The first step I feel in counseling people who are suffering is to let them share their story and to empathize with them. If I have experienced something similar to their suffering, I may share with them briefly my experience at a high level. But then I would quickly put the focus back on the client. Should the client be Christian, I would be inclined to offer some Bible verses such as those in James Chapter one or 1st Peter Chapter one to give the client a Biblical perspective on suffering. As Nouwen states it is often through suffering that we become more intimate with God (1975). I do not believe the goal of counseling is to remove all suffering. Instead, it is to console, comfort, and provide hope for the client that he or she will be able to make it through this season of life. As the counselor, I would walk with them insuring that the client knows he or she is not alone. I would also provide methods for coping with the suffering. Only God will determine how much suffering is required for the good of the client.
Nouwen, H. J. M. (1975). Reaching out: The three movements
of the spiritual life. New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, Image Books.