Understanding People


This course is designed to equip people with the knowledge, skills and self-awareness necessary to be an effective counselor/mentor, but we also believe the course will be greatly beneficial for anyone wishing to grow in their own self-understanding. It is designed to be a dynamic balance between the head and the heart as we grapple with the challenge of bringing together theology and psychology in a way that is relevant to helping hurting people in our fallen world. This course is the first part of our Respero Counselor Training Curriculum. It is an 8 week online group experience with audio lessons, homework assignments with instructor feedback and a weekly video conference with your cohort and instructor.

New cohort starting in the fall. It will meet every Wednesday for 8 weeks.


01 Introduction, Core Beliefs and Perspectives
02 Understanding Human Nature
03 Understanding Human Brokenness
04 How Wrong Beliefs and Wrong Strategies Develop
05 Family Systems
06 A Picture of Human Flourishing
07 The Dynamics of Change
08 Understanding Forgiveness


When you enroll in this course you receive access to download the Orientation Video, audio lessons, teaching outlines with prompts for personal reflection and application and further resources. To have the best learning experience we recommend that you listen to each audio lesson 3 times. Listen first time through, take notes the second, and answer the questions on the third.



“I am just finishing up the Understanding People course and the experience has been profound. The audio lessons were well produced and the content was exactly what I’ve been needing to process through. Getting feedback about the homework assignments from Joe was encouraging and being able to meet each week with a cohort of other people wrestling with the content makes you realize you’re not alone. I would recommend for anyone who wants to learn and grow in their own understanding of themselves and potentially help other people do the same.” Katie from Santa Cruz, CA

“Joe, your material was so well put together. Obviously thoughtfully and meticulously prepared. I really appreciated the outline to follow and add my own additional notes to and the suggestion of listening to your material several times. The weeks that I made time to listen several times benefited me a great deal. You are very easy to follow and your additional resources and quotes from others made the material so rich. Your lessons were just the right amount of time as well. The early lessons on identity and who we are in Christ struck me because they are so foundational and they are what we continually need to come back to for ourselves and what we need to bring to those with whom we are working.” Pam from Commerce, MI


Counseling Skills & Practicum

Get an in-depth look at the most important skills required for effective counseling. Observe live counseling sessions and practice your skills.

Understanding our Struggles

Get to the source of the most common human struggles, and learn how to bring wisdom, healing, and practical help for each of them. Package includes all topical lessons pertaining to common struggles.

Understanding Relationships

Understand what makes relationships strong and great, and what destroys them. Grow in your ability to love and enjoy the important people in your life.

“I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” - Brene Brown

“We must learn that the world is a place of abundance, not scarcity. The mantra of “not enough” becomes a kind of default setting for our thinking about everything, from the cash in our pocket to the people we love or the value of our own lives. It becomes the reason we can’t have what we want or be who we want to be. But it’s not true!” - Lynn Twist

“Redemption does not mean that God meets our needs and then our souls stop longing. No, redemption does not eradicate desperation. Instead, redemption allows us to surrender. And God doesn't want something from us. He wants us.” - Sharon Hersh

“We should not ask to do great things for God, but to do small things with great love.” - Mother Theresa
“Do you know what it’s like to be rested? Truly rested? This is what I’m finding, every day, every hour: there is a way of living that is so sweet, so full, so whole and beautiful you’ll never want to go back once you’ve tasted it.” - Shauna Niequist
“Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.” - Brene Brown
“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” - Brene Brown
“We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.” - Brene Brown
"We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions." - Brene Brown
“Our world desperately needs wise, skillful practitioners of the cure of souls.” - Dallas Willard
“A shepherd counselor is not a doctor whose primary task is to take away pain…the main task of the shepherd counselor is to prevent people from suffering for the wrong reasons.” - Henri Nouwen
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” - Philo
“The deepest convictions of our heart are formed by stories and reside there in the images and emotions of story…..Life is not a list of propositions, it is a series of dramatic scenes.” - Brent Curtis
“Here is something very simple about relationships….Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them.” - Donald Miller
“Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity, and power is a false identity—an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: ‘You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.’ “ - Henri Nouwen
“When we accept our complete belovedness, we stop judging ourselves and other people; as a result, other people begin to feel safe with us.” - Henri Nouwen
“Human beings who give themselves to relational greatness—who have friends they laugh with, cry with, learn with, fight with, dance with, live and love and grow old and die with—these are the human beings who lead magnificent lives.” - John Ortberg
“The litmus test of spirituality is not the absence of conflict; conflict will not disappear until we die. The litmus test is how we handle it. Conflict is inevitable; resentment is not.” - John Ortberg
“There are few joys in life like being wanted, chosen, embraced. There are few pains like being excluded, rejected, left out. At the core of of Christian community is the choice between exclusion and embrace.” - Miroslav Wolf



Respero Ministries
P.O. Box 11224
Portland, OR 97211-0224


[email protected]


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