Sanders, Christian Counseling Ethics


Randolph K. Sanders, Christian Counseling Ethics: A Handbook for Therapists, Pastors and Counselors. IVP Academic, 1997.

Referenced in: Summary

While certified counselors are trained in professional ethics, most ministers have one or two courses in counseling, with ethics only a portion of those classes. This is unfortunate for many reasons, as ministers have more opportunities to help than most therapists because of the historic “priest-parishioner” tradition that allows help in both structured and unstructured contexts. A minister may counsel during a scheduled office appointment or while sitting alone with a person in a crowded room at a fellowship meal. The unique dynamics of pastoral counseling require special ethical deliberations, thus the value of this text.

Many of Sanders’ insights will also be found in standard ministerial ethics manuals such as Trull and Carter’s Ministerial Ethics, but Sander’s special contribution is the expanded focus on counseling. He discusses issues such as confidentiality, informed consent to treatment, documentation, ending treatment, dual relationships, referrals, boundary issues (especially important for ministers), marital and premarital counseling, counseling homosexuals, counseling children, cult deprogramming, and lay counselor training. The appendix is also helpful, introducing ministers to some of the standard ethical codes from organizations such as American Psychological Association, American Association of Professional Counselors, and American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

From the Publisher

State and federal codes, professional association statements and denominational guidelines have been drawn up to address ethical issues in mental health work. In this book you’ll find key professional guidelines compiled in the light of the Christian faith.

About the Author

Randolph K. Sanders, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in New Braunfels, Texas. He is also executive director of CAPS, the Christian Association for Psychological Studies.

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