Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: Kubler-Ross Model And The Main Works

In 1965, when assisting the students from the Chicago Theological Seminary in preparing their graduation project on death as a major crisis in human life, Kubler-Ross started thinking over the idea of writing her own book. Based on her extensive researches and innovative personal conclusions, the book named “On Death and Dying” appeared in 1969.

This work became a significant point in the historical development of medical ethics and psychiatry, and it still remains obligatory for studying in all medical educational establishments. The importance of the book is in its subject itself: it was written about the issues that the majority of doctors did not want to touch. Therefore, the book became pioneering in exploring the phenomenon of death.

Kubler-Ross modelBesides, this work publicized a new theory, which generalized personal emotional reactions of people on grief (in particular, when learning about own terminal disease), which is known now as Kubler-Ross model. The researches revealed that there are five stages, which people usually experience when trying to cope with grief or a tragedy. Those stages include: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The first stage of denial means refusal of the tragedy and attempts of the person not to believe in objectivity of the situation. It is frequently accompanied with personal withdrawal or isolation. The second and the third stages are mostly focused on communication with God, when the grieving person is trying to trade good behaviors for cessation or ease of pain and suffering.

Depression is usually the hardest phase of the process of grieving, according to the proposed Kubler-Ross model, because through the depression the person comes to the last stage and starts accepting the fact of tragedy. Depression can be very hard, and it is frequently accompanied with nervous breakdowns or other disturbances. The last stage is acceptance of the tragedy and focusing on possible solutions.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described these stages in her book, emphasizing that still the process of grief management is extremely individual for every particular person. She claimed that not everyone can go through all these five stages, though any grieving person experiences at least two of them. Also, she supposed that these stages may not happen in the stated sequence, and a person can firstly suffer depression followed by anger and bargaining, etc.

After publishing the book, Kubler-Ross had to confront with rather fierce opposition. In those times doctors, medical practitioners and psychologists did not support her great beginning in exploring the problems of death and treatment of terminally ill patients. The majority of specialists did not feel enthusiastic and comfortable with the necessity to study this issue. However, Kubler-Ross was very determined in importance of her work and continued the researches.

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