Whether the counseling situation is a professional one or an informal one, it is vital to recognize its potential to become sexualized. A degree in a fancy wooden frame, hanging prominently on a wall, does not insulate the expert from slipping their professional and personal conduct. The informal, casual give-and-take of a non-professional situation does not remove any of the components that can contribute to a sexualized relationship. Wisdom in dealing with both is essential.
All of the components that can lead to a sexualized counseling relationship are given by God. We are allowed to partner with him as he works in this world. He is the Father of compassion and caring. His word outlines hierarchies for both family and work situations, firmly establishing the principle of position. None of these elements is intrinsically sinful.
God has given us each other, family, and the church to meet our needs. He encourages us to confess our sins to one another, to go to each other for help and advice in times of crisis. Acknowledging that you need help for a problem is not wrong. Accepting the responsibility of entering into the life and thoughts of someone else to offer advice and counsel is not wrong. Each of these instances, in and of itself, is not sinful.
But in high-voltage counseling situations, we tread a fine line between doing good and doing evil. We may start out desiring to do good and end up simply desiring. Only be acknowledging the danger can we keep from sin. When sin presents itself as temptation to sexual immorality, Scripture says we must flee. Not walk. Not stroll. Not amble out of its path. We are to run, to flee. Sin and sexual desire are powerful forces. When the two are combined, we must flee before we become ensnared.
Often we get into trouble in counseling situations because we either fail to notice the signs of the situation becoming sexualized or we ourselves give off signals of an openness that allow the situation to become sexualized. Consider how you have dealt with situations like these in the past.
- Have you ever south out a counselor? Was this person a professional, or was it someone other than a professional?
- Why did you choose to seek out this person? What did you hope to gain from the relationship?
- Have you ever been sought out for advice and counsel? Are you a professional counselor, therapist, doctor, or attorney?
- Why do you believe you were chosen by the person needing your help? What did they wish to gain?
- Was there a time during the course of the relationship when you felt the attitude of the other person changing?
- Was there a time during the course of the relationship when you felt your attitude toward that person changing?
- Does being in a position of needing someone give you a sense of satisfaction? Is this sense of satisfaction ever sexual?
May the Spirit of God, the Comforter and Counselor, guide you in all of your counseling situations, whether you are a seeker or a provider. May you flee from immorality in all of its forms. May you draw near to God.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 37 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.