Relational Red Flags

You’ve got to have some accountability and some boundaries set up in your counseling relationships. Here are some practical things you can do to start that process…

Setting boundaries is an important part of establishing an accountability system and heading off improprieties in counseling relationships. Even you as the counselor need to keep a close watch on maintaining the boundaries, as inappropriate feelings can affect both parties. Watch for the following warning signs:

An increase in personal conversations

Inappropriate physical contact

Fantasies about a sexual relationship with the counselee

Offers to drive counselee home

Meetings outside of the normal counseling session time

Hiding feelings and/or meetings with the counselee from accountability systems, including your spouse

(Via Church Executive.)

QUESTION: What guidelines do YOU have in place for counseling at your church? Have you ever come close to crossing the line?


One Comments

  • Rob July 2, 2013 Reply

    Yes to all, and here are several more:
    1. Meetings “off the books,” not on any official schedule or setting.
    2. Meetings behind windowless, closed doors without a chaperone.
    3. Private phone conversations.
    4. If the counselee starts communicating personal, sexual information (i.e. “I’m on the pill, but only to help my complexion.”)
    5. Lingering, full-frontal hugs.
    6. Obvious, focused attention at church events, to the exclusion of other people.
    7. Counselee immediately, frequently volunteers to help the counselor and/or his/her family.
    8. Counselee wants to come by to “drop off some cookies — and to talk for a few minutes.”

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