Episode 108: Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief – More Harm Than Good?

MichaelDevelopment10 Comments


Almost everyone has heard of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, her book On Death and Dying, and her five stages of grief. But are these stages accurate? Could the five stages of grief actually be doing more harm than good? Are they helping us to better understand what dying people go through or are they making it more difficult for us to truly understand and relate to them? Find out in this episode of The Psych Files.


Resources on Death and Dying



    • This study employed a research approach called ethnography: “…a methodological strategy…which… does not prescribe any particular method (e.g. observation, interview, questionnaire), but instead prescribes the nature of the study (i.e. to describe people through writing). Ethnographic studies are usually holistic, founded on the idea that humans are best understood in the fullest possible context, including: the place where they live, the improvements they’ve made to that place, how they are making a living and providing food, housing, energy and water for themselves, what their marriage customs are, what language(s) they speak and so on.” – Wikipedia
    • Interesting video on YouTube of a little girl who expresses the stages of grief over the death of a pet fish.


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10 Comments on “Episode 108: Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief – More Harm Than Good?”

  1. Pingback: superstiton + myth= control « psychclass2011

  2. this helped me a lot with one of my papers..its good to get another view on the models of grieving out there today. thanks!

  3. Mr Britt,
    This was the first I had heard of you, and I am glad to have begun haphazardly in the middle this time =). I was searching for a resource by which to learn more about psychology, and I found you – who not only teaches, but personalizes and empathizes in a way I had nearly forgotten is essential to any psychological work. Thank you so much for maintaining that ability – it is beautiful, and I hope you continue to educate people and remind them of how important even the desire to understand can be.

  4. Hi Michael,

    I just wanted to say that I thought you did a really great job with this episode. It obviously moved you and must be a very challenging topic to address as a professional career for others.

    Thanks and well done.

  5. Nici: thanks so much! What a great message to get first thing in the morning. Yea – I think we can be a weird bunch (psychologists) given how we are portrayed in the media. Glad you enjoyed the mnemonics episodes too. Thanks so much!

  6. Hello Dr. Britt,
    I wanted to let you know that I think you are brilliant! You crack me up! I always thought people in the psychology field were stuffy, uptight type of people. I am sorry for my generalized thought. You have totally changed my mind! Your programs on mnemonics are great! very fascinating & they do work! Psychology has always been a hobby of mine. Thanks for the help & keeping it interesting! I appreciate your gallant effort to empower & enlighten people. Thank you for your time & patience!!
    Peace, Nici

  7. Sean – thank you so much for your very kind note. I appreciate you sharing this with me and I’m very glad that the episode was helpful to you.

  8. Hi Dr. Britt,

    I just want to share with you that this is, I think, your most beautiful episode.
    Recently, my grandfather had just passed away, and this episode really gives me a different prospective to the whole situation.

    Thank you


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