Healthy Grief

Perform a literature search on the grieving process, using readings from this module, the
GCU Library, or other websites and materials at your disposal. Focus on the work of
K’bler-Ross’ grieving process and the stages of grief.
Review the story of Job in the Bible, focusing on his suffering and grief. Examine how this
story correlates to the grieving process defined by K’bler-Ross.
In a paper of 750-1,000 words, include the following:

  1. Compare and contrast the grieving process as defined by K’bler-Ross and the story of
    Job with that of at least one other religion.
  2. Compare the relationship and interaction between joy and the above grieving models
    and examples.
  3. Relate your research to your own preferred method of handling grief. State whether
    your research has changed your view of grief.

Healthy Grief

Human beings face loss in their lives where they experience the same symptoms of loss,
sadness and depression. Whereas some psychologists maintain that grieving is a procedural
entity, the actual outward expression of grief and help-seeking behaviors may differ.
Nevertheless, according to Bruce (2007), coming to terms with death is unquestionably a
disturbing issue and a time for grief. While focusing on the work of Kübler-Ross’ grieving
process and the stages of grief, this paper performs a literature search on the grieving process. It
further compares and contrasts the grieving process as defined by Kubler-Ross and Job’s story as
illustrated in the Bible while comparing it with Muslim religion. A comparison of the
relationship and interaction between joy and given models is then made. Finally, the paper
relates the research to personal preferred method of handling grief
Unlike complicated grief, healthy grief differentiates between the emotional
consequences of sadness, regret and concern and those of unhealthy grief of anxiety and
depression (Bruce, 2007). Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has developed well-defined stages of grief. The
first grieving stage as defined by Kubler-Ross is denial and isolation. When at this stage, those
who have suffered the loss are unwilling and/or unable to accept what has taken place. Such

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people live in a ‘dream’ and the loss appears unreal. Some individuals are also in a state of shock
(numb) to the emotional consequences of the loss.
After people have accepted death and no longer live in denial, they may show anger due
to the loss and argue on the unfairness of the situation. In this second stage, anger is seen as the
primary emotion. More often, as noted by Kubler-Ross, this experience may take on irrational
proportions while making it difficult for others to comprehend before yielding to the bargaining
stage (Richardson, 2010). When in bargaining stage, people beg the super powers to stop death
or loss while offering promises of changing their lives or behavior in exchange of the reverse of
the loss. If the anger and bargaining do not reverse the loss, the grieving individual may enter the
depression stage.
As expressed by Kubler Ross, people in the depression stage confront the certainty and
reality of the loss and they realize that the situation is beyond their power (Bruce, 2007). He
further suggests that two types of depression (preparatory and reactive) may be experienced.
With reactive depression, people experience multiple losses including the loss of the loved one
and loss of finances, employment and or family roles. Those grieving may also experience sleep
and eating disorders, express their anguish by crying or withdrawing from other people and
move away of their daily responsibilities as they try to process the sustained loss. At depression
stage, people also often blame themselves for being the cause of the loss.
Finally, if all goes as planned, Kubler-Ross argues that people enter into the last stage of
acceptance. In this case, they have been able to deal with their existing grief emotions and accept
the eventuality of the loss or death. At this stage, those grieving individuals are once again able
to go back to their normal lives and relationships. Ideally, Kubler-Ross’s framework has been
considered the symbol for understanding dying and death (Bruce, 2007).

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Nevertheless, critics have cited their dissatisfaction in Ross’s fixed and sequential aspect
of the stages. In fact, although Kubler-Ross has largely accepted theory of the five stages of
grief, not all grieving individuals experience the five stages in the same order (Richardson,
2010). For instance, the grief process experienced by Job in the Bible does not necessarily follow
the defined order. In chapter one and two of Job’s sermons for instance, one sees a mixture of
denial and shock and a combination of simple faith. Job’s grief process is however clearer in
chapter two. Unlike Kubler-Ross’s grief process that starts with denial and isolation, Job does
not seem to show any sign of shock or denial. Job instead first takes his loss in calmness and
relates his loss to a supreme power (Waters, 2005). There is also a switch of faith and despair
and negotiation and despair without necessarily following any defined order. We also see Job’s
grief process as that leading him from depression, anger turned inward and then anger with God.
At the peak of his despair he transcends to loneliness. In Job 14, Job argues with God and when
his sufferings continue, he asks God why he does not listen to him. In the end, he concludes that
no one listens to him and that he is alone.
Instead of negotiating with the superpower as expressed by Kubler-Ross, Job reaches a
point of cursing the said superpower. At one point, he curses the day he was born and gets angry
with God, whom he believes is the cause of his miseries (Waters, 2005). As expressed in Job 16:
19-21, he searches for an advocate who can stand between him and God. He is in denial. He
finally accepts his calamities by recognizing that God is the giver and is the same one who has
taken what belongs to him. At this point, he accepts the status quo. As clearly seen, Job’s
grieving process is a real contrast of Kubler-Ross’s grief model.
Job’s story may be considered a typical illustration of how Christians in general deal with
death and loss. In contrast, Muslims’ expected grief process must follow the teachings on

HEALTHY GRIEF 4
Prophet Mohamed and the followers ought to respond in the same way he did (Mehraby, 2003).
Just like Job did, Muslims are also expected to accept the will of Allah. In this case, death is pre-
determined by the super powers and human beings should be prepared for any eventualities
knowing that there is life after death and only through death can that life be achieved.
Whereas there are a number of acceptable grief theories, I believe how one deals with the
loss has more to do with individuals and the relationship a person had with the deceased or those
who are about to die. Although Kubler-Ross’ grief process is evident in most individuals, the
bereaved do not necessarily follow the said order. Additionally, religion and cultural practices
also seem to play a major role in how people deal with death and loss. For instance, the process
taken by a believer largely differs in the way a non-believer deals with loss. In the same way,
some cultures do not expect men and women to express their grief in the same way.
Nevertheless, Job’s story in the bible and Kubler-Ross’ illustration of grief process help us see
the common picture of handling loss.

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References

Bruce, A. (2007). Helping Patients, Families, Caregivers, and Physicians, in the Grieving
Process. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 107(12) 33-40.
Mehraby, N. (2003). Psychotherapy with Islamic Clients Facing Loss and Grief. Psychotherapy
in Australia, 9 (2), 1-8.
Richardson, V. (2010). The Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement: A Decade Later.
Omega Journal of Death and Dying, 61(4), 269-271.
Waters L. (2005). Reflections on Suffering from the Book of Job. Bibliotheca Sacra, 154, 436-453.

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