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Chapter VII Counselling Service Members
Personnelman 3 & 2 - Military manual for government personnel administration
Figure 8-2.—Personnelman second class assisting a customer in a quiet and private space
sessions will be over a variety of areas for which you will be responsible. Some of these areas are covered in this  chapter  and,  to  an  extent,  throughout  this  training manual  (TRAMAN).  As  a  PN3  or  PN2,  you  will continuously  be  gaining  knowledge  and  experience  in counseling  personnel.  The  knowledge  and  experience you gain today will help you tomorrow as you advance in the Navy. Do  you  remember  the  very  first  time  you  were instructed  to  check  in  or  check  out  some  of  your shipmates? Do you also remember the first time you started working in the personnel office and you began answering your shipmates’ inquiries? (Perhaps you do not remember!) It was during these times you started to gain experience on how to counsel service members. How  did  this  happen?  Well,  at  the  time  you  were assisting these people, you took the time to help them. You made sure all their questions were answered to the best of your ability. By showing care and concern to your  shipmates,  you  started  acquiring  the  skills necessary  for  effective  counseling. No  doubt  your  supervisors  have  explained  the importance of treating all individuals with dignity and respect. (You read about this at the beginning of this TRAMAN.) It is because of your supervisors’ guidance and  your  willingness  to  help  others  that  you  are continuing  to  develop  your  skills  and  becoming  a  better PN. It takes time to gain the skills necessary to be a successful  counselor.  You  do  not  learn  these  skills overnight. The more you counsel people, the more you will learn how to recognize areas in which you will need to  improve.   What  areas  are  these?  Well,  these  areas could include (but may not be limited to) your attitude, your  concern  for  others,  your  attention  to  detail,  your professional competence, your understanding of the needs of each individual you counsel, your choice of location  for  the  counseling  sessions,  your  skill  in planning  the  interview,  the  need  to  protect  the individual’s  privacy,  and  so  forth.  In  the  following paragraphs,  you  will  read  about  some  counseling methods and techniques. You will also learn about the different  phases  of  an  interview. COUNSELING METHODS AND TECHNIQUES The  following  information  will  help  you  with counseling  sessions  and  help  you  become  more  aware of some things you can do to help your shipmates. Be aware that the use of these techniques will depend on 8-2 your particular circumstances and may not always be feasible or practical. Nevertheless, you should be aware of these techniques and use them whenever possible. Office  Space Depending  on  an  individual’s  problems,  you  should choose an office or area away from excessive traffic and noise. The office for a counseling session should be easily accessible. A quiet and private space provides a better opportunity for concentration as well as a relaxed atmosphere  for  both  you  and  the  person  you  are counseling. Refer to figure 8-2 which shows a PN2 assisting  a  customer  concerning  a  service  record discrepancy in a quiet and private spare. In a relaxed atmosphere such as the one shown in figure 8-2, a member will feel more at case. Planning for the Interview Knowing  in  advance  what  the  counseling  session will be about allows you to become familiar with the applicable  references  concerning  the  nature  of  the individual’s request. Remember, it is better to know in advance what an individual will need before he or she comes to the counseling area for the interview. This keeps  you  and  the  other  person  from  wasting  time.  If you do not know about the member’s needs in advance, just be prepared to do the necessary research after the member  arrives  for  the  interview. Scheduling the Interview If possible, you should provide the member with an appointment.  This  keeps  the  member  from  having  to wait a long time before being served. Remember, this person also has other things to do. An individual who has to wait too long for service will hardly be in the mood for a relaxed interview. You should also make sure you allow yourself enough time to conduct the interview  or  counseling  session  appropriately. Conducting the Interview Always greet the member being interviewed or counseled by his or her rate and name. For example, “Good morning, Seaman Jones.” You should always greet individuals in a friendly, courteous, and respectful manner. Once you begin the interview, you should not be interrupted by your co-workers. Make sure your co-workers and your supervisor know where you are and what you are doing. Spend the necessary time with

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