Integration Course

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Forum 2:  Suffering
(Dr. Brian Campbell)


1.      How can/should I counsel suffering people?

2.      Is the point of counseling to remove all suffering?  Why or why not?

This week, you are to address the question of how you should counsel people who are suffering.  Question #1 is a bit confusing with regard to the “can/should” component.  Question #2 may also require some translation.  Here is how I want you to “translate” these questions:


1.      How do I go about counseling people who are suffering?

2.      Is my objective in counseling others always to completely alleviate their suffering?  Why or why not?




You can draw upon three sources if inspiration and insight:


1.      Presentation: Week 3:  Lecture 3.  “Spirituality, Suffering, and Counseling Dynamics.

2.      McMinn: Chapter 2: “Toward Psychological and Spiritual Health.”

3.      Campbell’s Chapter:  “Suffering.”




As you approach these questions, I would like you to imagine that you are actually sitting in an office and your first client comes in to see you.  He/she is hurting physically and emotionally.  See if you can start to conceptualize how you would handle the person’s suffering.  What do you think would be important to establish during the initial therapeutic session?  Then, in your mind’s eye, imagine some of the things you might attempt to do in subsequent sessions.  Base your post on the concepts available in your readings.  The purpose of the GDB questions is to see if you can integrate information from the resources you are studying into “real life” counseling situations.




Below is a list of concepts you might draw upon when developing your “strategy” for counseling people who are suffering:


Building Trust

Empathy and Compassion

Importance of Listening

Shared Suffering



Different Sources of Suffering

Importance of Listening

Providing Hope


Irrational Thinking

Correcting Faulty Thinking—Importance of Truth

Grace and Truth


Holy Spirit

Redemptive Function of Suffering

Love and Respect




Use of Citations/References:


As you incorporate some or many of the concepts given above, make sure that you provide citations for information you are drawing upon from your course material.  Consult the “Basic Citations and References” for rules on how to properly format in-text citations and references.  Also, please consult your APA style manual.


Additional Resources:


If you have not already done so, please watch Dr. Campbell’s video on Christian Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CCBT), entitled:  Take Captive Every Thought.


Do Not Include Your Personal Story:


Many of you have gone through considerable pain and suffering in your lives.  This post is not a place to discuss your pain or suffering, or that of your family or friends.  The purpose of this post is to get you to start thinking from the perspective of a professional counselor in the process of counseling “real life people” with their own grief, sorrow, problems, or suffering.



Start Your Post Like This:


As mentioned above, in order to provide structure to your post, I want you to think of organizing your post temporally.  That is, think of walking the reader through your initial counseling session, and then proceeding to subsequent sessions, until you finally terminate with the client.  Start your post with the following sentence stem:


When my client enters the room, the first thing I will do is…



Then proceed to “walk me through” the rest of your counseling with the hypothetical client.  You might use some of the following sentence stems as you proceed:



During this initial session, my objective would be…

Later on in counseling… 

During subsequent sessions…

Depending upon…

It might be necessary to…

In the final analysis,