Lesson 13 ~ Traps to Avoid ~ Essay
Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Develop a plan of self-awareness and write it out. How will you/do you avoid the traps common to the chaplain ministry? Every person in the professional community has to be clearly mindful of sinister traps which may lay in wait, whether it be in a doctor's office, a school guidance counselor's office, a gym teachers office or within our private office when counseling or discussing matters with not only the opposite sex but now days even the same sex. If there is any reservation in your mind be on the defensive. You never know what evil may be festering in your visitor's mind. In our profession it is very wise to be aware of these situations which may arise. When I visit a female in the hospital, I always have or request a female to accompany me to the patient's room and stay with me until I can get a good feel of the mindset of the person I am visiting and if I am requested to have a private conversation regarding sins, etc. I will ask the employee to remain outside the patient's room, with the door open. This helps to deter any ill thoughts the female patient may have. If I am counseling persons of the opposite sex especially if it is a younger teenager….during the initial phone interview I ask the teen if she would mind a parent or guardian being with us…if she says yes, this should throw up a red flag and immediately put you on your defensive side. You should then ask if she would mind if your administrative secretary or another female of your choice be present (everyone in the churches employment or volunteers are sworn to confidentiality). This also deters ill thoughts. If the meeting/counseling is male to male….usually this doesn't create a problem. However, with the frequency of clergy being falsely accused of misconduct I have instituted that the office door remain open and I assure the visitor everything regarding our meeting will be kept confidential. For new clergy I would suggest that all meetings be "open door" until they feel comfortable with their meetings. It is a must that we as professionals hold ourselves to the highest of moral standings and keep our personal lives personal and professional lives completely professional. Just be careful!!