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Shock stage

 

Disciplines > Change Management > The Kübler-Ross grief cycle > Shock stage

Symptoms | Treatment | See also

 

In the Extended Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle, the first stage is one of immobilized shock. In order, the stages are: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing, Acceptance.

This stage is not explicitly in the original Kübler-Ross model. However it is useful to understand and facilitating change.

Symptoms

The first reaction on hearing the bad news is one of classic shock. This initially may appear as if there is no reaction at all to the news. The person may nod and accept the news without appearing to be troubled by it. Inside, they have frozen out the news that has not really taken hold yet. To get the news through, they may need to be told several times.

This is followed by a more external shock, where there may be physical reactions such as paling of the skin, shortness of breath and physical freezing.

Treatment

When shock occurs, they may need to be sat down (to stop them falling) and given a drink of some sort (mostly as something to hold onto). Show them sympathy and acceptance. If the shock is not a short-lived one, help them get to a place where they can sit safely and let the news sink in.

You can pre-empt shock symptoms to some extent by taking the person to a place where they can safely hear the news. Especially if they are likely to move swiftly into more emotive stages, they will need to be in a private place, away from the embarrassment of public tears, and in the company of trusted friends or family.

See also

Coping Mechanisms, Fight-or-Flight reaction

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying, Macmillan, NY, 1969

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