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How Do I Help a Hurting Friend?

We might be well-intentioned, but we're likely ill-prepared. This book should be in every church library and on the shelf of every Christian who wants to help others address their struggles.

As a professor of counselling and psychology at Regent College in Vancouver, Rod Wilson is well qualified to write a book on counselling, but it is obvious from the text that he has not limited his experience to academia. The title is well chosen. The book hits home as a manual for helping the hurting at a kitchen table or over a cup of coffee in a local café.

How Do I Help a Hurting Friend?

Addressed to both leadership and lay people in the church community—to those who sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday next to those who are damaged and hurting—Wilson refers to the need for a totally Christian perspective.

He states: "When we are constantly reoriented to the belief that all persons are created in the image of God and because of that have dignity, value and worth, our motivation to care for them will be rooted in undeniable spiritual realities."

Wilson believes many in our churches are well-intentioned but ill-prepared. Hence this book.

The author overviews five problems with which people struggle, stating them in plain language rather than as a psychiatrist's diagnosis. He then leads the reader to "think about each of these problems with our faith in the foreground." His emphasis is on moving helpers to a place of true understanding as they use the standard counselling skills of listening and echoing back the issues. His strategy is practical and easily implemented with a little attention to these basic skills.

Some may fault Wilson for being too brief or argue that his biblical references don't go far enough, but the author accomplishes his goals. This is a resource every church should have in its library, a book every elder and deacon should have readily accessible on his or her shelf.

How Do I Help a Hurting Friend? Rod Wilson. Publisher: Baker Book House (April 2006) ISBN-10: 0801066093. ISBN-13: 978-0801066092.

Marcia Lee Laycock is author of Focused Reflections, The Spur of the Moment, and The Spur, a free weekly devotional. For more information, see VineMarc Literary Services: critiquing, speaking, teaching.

Originally published in Faith Today, November/December 2006.




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