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Phases of Grief

Grief often presents in a series of phases that can be called a Grief Wheel as the feelings tend to be circular in nature. Normalizing the grieving process is often very helpful for those dealing with loss. This diagram shows one model for understanding stages of grief. The brief descriptions of each phase can help individuals to understand their own grief as well as the emotions and reactions of others.

1.  Protest

  • Shock, confusion, denial, anger at others, anger at self, anger at God, lowered self-esteem
  • Crying, pain, weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, etc.

2. Despair

  • Agony, grief, anguish, depression
  • Bargaining and “urge to recover” that which was lost, slowed thinking and actions, continuing physical symptoms.

3. Detachment

  • Apathy, indifference, loss of interest, desire to withdraw and “give up”
  • Decreased socialization, no new friendships, bland expression, absent spontaneity