The Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief Are Different with TBI
The Elisabeth Kubler-Ross model of grieving shows stages from denial to bargaining to acceptance. For caregivers with a loved one with TBI, these stages are not so orderly.
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I think the biggest impact sometimes for family members is kind of like-- There was a lady named Kübler-Ross who did a stages of dying or stages of grief, is what they talk about, and the very first stage of that is denial and them denying or even believing that this has happened to their loved one. Then they go through probably a bargaining situation where they try to bargain in whatever way that they think inside themselves or with even God sometimes and what they believe-- "Do this to something else, or I will do this if you can take this away or make this better." Then we talk about the next stage is depression and they fall into a depression, maybe again just following from those stages. Then lastly, hopefully resolution and understanding that. Now, that's relatively simple to say for if you're talking about stages of dying or stages of grief, but with TBI I think it's a little bit different because the problem is ongoing over years and years and years, and people again go through high points where they're doing well and low points where they're doing not so well. So the families begin to suffer and get burned out. They can go through their own emotional turmoils in relation to their roles in helping their loved one recover, and they need support and counseling and other services available to them too also, including respite, and how can we help them set up some respite for them at given times and things like that. So, the families go through a lot. I was talking with a family the other day that their loved one's injury was fairly recent, and I don't think they have totally realized what's ahead of them yet So I tried to give them a quick overview of what they're looking at, trying to be honest, at the same time being tactful and not coarse and hard about it.
Posted on BrainLine November 7, 2012. Reviewed December 25, 2017.
Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine, and Dan Edblom.
Ron Broughton, MEd, LPC,CBIST is the chief clinical officer at Brookhaven Hospital as well as chairman of the Ethics and Performance Improvement Committees.