Elisabeth Kubler Ross And Her Stages Of Death/Mourning/Grief Essays Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nursing, Medicine, Patient, Death, Anger, Acceptance, Depression, Psychology

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/12

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was born in Switzerland in 1926. Elizabeth’s interactions with death and suffering began early on in her life. When she was only 13 World War II began and she spent the rest of her adolescence working in war stricken areas. She first worked as a laboratory assistant at a hospital for war refugees and then as a peace activist. In 1951 Elizabeth enrolled to pursue medical education at the University of Zurich. During her medical studies she met and later married an American doctor Emanuel Robert Ross in 1958. The couple moved to New York for internships. Elizabeth then did a residency in Psychiatry at Manhattan State Hospital and then went to Bronx to train at a hospital for another year (“Changing the Face of Medicine”).
During her training in Psychiatry Elizabeth got to work with terminally ill patients and this is when Elizabeth experienced the norms of the medical fraternity and their attitude towards death. She began giving lectures to students on the psychological attributes of terminally ill patients and the idea of helping them cope with death. Elizabeth was offered a position at the University of Colorado where she completed her training in Psychiatry and then moved to Chicago in 1965. She became an instructor at the University of Chicago and in a few years’ time produced her groundbreaking book On Death and Dying published in 1969. In this book she first outlined her theory of the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In 1977 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross also established the Shanti Nilaya (Home of Peace). She meant this as a healing center for the dying and their families. She was also the co-founder of American Holistic Medical Association. She had intended to establish a hospice for AIDS patients but was unable to accomplish this because of public opposition. She still lectured extensively on AIDS until her health forced her to retire in 1995. She died in 2004 at the age of 78 as a pioneer of death studies, prolific writer and recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees (“Changing the Face of Medicine”).
Perhaps the most well-known contribution of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross to the Psychological and medical professions is her theory on the stages of grief. The first stage of denial is a very common response. This is considered a temporary stance in normal cases and it is when the patient denies their impending demise or the cause driving them to it. The patient will come up with reasons as to why they could not have the diagnosed disease or how the estimated time of their life was miscalculated. In these cases the patient will seek consultation from other doctors hoping that the second one will give a different more favorable diagnosis. The patient could also claim that the tests have been performed inaccurately or the results have been mixed up. All these are tactics to avoid or delay accepting the inevitability of death in a short time and are hence categorized as denial.
Denial soon becomes impossible to carry on as the diagnosis or results are reconfirmed and the inevitability of death becomes unquestionable. The denial is most often replaced by the second stage of anger. As the patient accepts his or her fate they feel the emotions of resentment, rage or vindictiveness. This anger is particularly difficult to manage for the patient as well as those around him or her. This anger can be displaced at anyone or anything. Patients will display against the doctors or medical staff or anyone they see as being healthier or luckier than them. This anger can also be directed against the gods they believe in and can be expressed through violent or non-violent means.
As the patient goes through the stage of anger most will realize that this emotion will bring no good and is also likely to alienate and distance the people in the surrounding. The patient then resorts to a more peaceful approach of bargaining. They will try to negotiate with the doctor or with divine powers they believe in. Their attempt is to prolong their stay and delay the arrival of death. By now they have accepted their imminent death but are concerned with prolonging their stay. They might ask the doctors or gods to prolong their life till a certain event like the graduation or wedding of a child.
When the futility of bargaining becomes apparent to the patient or when more time passes and treatment continues the patient becomes depressed and withdrawn. There are visible signs of having given up hope and on their life. Their depression might be driven by the losses they sustain. The loss of independence, their physical appearance, their bodily functions or general weaknesses can all be causes of depression or of making it worse. This depression might also be accompanied by guilt or regrets. Guilt over past conflicts or sins and other issues that caused injury to someone or something will come to haunt the patient as death draws nearer. Regrets of missed opportunities and unresolved issues will also become more salient driving the patient further in to depression and resignation. It is suggested the patient should be allowed to express their sorrow through their acts or words as they deem fit. This will make the final acceptance easier and will lead to the proper conclusion of all the stages.
The final stage of acceptance is experienced by patients who have lived for sufficient time between getting the information and dying. Proper help throughout the process is also necessary for someone to reach this stage. In acceptance there is a general lack of strong feelings and there is neither negativity nor cheerfulness but a general calmness. The patient will go through the days without complaining or exhibiting strong emotions like before. The wait for death will become more bearable and there will be a readiness for its arrival as the patient will feel that they have gone through everything and nothing concerns them anymore.
These stages have been described with reference to death but they can be applied for anyone who is grieving. The exact nature of the stages will change with the situation but the overall pattern will be the same i.e. denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. With the knowledge of these stages the grieving person can manage their grief better and also those around him or her can facilitate the transition till acceptance is reached.

Works Cited

"Changing the Face of Medicine | Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross." National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. N.p., 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. <https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nlm.nih.gov%2Fchangingthefaceofmedicine%2Fphysicians%2Fbiography_189.html>.
Kubler-Ross, Elizbeth. On Death and Dying. Simon and Schuster, 2011.

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WePapers. (2021, February, 12) Elisabeth Kubler Ross And Her Stages Of Death/Mourning/Grief Essays Examples. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/elisabeth-kubler-ross-and-her-stages-of-death-mourning-grief-essays-examples/
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