Letters to the Editor

Crisis counselling the only hope for MH370 families

Monday, April 07, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

Imagine if you had a loved one on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which 'vanished' on March 8, 2014. The emotional toll on the families has been heart-rending as seen from footage on television.

As human beings we are not immune to crisis. In fact, from the moment we are born we enter a crisis-filled world. It is imperative that we develop coping skills to deal with the inevitability of crisis. Crisis counselling provides us with direct and action-oriented approaches to help find resources within ourselves to deal with crisis.

Four of the most common types of crisis include: Developmental Crisis, which takes place in the normal flow of human growth and development, for example, the birth of a child and retirement. Secondly, Situational Crisis which happens when unpredictable and extraordinary events occur, for example, an automobile accident or loss of job. The third most common type of crisis is Existential Crisis, which includes inner conflicts and anxieties that accompany important human issues of purpose, responsibility, independence and commitment, for example, realising at age 50 that one has wasted one's life. Finally, there is Ecosystemic Crisis, which occurs when some natural or human-caused disaster overtakes a person, such as the aftermath of an event that may adversely affect virtually every member of the environment in which they live, for example, a hurricane or a tsunami.

While there are a number of different treatment models, there are common elements consistent among the various theories of crisis counselling. These include assessing the situation: listening to the client, asking questions and determining what the individual requires to effectively cope with the crisis. A second element is education. Individuals who are experiencing a crisis need information about their condition and the steps they can take to minimise the damage. The third element of crisis counselling is that of offering support, this can help reduce stress and improve coping skills. The fourth element is that of developing coping skills.

It is very painful for the families of those passengers of flight MH370, more so since there is no concrete evidence on if, how and where the flight actually went down. Many family members are in a state of denial and will be so until some physical proof is given alongside the theory that the plane crashed into the ocean. The family of passengers on Flight MH370 will require long-term crisis counselling in order to cope with the untimely death of their loved ones.

Let us continue to pray for the families so that they too might find peace.

Wayne Campbell







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