The TIME Approach to Grief Support (BOOK EXCERPT, PT 14)
This is the final excerpt from The TIME Approach to Grief Support by Edmund Ng and WinePress Publishing. This book teaches Christians how to comfort people struggling with grief.
Gerard Ega, a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Loyola University of Chicago, called people who are capable of helping others come to grips with problems in living “people-helpers.” Egan (2001) stated that in general, people-helpers have two principal goals. The first is to help people to manage their problems in living more effectively and develop unused or underused resources and opportunities more fully. The second is to help people become better at helping themselves in their everyday lives.
Although people-helpers assist clients in achieving valued outcomes, they have no control over the outcomes. Clients must commit themselves to the helping process, capitalize on what they learn from the helping sessions, and choose to live more effectively. Good helping sessions must translate into more effective living on the part of the client. Hence, the services of people-helpers are beneficial to the extent of the constructive changes they bring to their clients.
The mission statement of GGP Outreach is “to assist grieving persons, regardless of race or religion, to come to terms with their losses, cope with the present, and live with hope for the future.” The bereaved must do their grief work and complete the tasks of mourning. McKissock (1992), an Australian bereavement therapist, said that the minimum requirement for the bereaved is to share what they feel and learn ways to cope with the loss. GGP Outreach is there only to assist them in doing what is required of them. If we do more than this and try to fix for them their emotions, issues, and everything else, we only make them dependent on us.
According to Wright (1991), “With each and every loss comes the potential for change, growth, new insights, under- standing and refinement.” People can come out of their mourning either bitter or better. We want to help them become better people who can effectively manage their lives despite experiencing their losses.
As Christians, it also is our duty to see that they are spiritually strengthened in the process. Hence, the spiritual goal of our support and care is to point them to our God, who is the only source of lasting comfort, peace, and hope, and bring them closer to Him so that they will establish a passionate and personal relationship with Him.
Only such a relationship will meet their every need in time to come. We noted earlier that the Hebrew
word nacham, which is used in the context of comforting those who mourn over the loss of their loved ones, refers not only to grieving or groaning but also to turning one to the truth. We want those we assist to be better and stronger people, spiritually and in character, so that with their unique experiences, they can in turn reach out to help others who are bereaved.
In reaching out to offer comfort and support to grieving unbelievers in our community, we always must be aware that during their season of grief, the bereaved family members are most open to the love, compassion, and good news of God. However, we also must remember that we are there to journey alongside them and help them. We are not doing it just because we want to convert them. Even if they are not open to the spiritual truths and the gospel, we must be fully committed to them until they recover. Playing a hit-and-run game will falter others. We also must know that comforting those who grieve requires a fairly long-term commitment from us. So it is advisable that Christian caregivers first pray to seek God and count the cost before making the first move.
The rest of this book will tell us more about the TIME Approach to comforting those who mourn. It is not a new model of grief counseling, but in it, the current knowledge and skills on the subject are combined with God’s truths and organized and presented in a simple and direct manner that makes it easy to learn and apply. When we combine the truths of God’s Word and promises with an in-depth knowledge of the patterns of human thoughts, emotions, and behavior, we can have a very effective and powerful approach to ministry.
This book also is written from the context of my first-hand journey of grief, as well as from my personal knowledge, experiences, skills, and insights that have come from counseling a large number of grieving persons to recovery, both on a one-on-one basis and collectively in support groups.
The TIME Approach will give us a good working knowledge of what to say and what to do when we want to reach out to people who are grieving. In a situation where we are facing someone who is crying hopelessly and in need of help and comfort, we do not want to grapple with a host of theories; we want to be able to respond immediately and in the correct manner. Following the word TIME:
“T” stands for Talking the Loss.
“I” means Issues Are Resolved.
“M” refers to Meaning Is Sought.
“E” is Ending and Referral.
The TIME Approach ensures that grief work is carried out by the grieving person in a proper and healthy manner toward healing and complete recovery.
To Continue Reading
The first excerpt in the series: