Those who have watched the teen comedy movie “The DUFF” may be able to understand the concept well. In this movie, Bianca’s divorcee mother who is also a life coach advocates five stages of healing. Bianca goes through the steps of denial, anger, etc. until she finally accepts that being oneself is what matters most. Elisabeth’s Kübler-Ross model although sometimes understood in an incorrect way, still is a very appealing model.
- Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage, people believe the diagnosis is somehow incorrect, and stick to an incorrect, preferable reality.
- Anger – When the person realizes that denial cannot continue, they become upset, especially at close individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “How can this happen to me?”; “Why would this happen?”. “Why me? It’s not fair!”;
- Bargaining – The third stage involves the anticipation that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for a prolonged life is made in exchange for a changed lifestyle. Individuals facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.
Examples include the critically ill individual who “negotiates with God” to attend a daughter’s/son’s wedding, an attempt to bargain for more time to live in exchange for a reformed lifestyle.
- Depression –During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their death.
In this condition, the individual may become quiet, refuse to meet anyone and spend much of the time sad and sullen.
“I’m going to die soon, so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one; why go on?”
- Acceptance –In this last stage, individuals accept death or unavoidable future, or that of a loved one, or any other tragic event.
People dying may typically show the calmness and a stable condition of emotions. “It’s going to be okay.”; “I know I have no time left to do anything, so it’s okay!”