Stages of Grief

Brittney GiacchettaPsychotherapy

Grief is a universal experience that impacts everyone at some point in their lives. It may be from the death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a job or any event that alters your life as you know it.

Despite being a universal experience, grief is also incredibly individual. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, as well as no timeline or schedule. Despite the individual experiences associated with grief there are five stages of grief that people go through:

  1. Denial – it can be hard to believe we have lost someone or something. Our reality completely shifts in the moment of loss. Because there is a lot of information to process, denial attempts to slow this process down.
  2. Anger – it is common to experience anger after loss. In this stage, you may ask questions like “why me?” or “what did I do to deserve this?” Rationally, you may understand there is nobody to blame, but emotionally there can be resentment regarding the pain caused to you. Underneath your anger is pain.
  3. Bargaining – this stage helps you to hold on to hope. You may experience it by thinking that you are willing to do anything to take back the loss.
  4. Depression – this is a natural and appropriate response to grief. In this stage, you are facing your current reality and the pain experienced. In this way, depression is experienced as an intense sadness.
  5. Acceptance – this is not about being okay with what happened or enjoying it, but rather about acknowledging the loss you have experienced and learning to readjust your life accordingly.

Regardless of these five steps there is no specific order for the stages of grief. You may move along the stages one by one or you may go back and forth between various stages. If you are working through your own grief journey and would like some additional support contact Serenity Now Wellness Centre at 403-454-7600 or by emailing info@serenitynowwellness.ca.