The 5 Stages has often been misunderstood to mean a process that everyone must go through and they were never meant to tuck emotions into neat packages.
They are a response to loss that many people have - and there is no typical response. Grief is an individual as each of our lives.
However, when it comes to pet loss, grief is often misunderstood, yet it can be just as overwhelming and debilitating.
If you're reading this and have experienced the loss of your beloved animal companion, you will know.
The intensity of the grief you're feeling will vary depending on your age, your life stage and circumstances of your life, plus the different situations that your pet died.
For example, young children and elderly may experience their loss at a more intense level, same as women who don't have children.
Stage 1: Denial, Shock, Numb
“How can anyone just leave you by the side of the road and not get in touch.”
Stage 2: Anger, Searching, Longing
"Why did they not try harder?"
Stage 3: Bargaining
They will give ANYTHING to turn back the clock and do things differently.
Guilt is often the flip side of Bargaining, finding fault with the things that they have done, or others have done.
"I'm going to make sure this never happens again."
Stage 4: Depression, Despair
"I feel like I'm drifting and I'm not motivated to do anything."
Stage 5: Acceptance, Closure
"I know new experiences and new companions are on their way."
These stages are not Linear, people flip back and forth between them.
Sometimes it is forgotten that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as they flip in and out of one and then back into another.
They do not enter and leave each individual stage in an orderly line.
They may feel one, then another and back again to the first one. Feeling shock and anger whilst bargaining is an example.
It can often be hard to express outwardly, so if this is an area that interests you, as a counsellor or counsellor-in-training, begin by reading or re-reading On Death and Dying by Kübler-Ross.
Our 10 week Basic Counselling Course starts in July 2016
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