Stage One: Denial and Isolation

We continue our discussion on the stages of grief from Dr. Kubler-Ross’ model from On Death and Dying.

Stage One: Denial and Isolation. Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or reality relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defense mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic event.
People in denial have been described as having their head in the sand. They have received a notice of default or notice of trustee sale and have checked out of reality. Their thought process includes that if they don’t open the mail anymore the bank can’t take their house. They can start to rationalize the fact that there are so many potential foreclosures out there that the banks couldn’t possible foreclose on all of them, especially not theirs.
The mail represents a constant reminder that there is impending doom around the corner. Realtors add to this pressure with dozens of mail pieces that the homeowner will see in the mailbox, compliments of the agent. It is hard to say if all the mail pieces help move the client to the next stage, but is does make it very difficult to ignore the problem.
Successfully reaching out to someone in denial can prove to be a very difficult process. How do you reach out to someone that does not what to be reached out to?

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