‘Familiar with pain’ vital to effective counseling

By Chap. (Maj.) W. JERROD GLENN

FORT POLK, La. — It is not uncommon for counselors to be intimidated by difficult cases. When I say difficult, I mean individuals who have troubling stories that may go way beyond the care giver’s personal experience.

Topics range from drug addiction and sexual trauma to extreme physical or emotional abuse. Even some cases of severe combat trauma can make counselors feel unqualified and limited in their ability to provide quality care.

Although many of my clients do not use faith as a resource, I find the anchor I need for these challenging cases from the Bible.

In Isaiah’s prophecy describing what the Messiah would go through during the passion, the verse reads: “…a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief… (Isaiah 53:3).”

Upon reading this, it occurred to me that the standard for Jesus of Nazareth to help the multitudes was simply by being familiar with pain.

 

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