Time is said to heal all wounds, even the injury that comes with the loss of a loved one.
Death and dealing with it is rarely spoken of openly as it is often shrouded in superstition and discussed in hushed tones although its finality is something everyone will experience.
It is a taboo that psychotherapist Dr Edmund Ng, who specialises in handling grief, hopes to shake off with a StarLIVE talk titled “Beyond Grief: A Guide for Recovering from the Loss of a Loved One”.
With years of experience in the subject matter, Dr Ng developed his T.I.M.E approach to navigate through the sorrow and complex emotions associated with grief.
He will be elaborating on the acronym that stands for “Telling or talking about the loss”, “Issues to be resolved”, “Meaning to be sought”, and “Ending and referral” during a two-hour session on Aug 6.
“Grieving is a natural process that we must go through after a loss; a journey that we cannot bypass or take a shortcut.
“A person grieving needs to first of all confront their initial denial of the loss; because denial is a natural protective mechanism to save us from being overwhelmed by too many emotions.
“So usually in the first one or two weeks, we appear to be very strong but that is because the full reality of the loss has not sunk in yet.”
He added that those grieving would need to be in touch with their emotions in order to come to terms with the pain.
“We are wired in such a way that if we lose someone we are close to, we will feel sad and that is the price of love because the closer we are, the more painful the loss we feel,” said Dr Ng.
“Because grief is painful and unpleasant, most of the time we don’t want to embrace that emotion and end up suppressing it, distracting ourselves by not talking about it or busying ourselves and that is detrimental to our health.
“So by talking about it, we start to embrace that pain and ventilate our emotions.”
Dr Ng explained that many issues would surface once a bereaved person opened up, such as guilt, anger and anxiety that were roadblocks to the grieving process.
“For example, feelings of guilt over what we should or should not have done could keep one stuck, without resolution.
“The loss of a loved one is often beyond our control, and when things are beyond our control, we get frustrated; the easiest target to blame is ourselves.”
In such situations, a grieving person needs to look at things objectively to find there is no basis for the blame.
After which, the counsellor or therapist acts as a guide in the personal struggle of working to find deeper meaning and purpose in life with an outlook that accommodates a new view of the world.
In 2007, Dr Ng and his wife Pauline Chong founded Grace to Grieving Persons Outreach (GGP), a grief care centre to assist the bereaved come to terms with their loss in a healthy way.
The StarLIVE session will be held on Aug 6, 2016 from 10.30am to 12.30pm at Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, Petaling Jaya.
StarLIVE is a monthly free event organised by The Star. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.
To register, visit http://starlivebeyondgrief.eventbrite.com