PreSIM: A (Begrudged) Meeting with the Counselor

Posted May 3, 2021, 4:10 p.m. by Lieutenant Commander T’Aria (XO / Navigation Officer) (Trinity Fister)

Posted by Ensign Kanina Dran (Doctor/Counselor) in PreSIM: A (Begrudged) Meeting with the Counselor

Posted by Lieutenant Commander T’Aria (XO / Navigation Officer) in PreSIM: A (Begrudged) Meeting with the Counselor

Posted by Ensign Kanina Dran (Doctor/Counselor) in PreSIM: A (Begrudged) Meeting with the Counselor
Posted by… suppressed (8) by the Post Ghost! 👻

“I wanted to leave. Betazed was never my place, and Starfleet was taking medical students.” Kanina had no hesitation in admitting she had less than noble reasons to become a Doctor. “I wanted to prove it was worth it, so I took as many additional certifying courses as possible. After that…” Kanina trailed off, meeting T’Aria’s eyes. “Is it too cliche to say I found my calling?”

“Not at all,” T’Aria found her honesty refreshing. She understood the desire to help echoed the motives of every practitioner. But she didn’t trust those compelled by it. T’Aria commended Dran’s decision to transmute her urge to escape into acts of service and scientific pursuit.
“Many medical professionals are defined by their work. I respect their drive, but I believe the person and the practice must be separate.” She shook her head. “I am more concerned about the doctor without aspirations, interests or life beyond medicine than the one who is brazen or discourteous. They will be the ones to burn out. They will lead patients to suffer.” T’Aria held Kanina’s gaze. “Your influence to pursue medicine may not be ‘standard’ or ‘noble’, but it is honest and leads me to believe you will maintain that balance.”

“As for the Chernov, I am honored to be part of the infant counseling department.” Honestly, she could have been posted on the most boring asteroid in Federation space, and she would have been happy.
-Kanina Dran, CNS

“When you consider the future of the counselling department,” T’Aria relaxed her shoulders, “what do you see?”

– T’Aria, XO

Kanina’s face lit up with a smile. “At least one Counselor on every Starfleet vessel, station, or posting. There’s so much we can do! We’re therapists, sure, but we can be mediators, career advisors, even just a friendly ear.” Kanina settled back into her chair.

T’Aria felt the abrupt change in her demeanour. Passion and excitement radiating from her, it was hard to miss the smile carved into Kanina’s features. Professionalism was at the mercy of her enthusiasm.

“Imagine you’re an Ensign, and you have an issue with your Department Head. Usually, you’d go to the Captain or the XO, but that’s fairly noticeable. The counselor, on the other hand, has every crewmember filtering in and out of their office, from the civilian consultants to the CO of the ship itself.” Kanina paused for a moment, thinking of statistics she could use to prove her point. “On one survey, 94% of individuals said they would be more likely to discuss interpersonal issues with a Counselor than with the CO. 63% said they felt safer, more secure that is, with a counselor as a mediator to disputes.”
-Kanina Dran, CNS

T’Aria tilted her head, blinking her gaze from the counsellor to an unseen abyss as she examined her words. She couldn’t quite grasp her intentions, but the statistics enlightened her in ways idle words never could. She nodded. “I see,” she paused. “Crew security is paramount, and it cannot be sacrificed for ‘standard procedure.’“

“Starfleet, though branded by change, is leisure to adjust its standards,” she spoke as a precaution to the lingering ‘but’ that mocked her words. “But,” her reservation tempered by an emphatic we, T’Aria continued, “speaking theoretically.. how would you propose we encourage this shift? What would you need to promote Counselling – in all its connotations – from an ancillary to primary service aboard Chernov?”

T’Aria wasn’t asking for exact plans or statistics, rather Kanina’s input on what it would take to achieve her dream. It was a long road that wouldn’t end with Dran, but it had to start somewhere.

– T’Aria, XO

Kanina laughed sheepishly. “Well… That’s what the mandatory evaluations are supposed to do. Presumably, the experience is positive, or at the very least helpful, and it establishes a basic relationship. It’s perhaps not the most efficient but… You can’t force anyone to seek help. Not if you want a productive experience.” Kanina brightened slightly. “Captain Taggart has already called on me to serve as a mediator. I consider that a success.”
-Kanina Dran, CNS

“You make a valid point.” T’Aria steepled her fingers in contemplation. “Your primary duty is the mental health and security of the crew, yes?” She let the question linger long enough to consider the depth of her fleeting thoughts. “And maintenance thereof requires adequate nutrition, rest, stress management… and play.”

“Chernov is a battlecruiser subject to insurmountable stress. You cannot force officers to seek help to relieve or manage their stress, but you can foster a closer relationship with the crew..” she paused, reflecting Kanina’s concerns, and continued “..through play. I suspect it’s not an outlined responsibility, but how do you feel about event planning? Competitions… performances.. and the likes.” It was clear that T’Aria struggled to find the right words to describe her thought process, but she trusted Kanina could fill in the blanks where her stoicism failed her. “However indirect, these events may boost crew morale and build a sense of.. community.” Trust was a leisure process. Vulnerability, even more. And with four walls and a patronising light, T’Aria doubted trust would be fostered in a room that so closely resembled a prison.

“What are your thoughts?” She opened the floor to the expert, her neutral expression an echo of appreciation for her input.

– T’Aria, XO

Kanina sighed. “I am still settling into the role,” she admitted. “My specialty, truly, is conflict resolution.” She was adjusting, unused to meetings other than grief counseling and mediations. “I suppose that a party would allow me to connect with the crew as a whole,” she allowed hesitantly.
-Kanina Dran, CNS

Kanina’s hesitation was her cue to take a step back. And she listened — or tried to, anyway.

“Of course,” T’Aria observed. “I apologise for assuming otherwise.” She had no intention of putting Kanina in an uncomfortable position. Especially when it could do more harm than good. T’Aria knocked it down a notch and took several seconds to mull over her words. Her mind trickled back to their previous discussion – validation and patience over command – before she tentatively continued.

“A gathering may foster a deeper connection with the crew,” her voice rang with an indefinable tone tainted by fleeting concern, “but what do you believe would help?”

– T’Aria, XO

“I am… unsure. My instructor preached time and patience, they said we would be sought out sooner or later.” Kanina ran a hand through her hair. “We didn’t really… Gathering clients was never a concern.”
-Kanina Dran, CNS

T’Aria listened with a slow, contemplative nod. When her lips parted to speak, she seemed to hesitate and the words died on her tongue, delivering a soft “…I see.” T’Aria slipped into silence long enough to consider Kanina’s unique position. She was helping to trailblaze a new branch of medicine. And though T’Aria couldn’t comprehend the emotional implications of such a task, she could respect the responsibility adorning her shoulders. “Your instructor posed a vetted solution,” she hummed, “for patients and practitioners. You mentioned you’re new to this position – would you benefit from time and patience?”

– T’Aria, XO

“Is there anyone who can claim not to benefit from time and patience?” Kanina smiled, almost playful. “But patience is not, and never has been my strong suit. I would much rather meet with every crewmember than wait for them to approach me.”
-Kanina Dran, CNS

“Patience is a virtue…” T’Aria trailed off, a hint of a smile daring to tease her lips in a suggestion she was not among patience’s devotees. “But,” she lifted a finger in a subtle ‘correct me if I’m wrong’ gesture, “seeking out every crew member would infringe on your desire to promote open, voluntary visits.” She furrowed her eyebrows slightly. It was a strange dilemma she knew physicians would never face. Though equally detrimental, it was harder to avoid treating an infected, third-degree radiation burn than unresolved trauma. “These evaluations are mandatory in the sense physicals are, correct?”

– T’Aria, XO

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