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Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

July 8, 1926 - August 24, 2004

"People are like stained glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was born in 1926 in Zurich, Switzerland.  She attended the University of Zurich where she began her study of medicine. Shortly after earning her M.D. in 1957, she moved to the United States, to begin working and continue her studies in New York.  She completed her degree in psychiatry at the University of Colorado in 1963, and went on to teach psychiatry at the University of Colorado, and later at the University of Chicago.
As she began her practice, she was appalled by the hospitol treatment of patients who were dying. She noticed that these patients were often left alone and somewhat avoided by many hospitol staff.  She began giving a series of lectures featuring terminally ill patients, forcing medical students to confront people who were dying.
Her interest and focus on the treatment of such patients led her to become a pioneer and a leading authority in the field of thanatology, the study of death and dying. Some would say that she is responsible for creating the field of study.
Her most influential text "On Death and Dying" mapped out a five-stage framework to explain the experience of dying patients, which progressed through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Five Stages of Grief
1) Denial: The "This cant be real" stage: "This is not happening to me." "There must be a mistake."
2) Anger: The "Why me?" stage: "How dare you do this to me." (either referring to God, the deceased, or onesself)
3) Bargaining: The "If I do this, you'll do that" stage: "Just let me live to see my son graduate."
4) Depression: The "Defeated" stage: "I can't bear to face going through this, or putting my family through this."
5) Acceptance: The "This is going to happen" stage: "I'm ready, I don't want to struggle anymore."
Kubler-Ross, E. (2000). Elisabeth Kubler Ross.  Retrieved November 25, 2006 from
Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2006). Kubler-Ross Model.  Retrieved December 1, 2006 from
Williams, K. (2005). Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.  Retrieved November 1, 2006 from