RPG Characters and Roles - Counseling - Roles and Positions
What makes a Good Counselor?
Anyone with a desire to closely interact with other personnel and who has the ability to make objective evaluations of a given situation. Personal prejudices have no place in a counselor.
Does a counselor have to be empathic or telepathic?
No. Although Commander Deanna Troi of the USS Enterprise, an empathic half-Betazoid, has made an indelible impression on the corps of counselors following in her footsteps, one must realize that her skill as a psychologist was not based solely on her ability to read emotions.
So while a counselor with extrasensory perception may seem to have a leg up on one who does not, it is not so. The quality of the counselor depends on the counselor's training and dedication to his or her position. And nothing less than a quality counselor is adequate for any ship.
What can I write about?
There are many various roles and positions a counselor can play on a Star Trek ship. The most common role, is that of the ship's psychologist and psychiatrist. This involves:-
- Counseling Individual Crewmen - In the unlikely event that there is nothing you can do in the present situation, a Counselor can always write a Post that has them counseling a non-player character. If you are to counsel a character that is played by a person you should always check with them first, or wait until they come to you. It is intolerable to just take control of another person's character and give them psychological problems. In this situation you should discuss the details with the other person first, what they want the problem to be, what has caused the problems etc. You can use this duty at anytime and can be anything from marital problems and family counseling to childhood and deep emotional trauma, and everything in between.
- Providing Periodic Performance Reports for each Crewmember - The First Officer and the Counselor normally do this, of course you have no real say in who gets promoted, that is the Commanding Officer's duty, it is an In Character (IC) plot line you could use. To do this effectively you should coordinate the story with the FO. You should *not* mention any promotions unless the CO has already announced them. In some sims, on the other hand, it is standard procedure that the Counselor and CMO first give their evaluations about the crewmember before he/she gets promoted. In the Counselor's evaluation you should describe the crewmember's behavior during the sim (Example; How they work with or respond to Senior officers etc.).
- Crew Member Orientation - New Crew members can be shown around the ship. This provides a great opportunity for a JP (Joint Post) between the Counselor and the new player.
- Advisory Role - Whether it is for individual crewmembers in their own pursuits, or on Away missions to other species' planet, an important part of your duties, is to help people solve their problems. One of the main advisory positions on board the ship will be in your interaction with the CO or the FO in the communication between the ship and other cultures. This situation may require you to interpret and/or translate the actions and behaviors of these people.
- Alien Contact - A counselor would also provide Command Officers with accurate assessments of the motives, emotional needs and desires, emotional stability and rationality of alien life forms.
- First Contact Procedures - When your ship encounters a new species for the first time, first contact procedures should be observed. First contact procedures are as follows: CO, FO, Security, Counselor and Chief medical Officer should be present in full dress uniform; an official greeting on behalf of the Federation should be offered; etc. The main concern you will have, as Counselor, will be advising the CO after observing the behavioral patterns of the species. When these procedures cannot be done, that is, if the new species attacks on sight, the counselor should be on the Bridge to help the CO interpret the actions of that species, when possible. This should be used rarely, and only when the CO states that the procedures are being followed. You can't just decide the ship is meeting a new species.
The Counselor's could take this opportunity to write a post about the First Contact Procedure, together with the FO and the CMO if that is possible but it is not mandatory. In the post, the Counselor could describe:
- The behavior patterns of the species
- The appearance of the species
- Special abilities the species might have (Telepathic etc.)
- Diplomacy and Negotiations - Although they cannot decide policy, they play a role in negotiating treaties or in situations involving potentially hostile forces.
- Away Missions - It is handy to have a Counselor with a background which will assist an away team. In non-hostile away missions a counselor is often invited to join the team. If the Cuonselor has a background in other areas (eg, Security) he/she may be invited to join the more hostile away missions. There could be any number of reasons for this:
- Cultural exchange;
- Interaction with other or new cultures. Again, this provides a great opportunity for a post;
- Advising the Officer in Command of the team of your opinions and the cultural peculiarities; etc.
- Morale Officer - This is pretty self-explanatory. A morale officer is responsible for keeping the spirits of the crew up during times of duress. Things you could do to lift their spirits could range from personal attention to arranging a party. Keeping an eye on crew morale is a good reason to be in places such as sickbay or anywhere on the ship, the counselor can be where the action is when it happens. This is a good way of making sure you have something to write about, just remember you are not restricted to your quarters or the office. This can be used on a number of scales: a single person could be feeling depressed and you could be trying to cheer them up; the entire crew is starting to feel depressed/angry etc (due to an ongoing war etc but it would have to be extenuating circumstances before the entire crew where in need of cheering up) and you could arrange a party or something along those lines; to anywhere in between.