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My Soldier says I can’t counsel her by email- Is this correct?

Top, does e-mail couseling count in terms of valid and official professional counseling, despite that it is not hand written or typed on a DA 4856 AUG 2010? I have an E-6 disputing that an e-mail to her with detailed counseling is not counseling because the regulation states that a 4856 is used. Please advise.

Bottom line

Email Counseling and phone discussion are valid as counseling session as long as you have complied with all counseling requirements and the chain of command has approved this type of counseling due to geographical separation or other issue that prevents face to face counseling.


If we are talking about performance counseling for an evaluation report. It is mandatory to use the DA FORM 2166-8-1. The use of a DA FORM 4856 is optional and I highly recommend it but it is not a mandatory requirement.

However if there is geographical separation then phone calls can be used as an alternative. See extract below.

posted on 02/09/2018 under Q&A
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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