Counseling Techniques for Field Training Officers:

Counseling Techniques for Field Training Officers:

1. Counseling is talking with a person in a way that helps that person solve a problem or helps create conditions that will cause the person to improve his character, behavior, or values.

2. Four Basic Psychological Forces:

a. Attitudes – Consist of beliefs and sentiments about people, things, and ideas.

b. Perceptions – What we see or hear in a particular situation.

c. Emotions – Complex patterns of feelings and behavior.

d. Motivation – The psychological force to act toward a goal.

3. Trainee Reactions to Counseling:

a. General Reactions:

1) Nervousness.

2) Cooperation.

3) Rational disagreement.

4) “Too easy” agreement.

5) Determined to argue.

6) Attempts to shift blame.

7) Loss of temper.

8) Desire to quit.

b. Defensive Reactions – Keep in mind that people will often react in a manner similar to the action taken against them. Most people will react defensively when they feel threatened. Some defensive reactions are:

1) Denial – A common reaction to a mild threat is to deny that the problem even exists.

2) Rationalization – Involves justifying the behavior so as to remove the threat.

3) Displacement – Involves a counterattack directed at those who present no threat.

4) Withdrawal – The threatened person avoids all contact with the source of the threat.

4. Active Listening:

a. Determine the trainee’s problem.

b. Hear his side.

c. Know how he feels.

d. Listen to what he thinks is the solution.

e. To be a better listener, the FTO must adjust his attitude.

f. Guidelines for improved listening:

1) Good eye contact.

2) Sympathetic facial expressions.

3) Interested posture.

4) As a follow-up to listening, restate what they have told you.

5. Use of Criticism in Counseling Trainees:

a. Use with great care.

b. Understand that criticism is a form of discipline.

c. Some factors that may indicate the need to use criticism:

1) Game playing attitude by the trainee.

2) Self-centered and ego driven.

3) Deviation from the standards for unknown reasons.

d. Basic principle of criticizing:

1) Validity – must be related to the issue at hand and there must be a good reason for it.

2) Reasonableness – the punishment/criticism must fit the crime.

3) Clarity – the criticism must be crystal clear.

4) Considerate – it must be tempered with kindness and courtesy and you must consider its effect on the trainee.

6. Directive versus Non-Directive Counseling

a. Directive Counseling – Centers on the counselor who asks questions to determine what will be decided, instructs the person counseled about an assignment, attempts to get agreement, and concludes with what should be done. It is most appropriate when:

1) The FTO’s greater experience and knowledge is necessary to the solution of the problem.

2) Regulations, policy, and procedure dictate a uniform approach.

3) A less direct approach has already been tried and failed.

4) A task has been done very poorly or not at all.

5) The trainee does not agree or resists.

b. Non-Directive Counseling helps the trainee himself determine the problem and choose a course of action. It has two primary purposes:

1) To help the trainee express himself fully and recognize all dimensions of the problem.

2) To help the trainee think through the problem and come up with the best answer.

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