The 5 Stages of Grief and How to Get Through Them

Grief comes in many forms and for many different reasons — from the death of a loved one to the ending of a relationship. While everyone handles grief in their own way, there is a framework of emotions that many people travel through, and understanding how to navigate these stages of grief can help get through tough times.

At Flux Psychology, located in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Andrea Liner understands that everyone experiences grief at some point in their lives, often more than once. Loss is a part of life and we’re here to help you process the emotions through our grief counseling services.

A good place to start when it comes to coping with grief is to better understand the five stages. Here’s a look at those stages and how we can help.

1. Denial

When you experience loss, your brain may try and protect you from the pain by denying the event ever took place. If you’re feeling disconnected from reality or refusing to even think about the loss, this is a clear sign that denial may be present.

2. Anger

Once your brain begins to accept the loss, one of the more common coping mechanisms is anger — frustration at the world and anger surrounding the event. This emotion may help you to feel more in control, and it’s a perfectly normal and healthy reaction. Staying in anger for too long, however, can do more harm than good.

3. Bargaining

While intellectually you may understand it’s too late for bargaining, it’s still a common stage. Perhaps you promise yourself and your higher power that you’ll be the best person you can be if everything went back to normal.

During this stage, you may be obsessed with “if only” thoughts — if only I had noticed sooner, if only I had done something differently. This stage can also bring on feelings of guilt, which add to your grief.

4. Depression

During this stage of grief, the reality sets in and you mourn your loss. When we say depression, it doesn’t necessarily imply major depressive disorder, though untreated grief can certainly lead to longer-term issues with depression. In most cases, depression is part of the grieving process and does get better over time.

5. Acceptance

This is, arguably, the most beneficial stage of grief as it allows you to accept the loss and get on with your life. This acceptance doesn’t have to mean that you’re happy about what happened, but it does help you integrate the loss and move on in healthier directions.

Navigating the five stages of grief

As we said, no two people navigate grief the same way, and there’s no timeline or linear route through the five stages. You may move past anger, for example, only to return to it later.

Our goal is to meet you where you are in your grief journey and to help you move forward. Through tailored strategies and talk therapy, we’re with you every step of the way as you process the event. While we encourage you to experience each stage of grief, we also don’t want you lingering too long in any one stage as it impedes the ultimate goal — acceptance.

If you’re struggling with grief, there is help. Simply contact our office in Denver, Colorado, to learn more about our grief counseling services.

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