Chapter 12 - Counseling

This competency enables the learner to:

About Counseling

Counseling is a private talk with someone that helps the individual with a personal problem.

As a leader, people will come to you with problems. Because you are a leader, you will spot people with problems. You can't turn them away or just let them suffer, because the ignored problem, if serious, will almost inevitably become a group problem.

Counseling is considered pretty difficult. Professional counselors, like lawyers, bankers, clergymen, vocational counselors, teachers, psychiatrists and others, sometimes spend years learning how to counsel in their fields. People often pay large amounts of money to be counseled.

Why Counseling

Why should leaders learn to counsel? Why should a patrol leader, for instance, need to know how to counsel? Why is it considered one of the competencies a leader ought to know?

Because everyone has challenges or problems from time to time. Because as an effective leader, individuals will grow to respect you. They will seek you out and ask for counsel from you.

Giving First-Aid

"Counseling" is sometimes just another word for "listening." When troubled, many times it helps the individual to just talk it out, to voice their concerns and express what's troubling them. Just having their worries or problems heard by another gives the person a sense that his or her problems are legitimate, thus perhaps increasing their self-esteem and their feelings of adequacy in handling the situation.

You may or may not need to respond with anything more than reflective listening (as described in Chapter 8 - "Getting and Giving Information").

Usually the challenge or problem isn't big enough to require professional help, but if the problem cuts into the effectiveness of a group member and then you have a problem. You might use counseling to help a group member resolve the problem if it isn't too big.

In any case, you should not even try to help someone with personal problems that cannot be resolved in a ten or fifteen minute conversation. The type of counseling described here is best called "first aid" counseling. If the problem is at all serious, you're just going to put a band-aid on the wound until professional help arrives.

Suggest to the individual they seek the counsel of more knowledgeable individuals--another leader you or the individual respects, their parent, minister, priesthood leader, or another individual they respect.

We counsel people to:

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