Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Grief as a Process of Healing

Several authors have described typical stages or needs that the grieving person experiences. For example, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross suggested that grief is characterized by the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Alan Wolfelt described "mourning needs," which include acknowledging the reality of the death, embracing the pain of the loss, remembering the person who died, developing a new self-identity, searching for meaning, and receiving ongoing support from others.

It is important to note that the grief process is not linear, but is more often experienced in cycles. Grief is sometimes compared to climbing a spiral staircase where things can look and feel like you are just going in circles, yet you are actually making progress. Patience with the process and allowing feelings to come without judgment can help. If you feel stuck in your grief, talking to a counselor or a supportive person may help you move forward in the healing process.

This post compliments of The Counseling & Mental Health Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

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