What Is The Five Stages of Grief Model? The Five Stages of Grief Model In A Nutshell

The Five Stages of Grief model was developed by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the Kübler-Ross model. The Five Stages of Grief model suggests an individual transition through five distinct stages after experiencing loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Understanding the Five Stages of Grief model

As the title of the book suggests, the model initially focused on the grief and emotions experienced by terminally ill cancer patients. The scope of the model was then extended and applies to any life event causing loss. This might include the end of a long-term relationship, moving to a new school or city, or pandemic-induced social isolation.

In dealing with a loss of any kind, it’s important to note that there are no right or wrong emotions. Everyone mourns differently, and there are no constraints on how long the process should take. However, an individual can use the model to provide clarity on where they are in their own grieving process and can also use it to support a friend or family member.

The five stages of grief

Here is a general look at the five stages of grief:

  1. Denial – the most common first response to loss, denial acts a defense mechanism and is thought to buffer the initial shock of a traumatic experience. At this early stage, the mind may deny reality as it tries to adjust to a new normal.
  2. Anger – often the result of extreme emotional discomfort, anger is also common because it tends to be more socially acceptable than a concession of fear or apprehension. That is, anger allows the individual to express emotion with less potential for judgment or rejection.
  3. Bargaining – in the bargaining stage, the individual wrongly assumes they can avoid grief through a type of negotiation. They may try to get their life back to how it was by making a major change. This attempt is precipitated by guilt and “what-if” statements where the individual wrongly assumes responsibility for what has occurred.
  4. Depression – eventually, the individual begins to accept that the loss is real and happening. Intense sadness can envelop them, leading to fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite, and a general disinterest in life. This stage is typically temporary – but some may experience depression for years or the rest of their lives.
  5. Acceptance – in the final stage, the individual resists the urge to deny or change their situation. To some extent, acceptance is a period of adjustment and readjustment. There are good days and bad days, with some degree of pain, sadness, or regret remaining. Most people then grow and evolve based on their new reality.

Key takeaways:

  • The Five Stages of Grief model suggests an individual transitions through five distinct stages after experiencing a traumatic loss. The model was developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross after a study of terminally ill cancer patients.
  • The Five Stages of Grief model helps normalize the range of emotions experienced after a loss. Each stage provides clarity on where an individual is at in their own grieving process. This clarity can also be used to best support others.
  • The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The intensity and duration of each stage will vary according to the individual.

Other business tools and frameworks

FourWeekMBA Business Model Framework

business model is a framework for finding a systematic way to unlock long-term value for an organization while delivering value to customers and capturing value through monetization strategies. A business model is a holistic framework to understand, design, and test your business assumptions in the marketplace.

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

Growth Matrix

In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling the whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Speed-Reversibility Matrix


One-Page Business Plan

A one-page business plan is a simple tool to clear your mind. It focuses on three questions: What core problem am I solving? Who are my potential key customers? Where do I find them? It helps define the problem, profile the key customer, and find the key distribution channel.

AARRR Funnel 

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables us to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

SWOT Analysis 

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

PESTEL Analysis 

The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

Comparables Analysis 

A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

Porter’s Five Forces 

Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition. Published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s. The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces

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