Five Stages of Grief
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17-08-2015, 11:34 AM
Five Stages of Grief
Also known as the Kubler-Ross model, only with a weird umlaut in there that I don't know how to type. In this model, grief is broken down into five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Acceptance is the healthy outcome at the end of the process. It doesn't mean you're HAPPY about it, but you've resolved yourself to the reality. The five stages of grief kick in with a lot of circumstances, including recent or imminent death of a loved one, your own imminent death, ending a romantic relationship, struggling with addiction...

It's not above criticism, but it's still an interesting way to look at grief. Here's an example of a healthy process following the imminent death of a loved one.

Stage 1: Denial. ("He's still walking around and talking, the cancer isn't too bad yet, maybe we can do this.")
Stage 2: Anger. ("WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SMOKE TWO PACKS A DAY! WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US!")
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, if you just convert on your deathbed then this isn't really the end! You and I can still be together forever in heaven!")
Stage 4: Denial. ("He's not really dead. He's living forever in Christ.")

.... wait, that's not how it's supposed to work...

Okay, maybe that's a bad example. Let's try this again with, say, a messy divorce.

Stage 1: Denial. ("We've hit a bit of a rough patch, but we can pull through this.")
Stage 2: Anger. (*sound of a thrown lamp smashing*)
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, let's just try a trial separation. Time and prayer will heal this.")
Stage 4: Denial. ("Even though he legally divorced me, what God bound can't be rent asunder, so we're still married in the eyes of the Lord.")

....

Is it just me, or is a lot of how Christianity works about short-circuiting the process at our most vulnerable so that we never reach the healthy outcome of Acceptance? Offering us a fake cure to keep us locked in a perpetual cycle of Denial and Bargaining, and we keep buying their cure because we never really heal? I just noticed this a bit ago and now I can't get the idea out of my head.
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17-08-2015, 12:58 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
(17-08-2015 11:34 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  Also known as the Kubler-Ross model, only with a weird umlaut in there that I don't know how to type. In this model, grief is broken down into five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Acceptance is the healthy outcome at the end of the process. It doesn't mean you're HAPPY about it, but you've resolved yourself to the reality. The five stages of grief kick in with a lot of circumstances, including recent or imminent death of a loved one, your own imminent death, ending a romantic relationship, struggling with addiction...

It's not above criticism, but it's still an interesting way to look at grief. Here's an example of a healthy process following the imminent death of a loved one.

Stage 1: Denial. ("He's still walking around and talking, the cancer isn't too bad yet, maybe we can do this.")
Stage 2: Anger. ("WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SMOKE TWO PACKS A DAY! WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US!")
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, if you just convert on your deathbed then this isn't really the end! You and I can still be together forever in heaven!")
Stage 4: Denial. ("He's not really dead. He's living forever in Christ.")

.... wait, that's not how it's supposed to work...

Okay, maybe that's a bad example. Let's try this again with, say, a messy divorce.

Stage 1: Denial. ("We've hit a bit of a rough patch, but we can pull through this.")
Stage 2: Anger. (*sound of a thrown lamp smashing*)
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, let's just try a trial separation. Time and prayer will heal this.")
Stage 4: Denial. ("Even though he legally divorced me, what God bound can't be rent asunder, so we're still married in the eyes of the Lord.")

....

Is it just me, or is a lot of how Christianity works about short-circuiting the process at our most vulnerable so that we never reach the healthy outcome of Acceptance? Offering us a fake cure to keep us locked in a perpetual cycle of Denial and Bargaining, and we keep buying their cure because we never really heal? I just noticed this a bit ago and now I can't get the idea out of my head.

This is an interesting topic, and is something that I may bring up with a couple friends at college who want to be Christian counselors. I still want to think about this topic some more, as well as hear others opinions, but here are some quick thoughts that I've had.

First off, I think that in some cases, what we would find as denial, Christians may find as acceptance, such as being able to see someone later in heaven. Obviously, we consider that denial, since we know that what they are believing is true, but to Christian's, if they sincerely believe in heaven and that their loved one was saved, then I'd think that they would be able to accept their loss in a way that would allow for them to find peace. For this to turn into a loop of grief, I think that they would have to have some reason to doubt that they would not actually see their loved one in heaven. However, if someone is dead-set in their beliefs, this is somewhat difficult, since in their mind, the only way to find this out would be to die and not see them in heaven... at which point we know that they won't be finding out much of anything at that point.

However, I do think that this could be the case in examples such as what you gave in regards to something like divorce, or a family member or close friend leaving the faith. Since at this point, they can continue to plead with God or bargain by changing their theological views to accompany for what they want to actually believe. Which I guess could once again could lead them to reach acceptance depending on how sincere they are in changing their beliefs.

I guess that where I am right now considering this topic is that if you allow for whatever terms someone in grieving uses to come to terms with their grief and accept it as the "acceptance" part of the five stages of grief, then Christianity can still allow for someone to go through all of the stages, even though the terms that they use are incorrect, such as believing that they will get to see loved ones again in heaven. They are coming to terms with reality as them interpret it, and come to accept that. So I guess that at least one of the issues that we'd want to address is how much harm it causes to have people believe in things such as heaven (and thus maybe hell as well, depending on the doctrine), in order for them to find acceptance in grief.
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17-08-2015, 01:04 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
Um, the five stages of belief include bargaining WITH GOD. You are changing the steps themselves. The last step is acceptance. "I accept that Grandma is in Heaven (or Hell)" is just as much acceptance as "I accept that Grandma is gone forever because death is a final ending."

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17-08-2015, 01:08 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
(17-08-2015 01:04 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Um, the five stages of belief include bargaining WITH GOD.

No, they don't.

The "bargaining" stage is simply any attempt by the individual to avoid the situation. This can take the form of praying for divine intercession, but does not necessarily include it. Attempting to convince someone else, like a doctor, to try something to alter the inevitable is one of the more common instances.

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17-08-2015, 01:11 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
This is an interesting take on grief, and one that I've been contemplating myself recently.

I seemed to have completely skipped the denial portion of grieving my father. I knew that he was gone as soon as the doctors told us, yet several of my family members kept denying it, even after seeing his body. I also didn't see the point in bargaining, as there is no one to bargain with.

On the last phase (acceptance/more denial), I can see it both ways. I do think they truly believe that "he's not gone, just elsewhere" is how they accept it. However, I don't think it's psychologically healthy. I've found it easier to accept death as a reality because of it's inevitability and finality. I still struggle with the pain, but I know that I have to rely on real people and real memories to help me through it. It's one of those things that I struggled with towards the end of my religious days. I couldn't feel any special love or calmness that people said God would give me. As I watch my family grieve, I hear them talking about praying for that peace and calmness and I wonder if any of them actually feel any better for it.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

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17-08-2015, 01:12 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
(17-08-2015 01:04 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Um, the five stages of belief include bargaining WITH GOD.

Only for those who believe in God.

Quote:You are changing the steps themselves. The last step is acceptance. "I accept that Grandma is in Heaven (or Hell)" is just as much acceptance as "I accept that Grandma is gone forever because death is a final ending."

What are you on about - he changed nothing.

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17-08-2015, 01:30 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
(17-08-2015 01:11 PM)itsnotmeitsyou Wrote:  On the last phase (acceptance/more denial), I can see it both ways. I do think they truly believe that "he's not gone, just elsewhere" is how they accept it. However, I don't think it's psychologically healthy.

I wonder about this, as I wonder if this causes some sort of cognitive dissonance with Christians. An example in my own life was when my grandmother died a few years back. We had known for years that she could have died at any time, so our family was about as prepared for it as you could be for such things. In addition, my family, especially my grandmother, are very devout Christians. However, right after my grandmother died, my mom was still extremely upset when she called me to let me know that she had died, even though she never said anything of her dying, but rather that she had "gone home to be with the Lord". Which, according to Christian doctrine about heaven, should be great! So why all the fuss about her dying? Christians say all the time about how they can't wait to get to heaven, and in view of eternity, waiting a few decades to see someone again isn't all that bad.

But yet, death seems to cause a large amount of grief, even to Christians. I wonder if this is because on some level, people are ingrained with an understanding of the finality of death, and that this understanding is very difficult to completely override? Also, would this understanding, when clashing with their beliefs in heaven, cause some sort of cognitive dissonance that is not healthy psychologically?

Definitely something that I'll continue to think about.
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17-08-2015, 05:13 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
(17-08-2015 12:58 PM)Cozzymodo Wrote:  
(17-08-2015 11:34 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  Also known as the Kubler-Ross model, only with a weird umlaut in there that I don't know how to type. In this model, grief is broken down into five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Acceptance is the healthy outcome at the end of the process. It doesn't mean you're HAPPY about it, but you've resolved yourself to the reality. The five stages of grief kick in with a lot of circumstances, including recent or imminent death of a loved one, your own imminent death, ending a romantic relationship, struggling with addiction...

It's not above criticism, but it's still an interesting way to look at grief. Here's an example of a healthy process following the imminent death of a loved one.

Stage 1: Denial. ("He's still walking around and talking, the cancer isn't too bad yet, maybe we can do this.")
Stage 2: Anger. ("WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SMOKE TWO PACKS A DAY! WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US!")
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, if you just convert on your deathbed then this isn't really the end! You and I can still be together forever in heaven!")
Stage 4: Denial. ("He's not really dead. He's living forever in Christ.")

.... wait, that's not how it's supposed to work...

Okay, maybe that's a bad example. Let's try this again with, say, a messy divorce.

Stage 1: Denial. ("We've hit a bit of a rough patch, but we can pull through this.")
Stage 2: Anger. (*sound of a thrown lamp smashing*)
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, let's just try a trial separation. Time and prayer will heal this.")
Stage 4: Denial. ("Even though he legally divorced me, what God bound can't be rent asunder, so we're still married in the eyes of the Lord.")

....

Is it just me, or is a lot of how Christianity works about short-circuiting the process at our most vulnerable so that we never reach the healthy outcome of Acceptance? Offering us a fake cure to keep us locked in a perpetual cycle of Denial and Bargaining, and we keep buying their cure because we never really heal? I just noticed this a bit ago and now I can't get the idea out of my head.

This is an interesting topic, and is something that I may bring up with a couple friends at college who want to be Christian counselors. I still want to think about this topic some more, as well as hear others opinions, but here are some quick thoughts that I've had.

First off, I think that in some cases, what we would find as denial, Christians may find as acceptance, such as being able to see someone later in heaven. Obviously, we consider that denial, since we know that what they are believing is true, but to Christian's, if they sincerely believe in heaven and that their loved one was saved, then I'd think that they would be able to accept their loss in a way that would allow for them to find peace. For this to turn into a loop of grief, I think that they would have to have some reason to doubt that they would not actually see their loved one in heaven. However, if someone is dead-set in their beliefs, this is somewhat difficult, since in their mind, the only way to find this out would be to die and not see them in heaven... at which point we know that they won't be finding out much of anything at that point.

However, I do think that this could be the case in examples such as what you gave in regards to something like divorce, or a family member or close friend leaving the faith. Since at this point, they can continue to plead with God or bargain by changing their theological views to accompany for what they want to actually believe. Which I guess could once again could lead them to reach acceptance depending on how sincere they are in changing their beliefs.

I guess that where I am right now considering this topic is that if you allow for whatever terms someone in grieving uses to come to terms with their grief and accept it as the "acceptance" part of the five stages of grief, then Christianity can still allow for someone to go through all of the stages, even though the terms that they use are incorrect, such as believing that they will get to see loved ones again in heaven. They are coming to terms with reality as them interpret it, and come to accept that. So I guess that at least one of the issues that we'd want to address is how much harm it causes to have people believe in things such as heaven (and thus maybe hell as well, depending on the doctrine), in order for them to find acceptance in grief.

I'm thinking that one of the main distinctions is a denial of the underlying reality of the situation. With death, the main cause of grief (I think) is of total loss of relationship with the person who was important to you. They were an important part of your life and now they're gone. With the divorce example, the fundamental point of denial was that the treasured relationship was really over. In both case, the myth gives a basis for denying or wishing away this cause of pain.

The problem with the religious answer, as presented, is that it's about pretending that this isn't so. Not only does it deny the person the chance to fully heal from that trauma, growing the scar tissue, so to speak, it also helps them develop a taste for similarly deceptive salves.

When and where religion doesn't do this, when it actually helps people overcome and heal that grief without dismissing it or transforming it into a money-making scheme, then it is, I think, proper to withdraw this particular criticism.
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17-08-2015, 05:38 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
There is also shock and guilt in there. The stages don't have to be in order and they can happen simultaneously, even with acceptance.

I think however we reach acceptance- whether we use God or not- the important part is the feeling of it. A non-believer can 'explain' their acceptance just as much, but either way feels it and that's the point.
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17-08-2015, 08:06 PM
RE: Five Stages of Grief
(17-08-2015 11:34 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  Also known as the Kubler-Ross model, only with a weird umlaut in there that I don't know how to type. In this model, grief is broken down into five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Acceptance is the healthy outcome at the end of the process. It doesn't mean you're HAPPY about it, but you've resolved yourself to the reality. The five stages of grief kick in with a lot of circumstances, including recent or imminent death of a loved one, your own imminent death, ending a romantic relationship, struggling with addiction...

It's not above criticism, but it's still an interesting way to look at grief. Here's an example of a healthy process following the imminent death of a loved one.

Stage 1: Denial. ("He's still walking around and talking, the cancer isn't too bad yet, maybe we can do this.")
Stage 2: Anger. ("WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SMOKE TWO PACKS A DAY! WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US!")
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, if you just convert on your deathbed then this isn't really the end! You and I can still be together forever in heaven!")
Stage 4: Denial. ("He's not really dead. He's living forever in Christ.")

.... wait, that's not how it's supposed to work...

Okay, maybe that's a bad example. Let's try this again with, say, a messy divorce.

Stage 1: Denial. ("We've hit a bit of a rough patch, but we can pull through this.")
Stage 2: Anger. (*sound of a thrown lamp smashing*)
Stage 3: Bargaining. ("Look, let's just try a trial separation. Time and prayer will heal this.")
Stage 4: Denial. ("Even though he legally divorced me, what God bound can't be rent asunder, so we're still married in the eyes of the Lord.")

....

Is it just me, or is a lot of how Christianity works about short-circuiting the process at our most vulnerable so that we never reach the healthy outcome of Acceptance? Offering us a fake cure to keep us locked in a perpetual cycle of Denial and Bargaining, and we keep buying their cure because we never really heal? I just noticed this a bit ago and now I can't get the idea out of my head.

Erm .... ALL the steps occur AFTER the event, when nobody is walking around with cancer anymore or having a rough spot.

And if that's not weird enough, you can't control it. Your rationality doesn't have a damn thing to say about it. The sequence can also change.

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