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As you reply to your classmates, probe their answers. Did they justify why their list of concepts was so important—or non-obvious? Was their answer to the client persuasive?

In all your discussion board work for this module/week, make sure to integrate appropriate concepts from the class sources, previous courses you may have taken, passages of Scripture that directly relate to the concept, or ethical considerations from the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) and cite correctly, per current APA format.



Suffering and Counseling Guidelines

The presentation, Spirituality, Suffering, and Counseling Dynamics (n.d.), provided numerous insights on the concept of suffering and on counseling suffering clients; the concepts of nature of suffering, solidarity, hospitality in counseling, clarifying roles, attentive listening, grace and truth, and hope were informative and encouraging to me as a counseling student. The nature of suffering discussion does not limit suffering to punishment, disobedience, and conflict of conscience, but it also recognizes the Fall of creation, the loss of foundations, shame, and hopelessness (Brewer & Peters, n.d.). This more thorough acknowledgment of suffering will be beneficial to me the Christian counselor. I also believe the idea of solidarity between “wounded healer” and client is valuable to the therapeutic relationship and thus, the client’s progress. When the counselor uses appropriate disclosure it can help make a “heart connection” with the client (Brewer & Peters, n.d.). I am especially impressed by the concept of hospitality in counseling. Before, I had not really thought of hospitality within the counseling context, but it makes sense as counselors seek to warmly welcome strangers into a relationship in which they are loved, respected, and held with unconditional positive regard (Brewer & Peters, n.d). When many want to turn away people in suffering, counselors welcome them in and listen to them share their pain (Brewer & Peters, n.d). By delivering both grace and truth, hospitality in counseling can help the client who has become a stranger to all, even to themselves, to become a friend (Brewer & Peters, n.d). This is a beautiful concept and one I most want to utilize in counseling future clients.  The type of hospitality in counseling can surely help a client find hope and progress toward their goals.

Discouraged Client

If a client expressed uncertainty in the effectiveness of their counseling experience and asked why I have not helped to remove the pain and suffering they feel, I would carefully listen with empathy and attention to their desires, thoughts, and feelings. Listening not only shows positive regard for the client and promotes a collaborative counseling experience, it could also reveal new insights into the clients suffering that may not have been noticed in previous goals (Brewers & Peters, n.d.; Hawkins & Clinton, 2015, p. 56). As a counselor, I will clearly have limitations in my abilities to help clients and will want to seek the wisdom of God to know my role in the counseling process (Hawkins & Clinton, 2015, pp. 55-56). I will want to assess the client’s assertion for any potential truth in me not fulfilling my role, recognizing the client may have misunderstood my role (Brewer & Peters, n.d.). Perhaps, I need to make changes to help the client reach their goals. Perhaps, the client may need to be reminded of each of our roles and my limitations. Perhaps still, the client may simply need to be encouraged by reminding them of their growth toward reaching their goals.


Brewer, G. & Peters, C. (n.d.). COUC 506 Week Three, Spirituality, suffering, and counseling dynamics. [Film]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University.

Hawkins, R. and Clinton, T., (2015).  The new Christian counselor.  Harvest House Publishers. 


In thinking on counseling suffering individuals, I found several concepts and principles to be insightful and helpful.  Most insightful is the Nouwen statement that as a counselor, we are a “wounded healer” (Brewer & Peters, Slide 2/7).  By embracing this concept, it allows for each counselor to engage their client with a base level of compassion, empathy and hospitality.  These are the starting factors which are needed to set a solid foundation for any therapeutic relationship.  

A Christian counselor’s goals during a therapeutic intervention should always align with that of the client.  McMinn (2011) suggest that for the counselor, interdisciplinary integration is sometimes hard to achieve because the success of the intervention depends on a counselor’s ability to genuinely connect with the client on a real level.  McMinn (2011), states the “most important’” part of the entire intervention is the “counseling relationship” itself (p. 13).  Specifically, although it is important for the Christian Counselor to be fully competent in psychological and theological training and techniques, most clients are looking to make a personal or relational connection with their counselor (McMinn, 2011, p. 13).  Knowing this, “bringing the Christian faith into the counseling office–requires us to evaluate carefully the goals of therapy” and level of spirituality for the client (McMinn, 2011, p. 17).   

If after six weeks of counseling, a client approached me with concerns about the level of counseling effectiveness and their continual suffering, I would first provide them unconditional positive regard and the hospitality needed to freely express those concerns.  I would then engage in a process of therapeutic reassessment.  First, working with the client to ensure that I and the client were clear on the true source of their suffering.  Specifically, from reading the course material, determining the “nature of suffering” is key for the counselors to assist clients in their healing process (Brewer & Peters, Slide 4/7).  In addition, the client and I would review or adjust the therapeutic goals set at the beginning of the therapeutic intervention.  Finally, I would do an assessment of my own counseling effectiveness.  According to Remley & Herlihy (2016) counselors are ethically bound to exercise “diligence” which requires “putting client welfare first and foremost, above all other concerns” (p. 155).  This means counselors must be “willing to do extra reading, research, training, consultation, and follow-up to ensure that clients are served effectively” (p. 155).  Referral is an option (if needed).


Brewer, G. & Peters, C. (n.d.), Spirituality, Suffering, and Counseling Dynamics: COUC 506

(LUO), Week Three, Lecture Three, Lynchburg, VA:  Liberty University Online

Liberty University Custom: Remley, T.P., & Herlihy, B.P. (2016). Ethical, legal, and

professional issues in counseling (Custom 5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

McMinn, M. R. (2011). Psychology, theology and spirituality in Christian counseling

(Revised ed.). Carol Stream, IL:  Tyndale House. ISBN: 99780842352529

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