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Thank you to R. B. (Thomas Stack) for writing this counseling page.

Basics of Counseling

Ask Questions

Who? What? When? Where? How?

But rarely, if ever, ask why. The client will talk to you to find the answer to the why question. Why will be discovered by using the previous 5 questions.

Use Active Listening

Hear the words said, see and comment on emotions expressed/projected. Watch body language and facial expressions. All of this will help you fully hear the client.

Work from the general to the specific:

Never assume! Listen to the general issue and begin to work through each specific aspect. Example: Who are “they”? What did they say exactly? Who did what, when, where, and how?

Make overt what is covert

Find out underlying beliefs, relational boundary issues, and unspoken rules or systems. Anything that seems to be hidden bring to where it can be spoken of and discussed.

Don’t do for the client what the client can do for himself:

Always make the client responsible for his/her actions. When faced with difficult choices or actions, help by listing options, but always make the client choose, and never make the choice, do the action or carry the message for them.

Always explore the resistance

If a client refuses to discuss an issue or explain in more detail, this is called resistance. Allow the client to resist, and explore their resistance. For example, ask: What would it be like for you to talk about this issue? What will happen if you talk about this issue? What feelings do you have when asked to talk about this issue?

Work from behavior to emotional content

There are two major areas in communication and both need to be discussed for a client to know they have been listened to: 1.What they think/what they did about this issue. 2.What they feel about this issue.

Always allow, and encourage the client to fully express what they think and how they feel. Do not leave either out or the client will go away feeling only half listened to.

Work in the here and now

Always begin with the current issue. When past events come to the surface always deal with them in the here and now. For example, say: I can not bring back your friend. If you had the chance what would you like to say to your dead friend here and now?

The Basic Emotions

The basic emotion can be simply memorized by “Mad (angry), Bad (guilty), Glad (happy), Sad (sad)”.

A longer list of primary emotions may be helpful for counselors to know.

Pleasant emotions

Worth/Self-acceptance Joy Peace Pleasure Love/Selflessness

Unpleasant emotions

Sadness Hopelessness/Despair Helplessness Loneliness/Rejection Worthlessness Guilt/Shame Anger Jealousy/Envy

Defensive emotions

Resentment/Hate (Can mask other emotions like hurt, fear, helplessness, and worthlessness)

At the bottom of the page in italics print: Thank you to R. Bowman (Thomas T. Stack) for providing the above information for our counseling page.

Duties of a Counselor


This is, of course, the primary duty of a counselor. In the world of Federation Space, most characters don’t have time to see a counselor, so out of game subplots should be planned for a character to have a counseling session. A counselor should always be looking for a reason that a character would need counseling so that they have something to talk to the character about. When counseling, use the Basics of Counseling as a guideline.

Crew Evaluations

The mental health of the crew is quite important. It is the responsibility of the counselor to work with the First Officer on crew evaluations because if an officer isn’t mentally ready for a promotion or a change in position, the First Officer needs to know. This is a good change to do a subplot in game if both the counselor and the first officer are not busy with the main plot or other subplots.

Bridge Duty and Away Teams

The counselor’s presence may be required on the Bridge or on an away team for many reasons. During a conflict or a first contact, the counselor is vital because of his or her ability to read body language. If the counselor is telepathic or empathic, they can of course read the emotions of the people the crew are in contact with and this can also be very important. Interpreting the actions of an attacking race or a new race can change the way events turn out.


Because of the counselor’s close contact with the mental health of the crew, he or she is responsible for working with the command staff to ensure that the crew’s morale is kept alive. This could mean anything from throwing a party to ensuring that individual crew members are finding activities besides work to do when they are off duty. A counselor can spend time wandering the ship observing the crew in order to determine morale levels. But remember, a counselor’s mental health is also important so they need to spend time off duty as well.


A counselor can act as a mediator when a conflict is involved. Examples of conflicts that would need a mediator are:

  • Marital problems between officers
  • Working relationship problems between officers
  • Conflicts between two races or two opposing groups of one race

CO and FO Support

The commanding officer and first officer of a vessel have the most stressful jobs of all the officers on the ship. The counselor should especially watch out for the well-being of the command staff. A counselor would also advise the commanding officer and first officer during missions if asked to do so.