Iphigenia's Counseling Session [tag Lieutenant Witley]

Posted June 11, 2023, 12:58 a.m. by Lieutenant Laural Corynn Witley, Ph.D., M.D. (Counselor) (Lori Miller)

Posted by Captain Iphigenia Henao (Captain) in Iphigenia’s Counseling Session [tag Lieutenant Witley]

Posted by Lieutenant Laural Corynn Witley, Ph.D., M.D. (Counselor) in Iphigenia’s Counseling Session [tag Lieutenant Witley]

Posted by Captain Iphigenia Henao (Captain) in Iphigenia’s Counseling Session [tag Lieutenant Witley]
Posted by… suppressed (9) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Counseling for the a ship Captian is a must. Even though this was her first posting as a Captain shed learned this by serving under other Captains. One of them, her favorite one, “Captain Theodore “Ted” Clark, had given her this advice, “Use your ship’s Counselor. They will help you manage life’s varied challenges. And when you are having a bad day, they will help you understand what you’re feeling, why and how to cope.” Ted said the best thing Starfleet did was start putting Counselors on starships, before they did people went crazy because they were living in close proximity everyday with people they had to interact with everyday, whether it was for work or leisure.
Iphi reached Lieutenant Witley’s office and ranged her door chime. She didn’t have an appointment so she left the situation to chance. If Lieutenant Witley was busy then she would return another day. She’d have to wait to unload her thoughs and feelings, if not then she was going to sit in that chair and tell the Counselor all about her day and how she was coping with Captaining the Leviathan.

Henao, CO

Laural was not the type to like to stay in her office for hours on end, especially aboard a relatively new posting, but after her interesting conversation with the Captain and the Chief Intelligence Officer about their anomalous detainees, she decided she needed to better familiarize herself with their guests sooner than later. Wit had thought to prioritize the crew proper first, but she could certainly see the value and urgency in focusing her attention elsewhere. When her door chime sounded, she answered with a simple, “Come in,” turning, though her mind partially still on her reading.

~Dr. Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

Iphigenia stepped one foot into Lieutenant Witley’s office. “Counselor, are you busy?” she asked as she stood in the doorway. “I hope to take a few minutes of your time.” Her gaze moved around the room before she continued, “I figured we should begin building a relationship, you as the ship’s counselor and me as the commanding officer.” She stepped in the office further as she placed both her arms behind her back and clasped her hands behind it, “I know I am going to need your advice, whether its on how to improve morale or how a mission could potentially affect the crew. I also know for you to provide it effectively, I am going to have to provide a supportive environment, so that you will be able to talk openly with me, be objective, neutral, and nonjudgmental, especially during missions.”

Henao, Co

It took a moment for Laural to fully register the identity of her visitor. To the mental health professionals credit, however, she had years of practice schooling her features to prevent her own emotions from interfering with another’s ability to identify and process their own. Witley listened carefully as her captain forthrightly explained the reason for her visit.

Laural smiled, pleased to see the person she had admired while touring containment facilities was in fact every bit as genuine as Laural believed her to be. She gestured for the Captain to take a seat. “I will never be too busy for you or any member of the crew, and I must say, I find your openness and understanding of what I can offer quite refreshing. I’m not telepathic or empathic in the biological sense of the word, but in the past, captains have either made it clear they plan to merely tolerate me and my expertise or have presented a false sense of appreciation if only to try to placate me. I don’t get either vibe from you, and I mean that with all sincerity.”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

“I am glad.” She took the seat. “It’s been a while since I have talked to the ship’s Counselor.” She looked around to take in the decor of the room. “I hear you have been serving on the Leviathan for a while. Can you share with me, within your capacity, what the other Captain was like? I am just trying to gauge how I need to interact with the Crew. As you probably can see, I am so nervous since this is the first time I have been in command of a Starship.”

Henao, CO

“It’s understandable you’d be nervous,” Laural replied, not commenting on what she did or did not notice. In fact, she thought the other woman’s natural curiosity about the ship and everyone around her could just as easily been indicative of a captain with a number of years experience. After all, good leaders didn’t just throw their weight around and order others from afar, they actually showed interest in their people. “I’m afraid I didn’t know the previous Captain very well. I liked him, but it seemed like he was gone in the blink of an eye. Like you, I’ve recommended myself to getting to know everyone on board better, as there seems to have been quite a bit of turnover recently.”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

“Oh I see,” she said. Her first thought was that the turnover was likely due to people being killed due to coming in contact with some anomaly during their service on the ship. “I hear the Leviathan has had a lot of turnover in crew. When I took command we had to bring on a doctor, engineer, CTO, COO…”, she started naming all the vacant positions that had been open. “However you have remained here for some time. What keeps you on Leviathan?”

After a pause, she went on to say, “I had a conversation with the CIO about being more transparent with the crew about the ARU. What do you think? Does not knowing equate to better performance from the crew because they won’t know what to expect or should the crew know everything and then be able to make a choice as to whether or not they want to continue to serve on the ship? As you know Starfleet thinks that things run more smoothly if everyone has a piece of the information, not all of it....I am not so sure.”

Henao, CO


Laural took several moments to consider the question. Like many things, this issue was complex and her first inclination was to say so, but understanding that would look like she was passing the buck, the counselor decided to be as honest as she could. “Those of us with any longevity in Starfleet understand we don’t all have the right to know everything all the time. It isn’t personal, just part of the hierarchy we signed up for. To my knowledge, none of us could refuse an assignment if we wanted to stay in the fleet. That said, in my experience, there are very few circumstances in which it’s better to keep the vast majority of us in the dark. For all intents and purposes, we serve on a tin can, and no matter how sophisticated the can, we stand a better chance of survival if less is kept from us, at least as far as our particular departmental responsibilities are concerned. I am wary of any situation in which one party holds more cards when the goal is to accomplish a mission as a team. There’s too much room for ego otherwise.”

~Dr. Laural Witley , Chief Counselor

Iphigenia considered her answer. “Yes, I agree. However being transparent is a problem in Starfleet. I want the crew to do well and it seems in order for them to do so, I have to determine when is the best time to share information with them.” She paced around as she thought through her options. Something she often did when she was trying to solve a problem. “It seems…the only real way around this is everyone does a basic ARU training and those that need more are provided with additional training. However before training I think we need to measure the level of competency each officer has. Especially those who have access to more privileged information than others. We need to be sure they have the mentality to guard and access the information, as needed, in case we are ever in a real situation. They do not need to know that we are assessing them on this. So I would have you come up with the assessment to determine this.”

Henao, CO

The request was not something the counselor anticipated and it took her several moments to process what had been said and to consider a reply. ” it may take me some time to come up with an appropriate assessment that would fit in most of the crew, but just to be clear, are we assessing their departmental confidence in their various fields, or is this more about Ensuring their integrity to keep things confidential when necessary?”

~Dr. Laural Witley Chief Counselor

“Both. Both are equally important. I am sure you have a way to move forward with this request but I want to suggest that you assess each officer individually. Maybe treat it like one of your counseling sessions? Lieutenant Commander Magnusson should be your first candidate.”

Henao, CO

Individual assessment would certainly be much easier and would allow her to personalize it for each person’s specific traits. Upon hearing her suggestion for the first candidate, however, she couldn’t help but feel intrigued. “May I ask why? What I mean is, is there something in particular you’re concerned about with the commander specifically?” Laurel understood the importance of having a working relationship between commanding officer and her right hand. Was the idea to just start at the top and work our way down or was there something specific she needed to know?

~Dr. Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

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