The 5 Stages of Grief & How They Relate to You: Our Guide

It is never easy dealing with grief, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. It can be all-encompassing, affecting all aspects of your life. The unfortunate thing about grief is that it is unavoidable. Eventually, everyone will experience it, through the loss of a home, a job, or worse still, a loved one. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be alone during this awful time because a licensed healthcare professional can help you by offering guidance and advice. They could even help just by listening to your struggles, especially if you opt to get online counselling. 

To help you better understand your own grief, we will talk about the five stages of grief and how they relate to you.

Kübler-Ross model

While the Kübler-Ross model’s five stages of grief are one of the most widely accepted, be aware that this model does not work for everyone because each person is unique in how they deal with sad moments. When going through the five stages of grief, don’t expect the process to be linear or predictable, as they are merely a starting point to understand the major emotional arcs associated with grief. 

1. Denial

This first stage is essentially a coping mechanism. It’s when you’re still in denial about what has happened. For example, if you’ve lost a loved one, it might take some time before you expect reality. You still do things with the thought that they might come back or that you might wake up from this nightmare. You may even refuse to put away their things or still call their number, hoping they’ll answer. This stage could last for several weeks and vary in severity.

2. Anger

Anger, as a stage, is often when one is hiding their internal pain and other such emotions with rage. You can be angry for a long time without looking for help, but this can exacerbate the damage already caused by your rage to yourself or others. When you’re in this stage, you may direct your anger to other people or inanimate objects. It doesn’t matter how much your rational mind understands that these things are not to blame, your emotions and feelings may be too overwhelming.

3. Bargaining

If you are at this stage, you are probably thinking of everything you wish you could have done to prevent your source of grief from happening. You’re filled with guilt, pain and helplessness. Many of your thoughts at this point will try to answer the question of “what if.” 

4. Depression

There are many ways depression could manifest itself as you grieve. Some people isolate themselves from other people or activities, or you might even find yourself no longer enjoying anything or not finding anything interesting at all. Depression can be dangerous as you could develop substance abuse disorders, which is why you should seek grief counselling before your situation worsens.

5. Acceptance

Acceptance is the last stage and often the most misunderstood one. It essentially means that you’ve found a way to live with your new reality in a healthy way. However, just because you’ve come to terms with your grief, that doesn’t mean that you forget or don’t care about whatever or whoever it is you’ve lost. 


Hopefully, by showing you these various stages of grief, you can better understand where you are at. If you’re looking for a therapist, try looking for a local one, such as an expert in Guelph. It helps if you can maintain regular therapy sessions as well. Just remember that everyone’s journey through grief looks different, so don’t beat yourself up for not matching any of these stages perfectly.

Are you looking for trustworthy grief counselling in the Waterloo region? Reach out to Chettiar Counseling today! We offer psychotherapy in a non-judgmental space that will help you process your pain!