20 Free Fillable Army Counseling Forms DA 4856 (Word / Excel)

free army counseling form 7

An army counseling form is used in the Armed Forces for the training of the soldiers. Counseling is a good thing that acts as a guide in an individual’s development. Counseling helps in correcting improper behaviors.

What is the army counseling form?

It is an official form used by the Army. This is primarily used by the counselors to record counseling sessions provided to the soldiers of the US army. The army counseling form or DA Form 4856 is a requirement for any counseling session provided to army personnel. Moreover, the information mentioned in the form cannot get disclosed to the public. Both the counselor and the counseled have to sign the form.

The different types of counseling in the army:

Let us discuss below the most common types of counseling that involve the use of a DA 4856 fillable;

Event-Oriented Counseling

The most common type of army counseling that includes counseling for a specific event such as address a soldier for tardiness, failing an inspection, miss a suspense, and many more.

Reception and Integration Counseling

The first-line supervisor conducts this counseling for new soldiers, NCOs, and Officers who arrive at the unit. It provides information to the soldiers regarding;

  • Their professional and personal expectations
  • Job description
  • Information regarding the unit they want to join

Crisis Counseling

When a soldier gets confronted with a crisis then the supervisor conducts this type of counseling. The crisis may include a marital affair, death in the family, or any other traumatic event.

Referral counseling

When a solider is getting refer to another office for counseling, then this type of counseling is conducted. The soldier may refer to the;

  • Army Substance Abuse Program
  • Military Chaplain
  • Mental Health Agency

Promotion Counseling

The promotion counseling is conducted by the supervisor when the soldier gets eligibility for promotion.

Adverse Separation Counseling

The commander or rater must perform this type of counseling when a soldier does something adverse which results his separation for military service. He informs the soldier following;

  • What he did wrong
  • What will be happened next
  • The rights of the soldier

Performance Counseling

The performance of the soldier for a particular period of time is conducted by this type of counseling.

Professional Growth Counseling

Professional growth counseling is conducted to let a soldier know regarding opportunities that include attending military school, career advancement, and more.

The army counseling process:

Counseling is the main leadership development responsibility for Army leaders. The army counseling process in the army consists of the following stages;

Identifying the need for counseling

Many organization policies get completed via counseling sessions. There may be situations that developmental counseling incurs when a more centered two-way communication need arises based on subordinate development. This subordinate development first involves observing the subordinate’s performance. Then, compare this to the standard. After that, the subordinate gets feedback through a counseling session.

Preparing for counseling

Successful counseling requires thorough preparations that includes the following;

  • Select an environment with minimal interruptions while conducting scheduled counseling. It must be completely free of distractions.
  • During the day, it is suggested to counsel subordinates. After the hours of duty, counseling may feel rushed and get unfavorable results. The time required for counseling depends on the complexity of the issue.
  • Counseling should be subordinate-centered for subordinates. It should be a two-person effort and the subordinate get enough time for preparation. The subordinate must get notice in advance on why, when, and where the counseling session will occur.
  • In order to make it effective, it should be solidly prepared. The counselor must review all the related information and the plan of action with achievable and clear goals.
  • The counselor should identify what to talk about in the counseling session after collecting all the important information.
  • Since there are many leaders so there are different approaches to counseling. These approaches might be whether nondirective, directive or a combination of both. You should use the approach that best suits the situation and the subordinate.
  • The former must develop the right ambiance in order to promote a better atmosphere of conversation between a counselor and a subordinate.

Conducting the counseling session

While conducting counseling session, counselors should have flexibility. The meeting cannot set always in a formal setting. Throughout each day, counselors can have spontaneous encounters with subordinates. This counseling should take place in different venues. The effective leaders must take advantage of events that happen naturally to give their feedback to their subordinates.

However, your main purpose is to have an effective counseling session rather than of a mandated series of nonflexible steps. These sessions comprise of the following;

  • Opening the session: in this step, the counselor states the purpose of the session. You have to ensure that a subordinate-centered atmosphere gets established. The counselor can begin this by enabling the subordinate to speak.
  • Developing a plan of action: before the start of session, there should be a plan of action that leads to achieving the result desired. This plan indicates that what the subordinate should do to get the goals of the counseling session.
  • Recording and closing the session: for recording a counseling session, the requirements will invariably differ with every case. However, a good leader always benefit by documenting the key points of counseling sessions. The leader can use this documentation to reference the following;
    1- agreed-upon plan of action
    2- The subordinate’s improvements
    3- Accomplishments
    4- Problems or personal preferences
    For the subordinate’s schools, professional development, evaluation reports, and promotions, when suggesting recommendations, a complete documentation of these counseling aids becomes useful. The counselor can summarize the key points for the session’s close. After that, ask the subordinate if he understands the plan of action. To go through the plan of action and what’s expected of the counselor, it would be a good idea to invite the subordinate. The counselor should also give follow-up measures with the subordinate that may be important to make sure the plan of action’s successful implementation.
  • Following up: The plan of action must go beyond the counseling session. A follow up makes sure the continuity of the plan of action and the assessment of outcomes. The counselor after counseling should assist his subordinates with the implementation of their plans of action. The leader should make analysis and assessment of the process. He should also make adjustments to the plans if required.

Examples of event-oriented counseling:

Event-Oriented Counseling, Professional Growth Counseling, and Performance Counseling are three broad types of counseling in the army.

Event-Oriented counseling includes counseling for a specific event such as address a soldier for tardiness, failing an inspection, miss a suspense, noteworthy duty performance, and more. Here are some examples of Event-Oriented counseling;

  • Particular examples of substandard or superior performance
  • Crisis counseling
  • Reception and integration counseling
  • Adverse separation counseling
  • Promotion counseling
  • Referral counseling
  • Transition counseling

How to complete the army counseling form?

You should include the following information while filling an army counseling form;

Administrative information

  • Full name
  • Rank or grade
  • Organization
  • Counseling date
  • The counselor’s complete name and rank

Background information

Background information is a description of the purpose of the counseling. Before the counseling session, to include the leader’s observations and facts, examples of these could be performance or professional event-oriented counseling.

Counseling session summary

During or right after the counseling, this section gets filled out. This section includes the following;

  • The key points of the discussion
  • The counselor’s plan of action
  • The responsibilities of the leader
  • Section closing

Plan of action assessment

The counselor gives the description of whether the plan led to the desired results or not. This must be accomplished by the counselor and the soldier’s leader. It includes the following;

  • The counselor’s name
  • The name of the individual undergoing counseling
  • The date of the counseling session

Additional Information

In any additional notations section, include the counselor’s name, grade, and signature, the counselee’s name, grade, and signature, and more.

The purpose of the Army counseling:

The main purpose of army counseling is to motivate needy soldiers, analyze a soldier’s potential, and his/her individual growth. We all know that army life is very difficult and the soldiers have to live alone from their family for months. They have to face many difficulties alone while their duty such as emotional pain, stress, mental pressure, and aloneness, etc. Thus, army leaders and supervisors conduct counseling programs to help them in dealing with above situations.


In conclusion, an Army counseling form is an official form used in the Armed forces while conducting counseling sessions. It is an integral part of a soldier’s training. When the counselee gets reassigned, retires or for separations at ETS, the forms can get destroyed.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Which DA form is used for initial counseling?

DA form 4856 is used for initial counseling.

What is a DA form 4856?

A DA form 4856 is a Developmental counseling form used by the Army department. This form is used to indicate counseling sessions provided from counselors to soldiers in the army.

In case, a soldier disagrees with a counseling statement then what happens?

A soldier should sign and add their comments on DA form 4856 even if they disagree with the counseling. This is because the counseling statement can still be used if you refuse to use. However, don’t force the soldier to sign and add comment on DA form 4856.

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