Are women better listeners? Talkers? Should a pastor counsel women? Only when he's alone? When she's with someone else? When he invites someone else into the office?
These and many other questions pop up when a woman needs the support and empathy of a counselor. David Powlison and Nancy Guthrie address several of them and suggest some practical steps a pastor can take to remain above reproach. But unless a pastor knows why he's in the room during a counseling session, carrying this vision with care and clarity, no safeguards will suffice. He won't be able to help, and he just might fall into sin.
Powlison and Guthrie also discuss the benefits of several different counseling arrangements besides one-on-one meetings. Rigidity can sometimes undermine the potential for fruitful interactions, Powlison cautions.
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of of Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists, and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He previously worked as an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, co-edited Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, and co-edits the Cultural Renewal series with Tim Keller. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.