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Tasks of grief

How do we cope when someone close to us has died?

Kübler-Ross drew attention to the process of dying and described a five-stage grief model:

  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

By focusing on the tasks of grief, we are given a more active view of grief work, rather than the somewhat passive stage model. The four tasks of grief (Worden, 1991) are:

  • to accept the reality of the loss;
  • to work through the pain of grief;
  • to adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing;
  • to emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life.

There are three groups of factors which influence the grief process (Parkes 1998) :

  • antecedent factors, such as childhood losses, relationship with the deceased and mode of death;
  • concurrent factors such as socio-economic status;
  • and subsequent factors as in social support and new life opportunities

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