How Scouters can Counsel Scouts and Scouters
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
How many times have you listened endlessly to the troubles of another? Too
many times probably! What did either of you come away with? The speaker was able
to unburden his or her problems. This temporarily released some pressure and
made him/her feel better. But the problem still exists. You got an ear full and
will probably do so again because you were a good listener.
A good counselor has to listen. You've probably felt that listening was all
you were qualified to do. What you really wanted to do was bring relief to this
troubled person's life. Now you can help, and do so confidently! Just follow
- Listen to they're story! Listen more than talk.
- Check to see that you understand what they're ‚saying...summarize.
- You can give information but don't give advise. Know the difference.
- Listen to the individual as if they are of worth. Listen to him or her
like you would want someone to listen to you.
- Put away your prejudices. Don't make judgments on the individual or his
actions, just listen!
- Know when to refer the individual to a professional. You are giving first
aid for a cut. Leave the deeper wounds to the professionals.
- How would things be if they were the way you wanted them to be? Write it
down in detail.
- Choose issues to work on that will make a difference in solving the
problem or reaching a goal.
- There are many solutions to a problem. Help the person search for the one
that is best for him/her. S/he has to live with this decision.
- Develop a list of different ways to solve the problem.
- Choose the best solution for you.
- Consider your values, preferences and resources.
- Goals involving the participation of others are seldom accomplished since
the individual is the one that is motivated.
- Write down the way s/he has selected to solve the problem. This becomes
- Remember you can't change others only yourself. You may have to remind the
Scout or Scouter of this.
- The goal must be his/her own ideas or s/he will not take action to reach
- Break down the goal into‚do-able small steps.
- Put them down in chronological order.
- Give the starting date and the target date to be finished.
- Commit the Scout or Scouter to these goals.
- List the things that can be a self-rewarded for completion of each step.
Small rewards for small steps and larger rewards for larger steps completed.
- Consider the scout's or Scouter's resources when deciding what rewards to
use. Example: Take a bubble bath or verbally pat yourself on the
- Vary the types of rewards you given. If renting a video is the reward
every time, the person may become a couch potato.
- Write down the requirements for getting the reward.
Rewards are not bribery but a pat on the back for setting and reaching goals.
We all need them.
- Decide what will happen if the goal isn't finished on time or if a slip-up
occurs and the person does the unwanted behavior. Write this down in detail.
Example: If I do not finish my scripture reading before dinnertime, then I
have to give up dessert for the day.
- Each morning ask for God's help to do better that day.
- Evaluate your progress with Him nightly.
- Have the person ask loved ones or friends help monitor and support his/her
- Have the person picture himself/herself feeling and acting as if s/he has
already reached the goal!
- Review progress and revise plan as needed. Don't let the individual quit
because things aren't working out. Some goals may need some changes to make
them work better. Review the effectiveness of each step and make changes
- Don't make goals that are so strict that they don't leave you room to be
able to live effectively and reach your goals too. Example: I will do one
part of my merit badge daily for a week. This should read: I will do one
part of my merit badge daily or do seven parts during the week. This example
allows for sickness or other reasons that would otherwise cause the person
to fail because of the strictness of the first example.
- Realize that the changes make in a persons life do not effect just the
person but all those s/he comes in contact with. Some of those people may
try to get him/her to remain the same. The persons change make others look
inward and see things they need to change. This makes them inadequate,
uncomfortable, and feel threatened. Being forewarned is being forearmed.
This will aid the persons ability to change in spite of others wanting
things to stay the same.
- When someone changes for the good, s/he will affect others more positively
and hopefully help them change too.
Shorthand to Counseling
5. Set up little steps.
9. Gain support of others.
2. What is the perfect scenario? What does it
6. Write it down.
10. Set up rewards.
3. List possibilities.
7. Get a Commitment
11. Act like success has happened.
4. Set up the goal.
8. Pray for help.
Acronym to Counseling
Listen to the person.
Answer his/her questions.
List the Steps to obtain the goal.
Tackle the problem with your best
try. Keep working until you succeed.
Also see: Which Brings Best Results: Lecturing
Egan, G. (1990). The Skilled Helper, A Systematic Approach to
Effective Helping (4th ed.) CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.
Nay, A. (1994). The Pursuit of Excellence. Internet published manuscript. (4th
ed.) at http://www.annettenay.com/index.htm
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Annette Nay Homepage
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