Hottensen (2010) explains this process of anticipatory grief can allow us to express our emotions and deepen our relationships, even experiencing growth towards the end of life grieving process. Bolden (2007) reinforces this point explaining that networks of support surrounding death can also lessen the fear and intensity of the grief,…show more content…
In working with clients with intellectual disability there were a few occasions whereby a service user had passed away and I noted this process to be very confusing for the clients. In this sense the Kubler-Ross model has highlighted some limitations on individuality by putting too much emphasis on progressing through these stages to the reach the acceptance stage, which can be seen as promoting some allowance of comfort (Konisberg 2011). However, people with intellectual disabilities may have complications in identifying and vocalising their emotions with grief and in some cases may not have the capabilities to ever experience the stage of acceptance. The Kubler-Ross model emphasizes communicating with the bereaved or dying as a person centred approach whereby talking about the experience helps identify emotions and provide suuport, but as Wijne & McEnhill (2008) maintain difficulties in communication is a major complication for supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities through issues of grief and loss, inevitably impacting on their symptom assessment and support they
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