In Sixth Fleet as in canon Star Trek, each simulation has a Counselor to help assist others with phychological and in some aspects even act as a diplomat for the Captain.
The primary role of the Counselor is located in this lesson which is broken into different parts. Each part explains an area that the Counselor deals with.
|Broadly, there are two approaches towards mental problems, medical and psychological. The medical approach being that of a psychiatrist – a physician who has then specialised in the medicine of the mind, and that of the psychologist – an individual who has specialised in psychology as a science, independently from medicine. A StarFleet Counselor is most commonly the latter of these two classifications. The terms ‘Counselor’ and ‘psychologist’, however must not be used interchangeably, as a Counselor, whilst normally being a psychologist by academic and clinical discipline, has a far wider remit than a psychologist would normally have. The Counselor, exists to support the crew in a number of ways, whilst giving a priority to those who require intensive therapy, to treat psychological problems, the Counselor is also duty bound to ‘lend an ear’ to those members of the crew who wish to speak about emotional, family or other issues concerning them. The third duty of the Counselor is to act as an advisor and confidant to the Commanding Officer, albeit over personal issues, like those of the crew, giving advice regarding issues of personnel and navigating him/her through diplomatic situations. It is therefore natural that the position of Counselor is one of central importance, and great scope not only for mission involvement and character development, but also to the interaction of characters with one another. This can be through such methods as a advising a character on a personal relationship with another, or more indirectly through nurturing the atmosphere, responding to it, and contributing to a sense of camaraderie and fraternity.|
|CHAIN OF COMMAND|
|The chain of Command for a counselor is tricky as the Counselor is part of the senior staff, but is still part of the medical department. So in sense, they still are under the departmental chain of command which is listed below, but also are part of the senior staff so can also fall under the Executive Officer. Confusing isn't it LOL.|
|DEPARTMENTAL CHAIN OF COMMAND|
|As such, a chain of command (CoC) exists between these individuals, it is as follows.
*The physcian’s mate is responsible for a leadership and administrative role within the department, and therefore his/her informal seniority depends upon the patronage of the Chief Medical Officer
The relationship of the Counselor within the chain of command can be shown diagrammatically as follows:
As the counselor, is usually an advisor to the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer, however is subordinate to the Chief Medical Officer in all matters of medical practice. As such, a good working relationship usually exists between the Counselor and the Chief Medical Officer, often resulting in combined physical and psychological approaches and treatment where suitable.
|BASIC THEORETICAL PSYCHOLOGY|
|A StarFleet Counselor will most commonly be an adherent of one of two schools of psychological thought: the cognitive or psychodynamic, although some may differ their approach to suit the patient. Much like their physician colleagues, Counselors will attempt to diagnose and treat their patients, and the manner in which this will occur, is largely dependent upon their approach.
The identification of mental abnormalities is not as clear-cut an area as one may think at first glance. Indeed, the definition of abnormality, and the distinction between an abnormality and pathology is not always clear or always agreed upon. The twenty-fourth century has great cultural diversity, and quite often what at one time would have been pathological in one society, is commonplace in another, for example, the expression of emotion in Vulcans. Therefore, StarFleet Counselors are not only trained in an array of cultures, but also take a highly personal approach to their patients. StarFleet Counsellors, generally only become involved in a clinical capacity at the consent of their patient, or where the patient’s behaviour has become dangerous to himself/herself or others.
The psychodynamic approach, developed by Sigmund Freud and others, explains the origin of psychological abnormality as a conflict within the ‘psyche’ or mind. Freudians believe that the psyche has three distinct elements – the ‘id’ the basic instinctual needs, such as to reproduce, eat and such; the ‘superego’ the moral and cultural standards learned from society, and the ‘ego’ which acts as a balancing force between the other two elements. It is during formative childhood years that the ‘superego’ and ‘ego’ develop, and therefore, a great emphasis is placed upon early experiences, as a root of psychological problems. In growing up, an individual develops through a ‘psycho-sexual’ series of development; problems at different stages can lead to ‘fixation’ at a premature stage, or maladaptive consequential development. The approach places great emphasis on ‘sexual’ aspects, or the ‘pleasure principle’, which starts with infants gaining pleasure from their mouths through breast feeding, and then progresses through different stages as the child grows, potty training, and ultimately the discovery of genitalia in the early teens. Therefore sex is at the heart of psychodynamic theory. To give an example, a sexual assault upon a child can lead not only to a fear of intimacy in later years, but also to eating disorders, irrational phobias, drug abuse and many other factors. An eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, where the patient refuses to eat normal amounts of food, may be explained as a refusal to develop sexually, especially as the majority of diagnosed cases are found in females in their early teen years. The reasoning is such that, unconsciously, pregnancy is associated with obesity, and as eating leads to obesity, eating is linked to pregnancy, and an aversion of eating is unconsciously an attempt to avoid pregnancy, and generally sexual and physical maturity. The main form of psychodynamic treatment is ‘psychoanalysis’ otherwise known as ‘the talking cure’ whereby the Counselor assists the patient in an analysis of their life, and uncovers the unconscious conflicts and repressed memories, issues and such, which once brought to the conscious mind, are dealt with, and the patient is cured.
The cognitive approach dictates that maladaptive behaviour is the result of maladaptive thinking, and that to cure the behaviour problems, the adaptive responses must be learned. For example, when an individual is faced with a problem, their response can be adaptive, or maladaptive. For example, where a StarFleet Cadet fails an examination, the adaptive response would be to work harder in future and attempt a resit, the maladaptive response would be to label himself a failure, from which depression could stem. A further example is a phobia, where an individual has an irrational fear of, daffodils, the fear is an irrational or maladaptive thought, the cognitive approach to cure this phobia would be to attempt to change the thought process, resulting in a rational or adaptive thought. It is often through ‘aversion’ therapy that this is fostered, or though stages – such as where an individual with a fear of beans is exposed to one bean, then a saucepan, then more, until gradually there is no fear.
The cognitive and psychodynamic approaches are the more common in StarFleet, and most often used in Star Trek canon. However also relevant are the behavioural, biological and humanistic models, which present different explanations and treatment methods.
Below is a link to disorders and other illnesses that psychologists and counselors may deal with. Because there are so many, it is hard to list them here.