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Stage Fright

From the stages of grief to the stages of moral development, stage theories have little evidentiary support
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Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. So annealed into pop culture are the five stages of grief — introduced in the 1960s by Swiss-born psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross based on her studies of the emotional state of dying patients — that they are regularly referenced without explication.

There appears to be no evidence, however, that most people most of the time go through most of the stages in this or any other order. According to Russell P. Friedman, executive director of the Grief Recovery Institute in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and co-author, with John W. James, of The Grief Recovery Handbook (HarperCollins, 1998), “no study has ever established that stages of grief actually exist, and what are defined as such can’t be called stages. Grief is the normal and natural emotional response to loss… No matter how much people want to create simple, bullet-point guidelines for the human emotions of grief, there are no stages of grief that fit any two people or relationships.” (continue reading…)

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