More than 40 years after psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed her theory on the five stages of grief, bereavement experts are questioning how well her theories have held up.
“It just doesn’t work anymore,” said Joseph Nowinski, of the Kübler-Ross model. “Technology has transformed death.”
Nowinski, a University of Connecticut professor of psychology, and Barbara Okun, a professor of counseling psychology at Northeastern University, co-wrote “Saying Goodbye,” a book about what they call “the new grief.” As advances in medicine allow people diagnosed with terminal illnesses to live longer, the grieving process is also extended.
A diagnosis of a terminal illness no longer means days or weeks, but months and years. Today, the authors say, families have the opportunity to tie up loose ends, make practical arrangements and be at peace when a loved one dies.
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