Understanding the Grieving Process

How different ways of understanding grief could help you

Last updated: 16 March 2017

If you are coping with the death of a loved one, you may hear people talk about how grief works. They might refer to different psychological theories to describe the various stages of bereavement.

Be aware that there are many different theories on grief and grieving from different psychologists and doctors. All of these theories have evidence to support them, but there is no one ‘correct’ answer to how grief works. Grief is unique to each of us and affects everyone differently when we experience loss and bereavement.

Some of the most common theories dealing with bereavement include:

It may seem confusing that there are so many different ways of understanding grief and coping with loss.You need not limit yourself to one single theory, as there is no instant ‘fix’ for the emotions you are feeling, nor for ‘getting over’ grief.

However, you may find that one or two of them help shed some light onto the kind of thoughts and feelings happening to you right now. You can discuss these ideas in more depth with a counselor or therapist, who will be able to help you understand more about grief.