Life Work of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Its Impact on the Death Awareness Movement

Author: Chaban, Michele
This book suggest that the claims made for Kubler-Ross's work are inflated if not erroneous. It uncovers a history of deception associated with Kubler-Ross's research as well as with her clinical and educational initiatives. This history of deception is particularly poignant because Kubler-Ross's practice may have embodied the very values of denial, deception and inappropriate care which she condemned in normative medicine. This volume traces the history of Kubler-Ross's life work, particularly her history of thought, and challenges the death awareness movement to be more accountable in its care of the dying.


"For those of us involved in hospice or palliative care for many years, Kubler-Ross' work has always been enigmatic. . . . it was clear early on that the theory of stages did not seem to fit actual clinical experience. Although Kubler-Ross was a favoured speaker at many hospice meetings, her lack of continuing experience in the field and her sometimes bizarre meandering into the world beyond life made her theories much less palatable. Although critics of Kubler-Ross and her work have been vocal for some time, there has been no in-depth critical analysis of her work until now. In this scholarly work, Michéle Chaban has dissected out carefully the origins, flaws and influence of Kubler-Ross' work and put into question the validity of that work. There is in this book fine, detailed detective work into the professional career of Kubler-Ross, the origins of her theories, her research work, and the observations of her colleagues. This book will allow us finally to lay to rest Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' work without denying its influence and bring needed attention to developing a comprehensive theory base for palliative or hospice care using the competent research scholarship of other scholars." - Larry Librach Md, CCFP, FCFP, Director, Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface, Foreword, Introduction
1. The Critical Challenge After 25 Years of Thanatological Reform
2. Kubler-Ross's Understanding of Technology's Impact on Death and Health Sciences
3. The Influence of Kubler-Ross's Five Stages on Health Sciences
4. The Five Stages as Clinical Thanatology: An Assessment and Treatment Paradigm?
5. The Five Stages as Qualitative Research
6. External and Internal Inconsistency in the Staging Paradigm: Comparison of Formats
7. The Significance and Impact of Kubler-Ross's Work
8. The Transition from Psychology to Theology
9. Tracing the Origins of the Staging Theory
10. From Measured Truths to Revealed Truths
11. Evaluating the Outcome of Kubler-Ross's Work
12. The Re-writing of Thanatology's History of Thought (Unstable Ideas, Folk Psychology, and Kubler-Ross)
13. Conclusion