1. Do you have an accountability partner or group and
do you meet with them regularly and honestly? (This is critically important for pastors who do
any serious counseling at all.)
2. Do you leave the office door open
or the window in it uncovered?
3. Do you keep your desk between you
and your counselee? Physical distance between you and the counselee is very
important for her security and comfort, and for enabling you to resist any
improper contact. Close personal proximity is not necessary for healing.
4. Avoid even casual physical contacts. We recommend not
even shaking hands with counselees of the opposite sex. You can make them feel safe, comfortable,
and welcome without physical contact.
5. Ideally, men should counsel with men, women should
counsel with women. This is not always possible. Teaming up with a trusted and professional partner
who can assist the male pastor when meeting female counselees, is a good idea. If the counselee
is unwilling to meet with the pastor along with his designated partner, it may be time to refer.
6. Never assume a self-concept of
sexual invincibility. Given the wrong circumstances, every pastor is vulnerable
to temptation, sin and the abuse of power.