Stages of Grief

At some point in our lives we will all experience the pain of losing a loved one. This is a very personal experience but is normal.
There are said to be about 5 to 7 stages of grief. You may experience some, all or part of these stages or completing skip one. Listed below is a rough guide to assist you

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Grief Stages

These stages are different for everyone: you can skip a stage, the stage can last for days, weeks or even years and you may go back to a previous stage. It is individual and there is no right or wrong.

1. Shock Denial and Panic

You may experience disbelief at what has happened and be in shock. This can show itself in physical and/or emotional symptoms such as nausea, panic, anxiety etc. You may even feel a sense of detachment from what has happened. Denial is a coping mechanism helping you to deal with the pain of the loss you are experiencing.

2. Pain and Guilt

Once Stage 1 eases, you may find yourself going through pain and/or guilt. Realising that the loss is real and the pain at having to live a life without your loved one being around anymore. Again, you may experience physical and emotional symptoms. You may also experience self-blame and guilt by believing you could have done more for the person, supported them more etc. this is all normal thinking and part of the healing process.

3. Anger & Bargaining

This is when you are trying to find a different outcome to what has happened. You may experience anger at the person for leaving you or anger at the way they were lost to you. This stage is often experienced after the funeral whereby your friends and family go back to their everyday lives and you are trying to find a ‘new normal’ without that person. The arrangement of the funeral is often carried out in a state of denial or shock and you can feel swept along with the arrangements. Life slows down once this is over and you are left trying to find a way to cope.

4. Depression & Loneliness

Reflection on your loss and how it is affecting your life can cause depression, isolation, loneliness and extreme sadness. You may feel you wish to withdraw from everyday activities and socialising seems too difficult during this time. The thought of putting on a brave face can feel too much. You may feel hopeless and long for your loved one. Taking time for you is important at this stage and this is also often when talking to a Counsellor will help you with these feelings.

5. Upward Turn

This is a period when you may feel the anger and pain has died down and is easing. You may feel you can cope better and life seems more manageable.

6. Reconstruction & Working through

Here is where you may start to take back control of your life and are no longer overwhelmed by your physical and emotional grief associated with your loss. You start to get back to your normal activities and socialising doesn’t feel so daunting. It will feel strange at first but after a while you will feel comfortable again in leading your life.

7. Acceptance

This is the final stage of Grief. You will never forget your loved one but you will start to feel less pain when thinking and talking about them and eventually you will be able to remember fond memories of your life with them. That loss will never completely go, but you will find a way to live with the loss and also carry on with your own life.


Grief can be re-triggered at the time of anniversaries, birthdays, certain songs etc so do not be frustrated at yourself for having to re-experience any of the stages. Grief is difficult and individual, there is no right or wrong or ‘I should be over this by now’. No one should tell you at what stage you should be. Take your time. Be patient and kind to yourself this is one of the most emotionally painful experiences in anyone’s life and we are here to help you through.


If you are interested in having counselling with us, please contact us below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


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