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Preface

by James Shipman, PhD, DD

The urge to help people is laudable. Altruism is one of the marks of true civilization. Without the drive to cooperate, we would still be savages. Yet, in practice, really helping people is seldom easy. Experienced, knowledgeable counselors know the pitfalls. Does the client really want to be helped? Does the counselor have the strength of character to resist being drawn into the client's distress? If the person closest to the problem---the client--- does not know what to do, how can anyone else know enough about the circumstances, know enough about the different modes of treatment, to break through to a solution?

It is all too easy to say that we can draw on the strengths of a Higher Power when our efforts to help are insufficient. But this Power does not talk to us in the same way that a doctor, a lawyer, a minister, or other respected confidant talks to us. We must look within, and without. We can try to find what help we can from the tried and true, from the church and other wholesome social activities; but new means of support may emerge. I personally have found much comfort and deep sharing with people I know only as words on my terminal screen, as I seek the new communities growing on computer networks.

You may find this story somewhat difficult. Try, though, to understand the journey of my good friend Janet Dawson, and you may find it rewarding.



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