The 5 Stages of Grief and Loss –
Orlando Grief Counselor Shares Insights
Grief counselors at GroundWork Counseling in Orlando express that to experience the death of a loved one is to experience the pain and suffering of grief. Death can be recognized as a certainty of life. Counselors who specialize in grief counseling, state that individuals who have faced the loss of a family member, close friend or treasured pet commonly experience five stages of grief and loss. These stages of mourning and grief can also occur in response to the ending of an important relationship or in response to the person’s own terminal illness. Grieving the death of a loved person or pet or the ending of a relationship can feel extremely overwhelming and can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
The five stages of grief were first identified in 1969 by psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her important book, On Death and Dying. She states that the five stages consist of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance and denotes that the bereaved individual may not experience all of the five stages, nor experience the stages in order and that the individual may go through a stage or various stages repeatedly. She also writes that most grieving individuals will experience at least two of the stages.
Denial may be the mind’s way of initially protecting the individual from the full impact of the loss until it can be fully grasped.
Once the buffering effects of denial begin to wear off, feelings of anger may set in. However, anger may be serving another purpose. It may keep individuals who are grieving from feeling deep sadness, which may be too painful to endure. Feelings of anger can be focused on someone, on God or it can be more general in nature (mad at the world). Grief counselors suggest that the person experiencing anger due to grief will eventually need to give up some of their feelings of anger so they can experience the sadness that is beneath it.
During this stage, grieving individuals try to regain control by making a deal with God, the Universe or a Higher Power if the pain will be taken away.
Symptoms of depression due to grief usually surface when a sense of finality sets in and this can take some time to develop. Feelings of sorrow, sadness, fear and regret are common and for many people experiencing grief, this is the most prevalent stage.
The stage of acceptance is the beginning of the healing process. The individual who is experiencing grief is no longer attempting to recover the life they once had but begins to accept the loss as a part of life. The individual begins to feel hopeful about their life with the realization that their life will never be the same again.
Therapists at GroundWork Counseling in Orlando who specialize in grief counseling find that most individuals do not experience the stages of grief in a specific order and that each individual may spend varying amounts of time in each stage. Our Orlando Grief counselors state that it’s important to keep in mind that no two individuals will respond to a loss in the same way. Grief Counselors remind us that each person grieves in their own time and in their own way. Grief counselors in Orlando affirm that grief is not an episode, but a complicated process of experiencing the emotional, spiritual and social effects of a death or other important loss. However complex and painful, grief is necessary in order to heal and find new meaning in life.