Sometimes we learn through books. Sometimes through experiences. Often by both.
Counselors who really understand seem to be the ones whose lives have been laid bare and in the process met Jesus. Why is this key? This Healer was laid bare on hill for all to mock. He understands betrayal, humiliation, and woundedness.
Jesus didn't become a sinner on the cross---remember---but he became sin; the actual yuck of which God insistently rejects. Jesus didn't become a casual violator on the cross; he became our violations. Big difference.
Yet, we are to learn his pattern. His capacity to reach the entire world is due to his sufferings and we are to follow in step....I Pet. 2:21-24. In order to be an effective counselor one will do well to realize the necessity of personal woundedness as well as the Master's healing touch. Some who counsel are ineffective for they are in it because the are wounded.....and angry....but never were healed.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty and sadness and remains far behind yours. Were it not otherwise he would never have been able to find these words.
Wounded healers are valued. Bless others with your healed heart as you quietly understand their stress because of your own deep pain.