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4 MAT Book Review Essay


In Dr. H. Norman Wrights book “The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling: What to Do and Say when it Matters Most”, which was published in 2011 focuses on how to counsel those in a crisis situation. The book begins by Dr. Wright discussing his personal life story of dealing with loss, crisis, and trauma. His story is the foundation of the subject in how to counsel someone and knowing when to refer a person to someone with more experience. The book aims at helping those who are experiencing life’s daily struggles with biblical principles and to encourage the individual to persevere through the hard times.

Dr. Wright’s strongest point in the reading is stating the ability to be a good counselor is to hold his or her tongue. He expresses the need of talking more than 25 percent of the time, you’re talking too much. Listening is a key component when communicating with others. Listening means your focusing and understanding the feelings of the person expressing their feelings. Dr. Wright discusses when you allow your mind to be busy, you’re not concentrating on what is being said. A good counselor will listen openly with their eyes, body and showing there empathy towards the crisis or trauma.

The book then unfolds on demonstrating a strong understanding of the individual’s feelings and emotions. He empathizes that counselors should be aware of themselves before counseling others on any situation. Since Dr. Wright uses biblical passages as examples in ministering others, he recommends that ministers use Jesus as an example on treating a crisis or trauma victim. He teaches to ministers that once the advice is given, it cannot be taken back. The individual is going through a traumatic event and if the words aren’t chosen correctly, it could have a drastic impact on their life. Counseling those in need require one to provide the individual with unconditional love and hope. Showing compassion towards the individual gives them strength to get through their past trauma or crisis.

The book reminds counselors that a crisis can occur at any given moment in their client’s life. Dr. Wright acknowledges that ministers and other church personal will work with the same client plenty of times. Those in crisis situations can be in a devastating circumstances such as being diagnosed with cancer; which can reoccur and develop as time passes by. Another key component in the reading is the Crisis of Suicide. Ministering those who wish to commit suicide can be difficult. As these individuals need intervention right away because their life is at stake. Dr. Wright focuses on taking the initial help to keep the person alive and to help them gain insight on how he or she came to this current place. Ministering a suicidal individual is to simply be as much help as possible but to remember this person’s life is not on your shoulders (Wright, 2011).

Dr. Wright focuses on the deaths one will encounter and how to deal with the loss of a loved one, friend or pet. He lets the reader know that deaths can be predictable, and eve expected but to know you will encounter one situation. Dr. Wrights tells when ministering the person in crisis, that you have to help the individual sort out his or her issues. Working with someone through the process of grieving takes the appropriate time to be addressed. He states how children cope through their losses in childhood, can potentially impact their lives as adults (Wright, 2011). Children experiencing a crisis need counseling immediately because they can become emotionally impaired. Overall Dr. Wright’s book is providing the best advice to minsters, counselors and lay counselors. His book is very detailed on providing the best advice to those in any kind of crisis, trauma or loss. It is a must read book!

Concrete Responses

Dr. Wright’s book reminds me of a personal life episode I went through years ago. The chapter that caught my attention was Chapter 14 “The Crisis of Suicide”. It proved to be a story telling chapter for my own personal life. I never in my life imagined that I would go through something traumatic as suicide. I say that because I am a very happy person but sometimes even the happiest person is also hurting on the inside. I remember the day and time when the whole scenario occurred. I was home alone and very distraught with where my life was headed. I was in a mentally draining relationship and I felt absolutely low of myself. This was rare for me because I am a very outgoing individual, who barely cares about what others think about me. I was feeling excessively lonely, angry, tired, misused and drained from my current situation. It was like I felt all these emotions at once but nothing I would do could ease the pain.

Suicide played in my mind all the time in this difficult period. Death seem so much easier to deal with but I was terribly wrong. I remember talking to my father before he passed and told him my intentions of not wanting to live anymore. My dad was very hurt by my words but at that moment I didn’t really care what others thought. I recall when he sat me down and asked me why I would want to end my life at such a young age. My mind wasn’t mentally prepared for that question because all I could think about was not being here anymore. I never gave him the answers, I just wanted to end the hurt and pain. I couldn’t tell him I wanted to kill myself over a boyfriend. He would have looked at me in such a daze and probably would have been confused by my actions.

My father never really liked my boyfriend from the beginning so to lose his daughter over him would be heartbreaking. In the reading, Dr. Wright states that a person who wants to commit suicide sees it as their only solution and that those around should help the individual to discover other solutions (Wright, 2011). As I begin to think back on this encounter, I never had another solution to help me with my problems. Dr. Wright focuses on how suicide hides behind many faces. This is beyond true because you can never judge a book by its cover. Even the happiest individuals are suffering. Depression is a key factor when it comes to suicide.

As I went through my daily schedule, I pretended to be just fine but I wasn’t. If I never had that conversation with my father, I probably would have ended my own life. It’s amazing how life works because it made me think should I end my life over a boy? Are my issues that severe that I want to die? Dr. Wright explains how suicide is waiting to happen and that you don’t recognize it because the individual has repress their depressive symptoms into rage (Wright, 2011). I enjoyed reading about how to deal with the crisis of suicide because everything he stated, I replayed in my mind and gained insight on how far I have come.


Dr. Wright’s book showed me how to handle any crisis situation. His book discussed a variety of crisis situations and how you can approach the individual in need. It is not easy to minster or counsel someone, so to have read Dr. Wright’s book gave me great insight for my future. I strongly agreed on his discussion about listening and being quiet while the individual is speaking. This is imperative because you can’t fully understand the person speaking if your consuming thoughts while their talking. This area is something I am working on because although I don’t mean to do it I find myself brainstorming as the individual is speaking. As I read on, Dr. Wright states how you are not really listening to person who is speaking. As I began to read, certain questions came across my mind. I asked myself, “What would information would I like to further on”? I started with this question because after reading, I realized I grew attached with counseling children and adolescents. Children go through numerous amounts of grief and trauma.

Since they are continuing to grow, they hold onto their grief differently than adults. I would have liked to see how the crisis of suicide intertwines with children. As suicide is continuing to grow in the United States. I would have liked to seen more on the younger age to counsel them. Counseling children is very complex but when you include suicide, I would of liked to seen how to counsel children when there contemplating suicide. Teenagers are committing suicide more often now due to social media and bullying. Not all teens will speak of suicide but for the ones who do, I would like to see how to discuss this topic with them. In the reading it did discuss how to help a suicidal individual but I feel like working with a child or adolescent should be communicated differently. What challenged me in this content was reading chapter 10, “When Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds”.

This chapter speaks volumes for my own life because we all go through something. I often wonder how I can assist someone if I don’t heal my own wounds. This chapter opened my eyes as to what trauma really is and how it has affected my own personal life. I agree strongly with Dr. Wright on how it affects who we are. Another limitation that I would have liked to have seen is how to deal with confrontation in a biblical perspective. Dr. Wright discusses using empathy and other skill behaviors related to the word of God but what about when confrontation individual in helping them make better choices. I think it’s important to know how to confront clients and being able to determine the correct time for a confrontation.


The most crucial element after reading this amazing book is learning to incorporate this material into your daily life. Helping others in difficult times is my greatest mission in life. I am committed to helping those entering any crisis stage of their life. It is important to be able to comprehend visually and to be helpful to those in any crisis state of mind. I love how Dr. Wright uses biblical passages and verses within his counseling skills. This is a great way to help minister your clients effectively. I learned that when ministering it is vital to remember the root in the work of serving others, God’s word. The compassion in helping those is the greatest ability one can have. A key area I want to work on is ministering to children. Children need all the tender love and care when there is a loss, crisis or trauma situation. It can be a scary point, and I want to take the words from Dr. Wright to assist them effectively. Talking to children is completely different then talking to an adult.

Children perceive information differently than adults do. They grieve in a different manner as well. Dr. Wright taught me it is critical to communicate with a child because it helps to solve many issues. This will be excellent for my personal growth in aiding those children who need help. Children have a harder time but so do adolescents. When adolescents transition into a teenager this can be tough when a loss has occurs. I believe dealing with adolescents is tougher then young children because not many teenagers want to converse with you. There more hesitant and indirect with their responses. This book influence my personal growth with teenagers as well because teenagers are reluctant to talk to a counselor or minister. When it comes to my life, I plan to make initial changes.

I want to communicate effectively when counseling those in a crisis or trauma need. Dr. Wright’s book taught me to listen so I can understand what the individual is saying to me. I want to take the time to learn who I am so I can help those suffering. My task is to help others, and I want the individual seeking help to believe I can encourage them to change and have faith in them. One thing I tend to do is be afraid. Mark 5:36 tell us to not be afraid just believe. I believe I can make the initial improvements in my words and how I speak to those in need to give them a proper perspective. I plan to be quiet and clear my thoughts when someone is telling me their problem. Listening means that I am trying to understand the feelings of the other person speaking (Wright, 2011).

As I continue to read, I am influenced by his biblical passages integrated into his concepts. I am a genuine person but sometimes I don’t know how to speak to those when there grieving. It’s kind of weird because I love helping others but sometimes I am at lost for words. I want to continue to work on when saying the right words in a right manner. When an individual is in a crisis, the way one speaks sets the tone on how the person takes the information. I just want to continue to lead people to Christ and help those suffering with grief in their life. By making changings in my life through Dr. Wright’s book, I can integrate the Word of God and assist individuals in having a healthy life. It is vital to make the person feel safe and build trust.

Wright, H. Norman (2011). The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling: What to Do and Say When It Matters Most! (p. 251). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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