The Army wants its soldiers to be in the best of their health, both physically and mentally. A soldier’s mental state is just as important as his physical training, which is why counseling is incorporated into the arms program.
To further ensure that soldiers are ready for war, an army counseling form is prepared and completed by every soldier so they can undergo the necessary mental conditioning for combat.
What is the army counseling form?
The Army Counseling Form or the DA Form 4856 is an essential form that counselors must utilize to help soldiers cope during rough times. This form records all information from counseling sessions from both parties – the counselor and the counseled. This is a must-have for any counseling session in the US Army as well because it allows for accountability in military counseling.
The army counseling process
Identifying the need for counseling
Developmental counseling focuses on helping the subordinate gain skills in the form of one-on-one guidance. It allows an organization to provide developmental services that are specific and measurable. This is done to help them achieve their higher-level professional goals. An employee’s performance can be enhanced through this method.
Preparing for counseling
Successful counseling requires good preparation. A supervisor should start to prepare his subordinates a couple of days before. There are different ways a subordinate can be counseled, but it is important to note that counseling during the day is advised.
Most subordinates like to counsel after hours because they will have more time to organize their thoughts and issues better than amid their duties. But some subordinates might find it challenging to compose everything without getting flustered or rushed. If you give your subordinate ample time and proper notice — this shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Conducting the counseling session
Counseling meetings with your subordinate employees are not just for scheduled appointments or face-to-face meetings. Some counseling needs to be impromptu as well. This sounds difficult, but as a leader, you should always be flexible enough to use the opportunities that happen naturally in your everyday encounters with your subordinates.
One must go beyond counseling and checks on how plans are being implemented. A leader must ensure that their subordinates are working towards achieving the desired results. This follow-up also helps evaluate the process, identify flaws, and rectify errors early on. It also helps to adjust the plan of action if it is not yielding the expected results.
Types of Army Counseling
Army counseling forms have become a large part of the military’s way of addressing deficiencies. Army counseling is not just telling someone that they need to improve in a particular aspect of their duty but also serves as documenting career milestones.
Basically, an army counseling session is used by a leader to address performance issues and set goals for the private to complete. Unfortunately, many soldiers have difficulty articulating what they should do to reach the desired level of performance. This leads many leaders to have to use more than one counseling form per counseling session because the completed form does not give enough detail about what to do (or simply does not cover all the necessary aspects).
There are eight most common types of counseling that require a DA Form 4856 in your professional writing:
Event-oriented counseling is a model of counseling that looks into a particular event where your client fails to perform. This type of counseling is also referred to as problem-focused or situational counseling because it does not tackle problems associated with the issues from the past.
Reception and Integration Counseling
Reception and Integration (R&I) Counseling focuses on educating new soldiers, NCOs, and officers (prospective employees) before their first day on the job. Reception and Integration Counseling gets conducted by the first-line supervisor for new soldiers, NCOs, and Officers who arrive at the unit. It informs soldiers about their professional and personal expectations, the unit’s mission statement, job description, information about the unit they plan to join, etc.
When a soldier gets confronted with a crisis, like a marital affair, divorce, a death in the family, and any other event that may have caused trauma, the supervisor conducts crisis counseling. Such counseling is essential as it helps the members of the organization function better and works in harmony with each other.
Referrals are issued during counseling when a soldier needs some additional support. These referrals could be for a substance abuse program, mental health services, or specialized therapy.
Promotion Counseling is when a soldier receives eligibility or a chance to be promoted to the next higher rank. Promotion is an honor and privilege that soldiers receive after they have served their country for a specified period. The rank of sergeant and higher carry special titles that are usually given to high-ranking officials to indicate their importance in commanding a unit of force.
Adverse Separation Counseling
Adverse Separation Counseling is the process through which a commander or rater must perform if a soldier does something adverse to the Army which causes his separation from military service. There are three steps within this counseling: The Commander or Rater must tell the soldier what he did wrong, what happens next, and the soldier’s rights.
Performance counseling is a type of counseling that covers the soldier’s performance for a given period of time, normally either every month or every quarter. This can be done between the first and ninth months of the year or any quarter. Personnel may also be subject to performance counseling at any moment in time when there is an issue with their performance.
Professional Growth Counseling
There is always an opportunity for professional growth and promotion in the military. To keep your skills sharp and ensure you receive a fair evaluation, you will want to undergo counseling sessions periodically. These sessions are meant to help you set goals and show your superiors that you’re an asset to the team.
Counseling forms are required in the military. These forms ensure that the soldier is aware of any issues and is given a second chance to work on their deficiencies. There are many different types of counseling reports, including recommendations for separations or discharges, entry-level separations, or endorsements for reassignment.