Attending to the needs and issues of hurting people today is complex, and at times overwhelming. As today’s generations search for purpose, meaning and value, many experience a pervasive sense of emptiness and loneliness. And why shouldn’t they? In a world flooded with distresses like divorce, father absence, rampant sexual abuse, terrorism, anxiety, and depression, there seems to be an epidemic of escapism through drugs, alcohol, consumerism, sex, violence, and suicide. Yet it is in the darkest times that light shines the brightest. This five-unit course is designed to equip you to help others break through the darkness in their lives. Each unit contains six lessons on-demand, complete with work-text and exams. Despite the tension and emptiness, something seems to be happening across America — people are searching for God.
This course includes 30 Continuing Education (CE) credits approved for counselors, life coaches, and crisis responders who are credentialed through the International Board of Christian Care (IBCC) or one of its affiliate boards: the Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counseling (BCPPC); the Board of Christian Life Coaching (BCLC); the Board of Mental Health Coaching (BMHC) and the Board of Christian Crisis and Trauma Response (BCCTR).
Lesson Titles and Descriptions
Unit One: Foundations of Spiritual Care, Discipline and Godly Living
COMN 101: Using the Bible and Relying on the Holy Spirit in Counseling
Ed Hindson, Th.D., D.Min., D.Phil.
Christian counseling is, by definition, a revelation of the life and love of Jesus Christ in helping
someone change for the better. That life and love comes alive in the use of the Bible, and in
relying upon the Holy Spirit to advance the goals and challenges of counseling. Dr. Hindson
teaches students these ways in this first and crucial session.
COMN 102: Living the Life: Pursuing After God’s Heart with All Your Heart
Glenn Wagner, Ph.D.
Jesus said that all of the law and the prophets can be summed up into one indelible rule: “Love
the Lord your God with your whole being.” Dr. Wagner shows students how all of life seems
arranged to constantly teach and remind people how important this one truth truly is in ‘Living
the Good Life’.
COMN 103: Breaking Free: Disaffection with God and Life and the Recovery of the Heart
Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
People need to face a difficult truth. There are times in one’s spiritual walk when someone is
overcome with disaffection toward God and godly living – when a person is tempted to forsake
God and all things good. Dr. Clinton incisively reveals this process and the way to break free
again – the way back to God and spiritual growth.
COMN 104: When Life Doesn’t Make Sense: Facing Evil, Sin, and Suffering
Diane Langberg, Ph.D.
No matter how naïve or childish a person may judge it, the wish to avoid suffering and escape
evil is buried deep in the soul of everyone. When evil, sin and suffering are overwhelming, then
nothing makes sense and God seems far off. With grace and hope, Dr. Langberg shows students
how to navigate these treacherous times when nothing goes right and all seems lost.
COMN 105: Bondage and Spiritual Warfare: Fighting Wickedness in High Places
Ron Hawkins, D.Min., Ed.D.
Sometimes helping others requires believers to engage in war – not the blood-spilling kind, but
spiritual warfare against wicked powers in high, dark places. Dr. Hawkins teaches us the basic
principles of discerning and directing godly powers against the destructive forces of spiritual
COMN 106: Spiritual Disciplines: Taking People Closer to the Heart of God
John Ortberg, Ph.D. and Nancy Ortberg, M.A.
There is great interest today in moving beyond studying and knowing about God to
experiencing God and in living spiritually transformed lives. The way to spiritual fulfillment is
the way of spiritual discipline – disciplines and practices that draw us closer to God. These
disciplines are available to everyone, even ordinary people. The Ortbergs emphasize that
spiritual disciplines are a means to an end. The end is a spirit-filled life of love for and intimacy
with God, and of love and service to others.
Unit Two: Helping Process, Skills, and Working with Tough Cases
COMN 201: Doing Brief, Solution-Focused Counseling for Christ
Gary Oliver, Th.M., Ph.D.
Brief therapy counseling done in three to ten sessions has become the norm in nearly every
field of counseling. Dr. Oliver reveals the process and the key techniques that make up this
model as it applies to Christian counseling and pastoral care.
COMN 202: Creating a Safe Place: Listening, Empathy, and Winning Trust
Sandra Wilson, Ph.D.
Dr. Sandra Wilson provides strategies for creating the ultimate environment of safety and
peace for counseling. Through this video, Dr. Wilson gives scriptural principles for staying
personally connected with God the Father, as well as teaching how to let the Holy Spirit guide
one in counseling. Through the provision of actual counseling scenarios, a person will learn
specific techniques designed to help communicate the heart of God to those being counseled.
COMN 203: New Beginnings: Helping People Make a Fresh Start
Ron Hawkins, D.Min., Ed.D.
Life transitions are common to everyone. In reality, these new beginnings are tough! In this
course, Dr. Ron Hawkins assists caregivers by giving practical guidance in dealing with the
foundational issues of attempting a fresh start. Utilizing a simple formula, this video provides
useful information designed to resolve the many issues surrounding new beginnings.
COMN 204: Change Skills: Goal Setting, Planning, and Taking Action
Sharon Hart May, Ph.D.
When someone walks into the counseling room, the counselor has before him/her the
responsibility of coming alongside that person with the aim of bringing about change. How
does change happen? How does the counselor help the person set goals? How does one make
a treatment plan to reach those goals? What tools or interventions can the counselor use to
help them implement the plans? This lesson will provide a brief overview and map of what to
do from the first counseling session to the last.
COMN 205: Spiritual Freedom: Disarming Strongholds, Changing Habits
Gary Moon, Ph.D.
If Jesus came to turn the world right-side-up, why do so many of his followers continue to live
such up-side-down lives? If Jesus came to plant the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy and peace –
why is it so common for Christians to be burdened by the earth-bound feelings of anger,
depression and anxiety? The Answer: Learning how to all head-over-heels in love with God.
Restoration of the soul – that leads to abundant life in Christ and the emotions of love, joy and
peace – happens as we take the time to cultivate a passionate relationship with God. This
course proposes that spiritual freedom – right-side-up living – is possible, strongholds can be
overcome and habits changed from self-indulgent to holy.
COMN 206: Mental Illness & Character Disorders: How to Recognize and Refer Serious Problems
Archibald Hart, Ph.D
Mental illness is a very important topic that affects counselors, pastors, and all those who work
with people. Research has shown that though the vast majority of violent people do not suffer
from a diagnosable mental illness, there is a small group of people who suffer from mental
illness who are at risk for dangerous actions. In this course, Dr. Archibald Hart will teach
counselors how to be alert and aware of the signs of someone who is dangerous in order to
avert them from violence.
Unit Three: Applications in Mood Change, Medicine, and Addictions
COMN 301: Depression and Mood Disorders: A Clinical Update
Michael Lyles, M.D.
Depression and mood disorders have been around for years. They comprise a medical illness
that affects 16-17% of the U.S. population, is the #1 cause of disability, and is the problem for
which only 40% of people seek help. During this course of study, Dr. Michael Lyles provides an
update on depression and mood disorders, including treatment strategies that can be quite
effective for the many people who are suffering unnecessarily because of them.
COMN 302: Stress and Anxiety: Overcoming Fear, Phobias, and Panic Disorders
Archibald Hart, Ph.D.
Anxiety is pervasive, widespread, affects all ages, and is becoming increasingly common in our
society due to the stress levels people often live under. Through this video, Dr. Archibald Hart
discusses what is considered by many to be the most common problem that counselors deal
with today. Scripture speaks clearly on the subject of anxiety and this often can be a source of
feelings of guilt and judgment for Christians experiencing anxiety. Focusing on Philippians 4:6,
Dr. Hart teaches practical methods to counselors regarding dealing with the many people
suffering from fear and anxiety.
COMN 303: Freedom in Christ: Hope for the Addict, the Brokenhearted & the Evil-Minded
Neil Anderson, D.Min.
The influence of secular psychology in the Christian community has caused many conservatives
to question the contribution that psychology has and can make to Christian counseling. Though
conservative theologians have never come to perfect agreement over the basic nature of
humanity, the creation account states that humanity is made in the image of God and consists
of natural and spiritual elements. In addition to discussing this hotly debated topic, Dr. Neil
Anderson also gives helpful information relating to mental strongholds, cognitive therapy,
stress and anxiety, and temptation.
COMN 304: Helping Others with Alcohol, Substance Abuse, and Addiction Problems
David Stoop, Ph.D.
The topic of alcohol and addiction problems is a very important one because it is common not
only to the culture, but it is very much at work in the church as well. Alcoholism and other
addictions are costing the United States roughly $170 billion each year in health care, welfare,
unemployment, lost productivity, crime and violence due to these addictions. Through this
video Dr. David Stoop will discuss the importance of family and church support in the recovery
from and preventing of substance abuse.
COMN 305: Overcoming Gambling, Spending, and Credit Abuse
Gregory Jantz, Ph.D.
For some, gambling is a neutral, recreational activity. For others, gambling can become a
compulsive, destructive behavior that adversely affects family, social, and work relationships.
Where is the line between recreation and compulsion where gambling behaviors are
concerned? How can those caught in the throes of a gambling compulsion be helped? This
course is designed to provide insight into the progressive nature of compulsive gambling, the
types of individuals at risk, and point out effective ways to divert a gambler from a path of
COMN 306: Emotional Eating: The Truth about Dieting and Weight Control
Dwight Bain, M.A.
Recent studies show that the majority of Americans are clinically obese. Sadly, this is common
in the helping professions as well, with many practitioners being seriously overweight. The
impact of the therapeutic message is lessened when the helpers do not have control of this
most basic area of life. The presenter will share his success story of recovery with compulsive
over-eating, and the strategies he was taught in 1994 to lose 68 pounds over eight months. A
strong clinical model will be shown to help anyone that struggles personally, or treats clients
with eating issues.
Unit Four: Applications in Crisis Care and Relationships
COMN 401: Eating Disorders: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Referral with Anorexia and Bulimia
Kari Wolfe, M.A.
Eating disorders are a life or death issue. In this course, students will learn about the different
types of eating disorders, recognize the warning signs of an eating disorder, and know when to
refer to a specialist for treatment and hope. Kari Wolfe addresses five biblical factors in the
development of eating disorders and shares some practical advice on how to prevent them
from developing into life-threatening behaviors.
COMN 402: Complicated Grief and Mourning & Crisis and Trauma
Freda Crews, D.Min., Ph.D. & Jennifer Cisney, M.A.
The treatment and intervention for complicated grief overlaps the strategies that are effective
in dealing with crisis and trauma. In this video, Freda Crews and Jennifer Cisney conduct an
intriguing conversational interview about their experiences with both issues. Students will
learn how to recognize the symptoms and causes of grief and trauma, as well as how and when
to intervene with help and hope.
COMN 403: Helping Distressed Couples: Anger, Conflict, and Disaffection in Marriage
Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
Marriages are under the attack of common, everyday pressures. Left alone, these small attacks
lead to distancing and the dangerous cycle of disaffection, which often results in divorce. Many
marriages could be reconciled if the marriage partners would simply learn how to communicate
and handle anger effectively. Dr. Tim Clinton shares a biblical model of expressing angry
feelings and communicating for positive results that will help counselors as they seek to help
others restore their marriage relationships.
COMN 404: Families in Crisis: Hopeless Parents and Angry/Defiant Children
Tim Clinton, Ed.D. & Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.
Ten percent of children are reacting to their parents and authorities with anger and defiance.
Many parents are frustrated from trying everything but finding nothing that really works to
correct their child’s behavior. In this course, Dr. Clinton and Dr. Sibcy explain why children
react with anger and defiance and what can be done to change their hearts and ultimately,
their behaviors. They discuss why so many discipline strategies are ineffective and share
several relationship strategies that work.
COMN 405: Aging and Elderly Parents: Health Problems, Dementias, & Disabilities
Kathie Erwin, Ph.D.
Aging adults move from leadership to dependency in the family system. Adult children,
appropriately called “the Sandwich Generation,” seek a balance between parenting their
children and parenting their parents. Add to the mix frailty, chronic pain, long-term illness, or
dementia and the role changes necessary to adapt to these life transitions shake the
relationships and spiritual foundations of families. Learn how counselors, pastors and lay
ministers can help elder adults and their families improve the quality of life as life expectancy
COMN 406: Blended Families: Helping Yours, Mine, and Ours Become a Family
Ron Deal, M.A.
Stepfamilies are unique families with special obstacles and stressors. Providing care and
encouragement requires a basic understanding of unique stepfamily dynamics, as well as
interventions that bring stability to the family over time. This lesson presents a rationale for
stepfamily ministry, provides a conceptual overview of stepfamily development, and describes
key stressors and interventions to help stepfamilies overcome them.
Unit Five: The Ethics of Care and Helping Ministry in the Church
COMN 501: Chronically Troubled Relationships: Everybody Has at Least One
Linda Mintle, Ph.D.
Because counselors will encounter a variety of counselees, this course is designed to help
counselors deal more effectively with what one might call “difficult” people. This lesson will
focus on a sub-group of people sometimes referred to as those with personality disorders or
traits. These people usually have ingrained patterns of behavior or traits in their thinking,
behaving, feeling, or perceiving that make them more susceptible to relationship problems,
conflicts, and hot emotions. Five common groups of difficult people will be discussed.
COMN 502: Developing an Effective Lay Helping and Supervision Ministry
Siang-Yang Tan, Ph.D.
This lesson will cover guidelines for developing and establishing an effective lay helping
ministry, especially in a church or ministry-based setting. Two major models are addressed:
informal-organized and formal-organized. The selection, training, supervision, and evaluation
of lay helpers or lay counselors, and the role of the mental health professional in lay helping,
will also be described and discussed.
COMN 503: Dynamic Small Groups and Spiritual Care Teams in Church-based Counseling
Stephen Greggo, Psy.D.
A church community is to operate like an organic “body” with each component part actively
making a contribution to the whole. Counselors can help clients find hope in a created, yet very
real, person-to-person group encounter that paves the way for ongoing involvement in genuine
Christian community. Soul care involves nurturing and healing, both of which can be
accomplished in small pastoral care groups, which, at the same time, facilitate the discipleship
COMN 504: Preventing Compassion Fatigue: Self-Care for Caregivers
Eric Scalise, Ph.D.
Caregivers are not exempt from stress. In fact, many caregivers take on the pain and stress of their clients, in addition to their own stress, resulting in what has become known as compassion fatigue or burnout. If caregivers are going to be effective in helping others, they must first understand how to properly manage their own stress. This course shares several effective selfcare strategies that can help caregivers appropriately compartmentalize stress in order to sustain healthy, long-term ministries.
COMN 505: Boundaries and Violations I: Confidentiality, Consultation, & Referral
David Carder, M.A.
The last two decades have seen an astonishing growth in paraprofessional support systems.
Some of the fastest growing practices in that cluster are the one-on-one personal counseling
programs. Even here, though, the style and structure is varied. However, all of these share
some form of our topic: confidentiality within the private appointment, consultation with
outside resources, and the need for referrals when the initial caregiver recognizes the issues are
beyond his or her capabilities and time commitments.
COMN 506: Boundaries and Violations II: Dealing with Seductive, Suicidal, and Dangerous People
George Ohlschlager, MSW, J.D.
This lesson is designed to help caregivers and counselors establish appropriate ethical
boundaries in dealing with seductive, suicidal, and dangerous people. Dr. Ohlschlager discusses
how to identify dangerous people and implement effective intervention strategies in order to
maintain integrity and trust in your helping relationships.