The Life Reentry Model is a grief therapy practice that provides a supportive social structure to the client who is the process of shifting from the “Waiting Room” mindset to one of Reentry. It supports individuals in understanding the many layers of their grief and corrects the false misconception that grief is a process of indefinite mourning.
Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross defined the grieving process in On Death and Dying (1969) in what is now the well-known sequence of stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Her model was widely adopted and is frequently used in grief therapy groups. While it provides assistance during the initial phase of grieving, the model is a limited approach to healing because it does little to encourage people to live fully during the process of discovering their new identity after loss. The Life Reentry Model takes off where Kübler-Ross leaves us, when the grieving and the denial and all the anger and emotions have been shared and discussed.
When we repeat and review the process of bargaining, denying and grieving again and again, we get stuck in an endless loop instead of taking forward steps on our journey toward healing and life reentry. In LR, we call this stagnant space of being “The Waiting Room”. This is the mental space we inhabit while waiting for time to heal our wounds. The longer we reside in this space, the more our minds reenact habitual patterns of grief and story—a pattern that is then reinforced in our brains on a physical, neurological level. Our brain chemistry is altered by the stories we repeat to ourselves and others. The LR group model is designed to help grief clients begin to plug-in to the now and change the message they are repeating to themselves.
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