The Kubler-Ross and Westburg Models

The Kubler-Ross and Westburg Models

The Kubler-Ross and Westburg Models 150 150 Peter

The Kubler-Ross and Westburg Models

The death of a loved one is a significant event that everyone experiences. An individual’s social environment, including societal and familial cultural factors, may influence how an individual approaches death or grieves the loss of someone else who dies. You can anticipate addressing grief in your social work practice and, therefore, should develop an understanding of the grieving process.

Two models of grieving—the Kubler-Ross and Westburg models—identify stages through which an individual progresses in response to the death of a loved one. Understanding the various ways individuals cope with grief helps you to anticipate their responses and to assist them in managing their grief. Select one model of grieving—the Kubler-Ross or Westburg model—to address in this assignment.

Addressing the needs of grieving family members can diminish your personal emotional, mental, and physical resources. In addition to developing strategies to assist grieving individuals in crisis, you must develop strategies that support self-care.

In this Assignment, you apply a grieving model to work with families in a hospice environment and suggest strategies for self-care.


Submit a 2- to 4-page paper in which you:

  • Explain how you, as a social worker, might apply the grieving model you selected to your work with families in a hospice environment.
  • Identify components of the grieving model that you think might be difficult to apply to your social work practice. Explain why you anticipate these challenges.
  • Identify strategies you might use for your own self care as a social worker dealing with grief counseling. Explain why these strategies might be effective

Sample Paper

Models of Grieving

Social workers perform crucial roles to families after losing their beloved ones. Social workers advocate for the wishes and needs of families and patients during end-of-life to enhance their experiences. Also, social workers support patients living with terminal illness like cancer and encourage them as they approach death. Besides, hospice social workers assist families who have lost their beloved ones to acquire resources and services for additional assistance like grieving for the dead, transportation and insurance covers. Social workers mourn or approach death when people die through the influence of the social environment in which the patient dies. The paper focuses on the application of grieving models in the provision of services to families, reasons for the selection of the specific model, challenging elements of grieving model to use in workplaces, reasons for expecting difficulties, and strategies social workers can apply in grief counseling.

Application of a Grieving Model

Social workers use grieving models when working with clients in hospice environments. After death of patients, families can seek services of hospice social workers to help them cope with the passing away of their beloved one (Currer, 2015). In my practice, I will use the Westberg Model to assist relatives of the deceased to accept the loss and move on, to endure grieving pain, and establish lasting connections with the dead as they start new lives. Also, social workers use the Westberg Model when called upon by clients to provide psychotherapy, counseling, and emotional support to family members who have lost their loved ones (Stroebe & Schut, 1999). Besides, hospice social workers can apply the Westberg Model in the provision of support services like transportation and grieving.

Reasons for the selection of the model versus other models of grief

There are many reasons for the selection of the Westberg Model versus other models of grief. First, the Westberg Model provides a better clinical viewpoint on what to expect from people at end-of-life and their families in a social work practice environment as compared to other models of grieving (“Kubler-Ross and Other Grief Models”, 2019). Secondly, the Westberg Model covers crucial behavioral points, which models like the Kubler-Ross Model does not focus on the behaviors. For instance, the Westberg model covers behavioral elements like the eruption of emotions, diseases which result from stress and the process of grieving, reentry challenges, guilt, panic, affirmative reality, and hope. Therefore, I prefer the Westberg grieving model since the additional stages it covers are significant on the overall assessment of families by hospice social workers in the process of grieving.

Components of the model that are difficult to apply social work practice

Elements of Westberg Model include illness, panic, guilt, loneliness, eruption of emotions, anger, panic, re-entry difficulties, hope, depression, shock and denial, and affirming reality (“Kubler-Ross and Other Grief Models”, 2019). As hospice social workers use the Westberg model in counseling and educating families on their expectations after the death of their beloved ones and how to deal with the loss, some of the elements of the Westberg Model are challenging to hospice social workers when applying them in their work of grieving families. I consider components like denial, anger, and guilt as difficult to use in social workplaces. Such components are difficult to happen since people do not encounter similar components, and they do not go through grieving stages in a chronological order. Therefore, hospice social workers must understand ways through which bereaved families respond to grief so that they may assist them in managing pain.

Reasons for anticipating the challenges

There are many reasons for the anticipation of challenges in applying all elements of the Westberg model. First, all people do not go through all the stages of the model. Some of them may skip some specific steps of the model. Secondly, it is challenging to go through stages like anger since individuals ask themselves many questions as to why the death occurred to them, and they may direct their anger to their families and their friends, and this stage may last for a long time. Additionally, some steps like grieving may be challenging to apply in a social workplace by hospice since they cannot restore life for failure to take appropriate actions to prevent the death like encouraging patients to seek early medication. Therefore, hospice social workers should anticipate difficulties when undertaking their duties since they are difficult for families to pass through as they mourn their beloved ones.

Strategies for self-care in grief counseling

I will employ strategies for my self-care to maintain my emotional, physical, and mental health while offering hospice services to grieved families. Self-care in social services helps individuals balance their activities and enjoy happiness with their clients (Newell & MacNeil, 2010). In my case, I will employ the strategy of connecting with my emotions. Under this strategy, I will balance my clients to avoid stress and anxiety as a hospice social worker. Secondly, I will use the approach of saying no to new commitments. For instance, I will decline tasks which will add stress to my life as a social worker. Lastly, I will use the strategy of role-playing, which involves assisting clients and families in adjusting to new environments after the death of their loved ones. Through the approach, I will assist them in building skills and identify their capability of making further changes which will help them continue with their normal lives. I will facilitate in the formulation of new behaviors for the bereaved families to accept and forget about the loss. Thus, I will be in a position of using these strategies to care for myself.

Reasons for the effectiveness of the strategies

The grief counseling strategies are effective for my self-care since they will enhance my service delivery to bereaved families. For example, they will eliminate stress, which results from overworking or serving many clients, contributing to mental, physical, and emotional problems (Zisook & Shear, 2013). Additionally, my self-care strategies as a social worker are effective since they cater for the needs of my clients in the process of grieving. Therefore, the strategies are effective since they enhance the well-being of social workers and clients seeking hospice services.

From the above discussion, it is evident that grieving models provide guidelines to families on what they expect after the death of their beloved one. Hospice social worker use models to support the bereaved in hospice settings to provide them with psychotherapy, counseling, and emotional support. I selected the Westberg model when working with clients in hospice environments rather than other models because it has significant additional components. The paper also focused on anger guilt, and denial as crucial components of Westberg Model, which are difficult to apply in social workplaces and the reasons for the difficulties. Lastly, the paper discussed strategies which social workers should apply when caring for themselves in the process of providing grief counseling services to families. Therefore, the Westberg Model plays a significant role in the provision of hospice social work services to families after the death of their beloved ones.


  • Currer, C. (2015). Loss and Social Work. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. Kubler-Ross and Other Grief Models | Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. (2019). Retrieved from
  • Newell, J. M., & MacNeil, G. A. (2010). Professional burnout, vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue: A review of theoretical terms, risk factors, and preventive methods for clinicians and researchers. Best Practice in Mental Health, 6(2), 57-68.
  • Stroebe, M., & Schut, H. (1999). The dual process model of coping with grief: Rationale and description. Death Studies, 23(3), 197-224
  • Zisook, S., & Shear, M. K. (2013). Bereavement, depression, and the DSM-5. Psychiatric Annals, 43(6), 252-254