Grief Counseling

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Missing, Sep 22, 2021.

  1. Missing

    Missing Guest

    My wife died at the end of last year. I’ve been doing really well getting through life without her but sometimes it’s hard. Those moments are infrequent and it’s always when I’m at home when something triggers it - never when flying or doing anything else that requires a sharp mind.

    It has been suggested that grief counseling can help. I don’t have ongoing depression - this is just missing her and being sad and lonely for short periods once a month or so, and handle that with exercise, socializing, talking about it with close friends and recognizing and accepting it. 99% of the time I’m truly happy.

    If I were to see a therapist or counselor, how will that affect my medical status, and next application for a certificate? I have a Class 2, although I only exercise Class 3 privileges and probably am going to go to Basicmed. I don’t want to be on any medications and won’t be seeing an MD or psychiatrist, so that should be off the table, anyway.

    Bottom line, will grief counseling result in grounding or denial of a medical certificate?
     
  2. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,967
    Location:
    Alexandria VA

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    Not at all. Obviously BasicMed is always an option, but grief counseling in itself is not disqualifying. See the attached regarding instructions for AMEs regarding bereavement…

    https://www.faa.gov/about/office_or...guide/app_process/exam_tech/item47/amd/table/

    If stable, resolved, no associated disturbance of thought, no recurrent episodes, and;
    a). psychotropic medication(s) used for less than 6 months and discontinued for at least 3 months - Issue
    b). No use of psychotropic medication(s) - Issue

    You’ll just need to provide the AME with all pertinent medical information and a clinical status report regarding the counseling.
     
  3. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,094
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Do you have an employee assistance program?
     
  4. pilotrick

    pilotrick Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Messages:
    105

    Display name:
    pilotrick
    I would go to the grief counseling if you think it would help and not mention it to the FAA. Sorry for your loss.
     
  5. Rushie

    Rushie En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,755

    Display name:
    Rushie
    Not sure this is a good idea, even if you pay cash and don’t involve the insurance company. You could get away with it, but would it be found if there is an incident and investigation? BUT if you are a member of a church and have a trusted pastor or priest, they are often helpful and to my knowledge such “counseling” isn’t reportable or pertinent at all to the FAA. I’m not an AME though, nor an FAA spy, so somebody correct me if that’s wrong.

    Also to the OP, so sorry for your loss.
     
  6. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Messages:
    4,500
    Location:
    North Texas

    Display name:
    Lindberg
    No counseling is reportable unless it relates to an individual diagnosis.
     
    Rushie likes this.
  7. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    2,470
    Location:
    Atlanta / KRYY

    Display name:
    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    Sorry for your loss. Get counseling. Go on basic med.
     
  8. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    3,130
    Location:
    NEPA

    Display name:
    benyflyguy
    A lot of churches will have grief counseling snd support groups that can be very helpful without getting all ‘churchy’. Bonus no cost nor FAA hassle
     
  9. Rushie

    Rushie En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,755

    Display name:
    Rushie
    I think what people run into is getting a diagnosis of “depression” for things like this. Maybe for the purpose of insurance. What exact code does the practitioner put in your record? I’m not sure we always know so I think it’s a good idea to talk about this up front with the counselor. Tell them it’s important that you aren’t upcoded, you’ll pay out of pocket if necessary. Most healthcare practitioners aren’t aware of certification issues and the importance of the diagnostic code, but believe all patients care about is paying as little as possible. At least that’s my impression.
     
  10. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    672
    Location:
    pensacola

    Display name:
    Senior AME/ATC AME
    If your condition only requires grief counseling, the doubt that will be a major problem with the FAA
     
  11. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,790

    Display name:
    Tom
    My opinion is the counseling never happened, or go basic med. But definitely talk to someone, and in my view if talking to a priest is something that isn’t reportable neither is seeing a professional counselor.
     
  12. flyingpreacher

    flyingpreacher Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2021
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Williamsport, PA

    Display name:
    flyingpreacher
    I'm going to address this, not from an aviation standpoint, but from a pastor's perspective. The way you have described your grief is not just normal, but exactly what would be expected. Grief is something that, in the moment can feel like it knocks you right off your feet, like getting hit with a big wave. The further you are removed from your loss, those waves may come less frequently, though not necessarily with less intensity. It is most often going to hit you unexpectedly, but frequently when doing something that you did together. Depending on where you are, I'd be happy to help you in any way I can. Feel free to send me a PM if you'd like. Whether you do or not, I'll be praying for you.

    I wouldn't view it as counseling per se, just walking with a fellow pilot through a tough time in his life. I'd venture to say that's the way a lot of us pastors view it. Yes, we may have some specific "counseling things" we can talk about, but very few pastors approach counseling from what's called a "clinical counseling" point of view.
     
    Kitch, Zeldman, jordane93 and 2 others like this.
  13. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    3,891
    Location:
    I19 & SBS

    Display name:
    Geezer
    My church and several others around town offer a series called grief sharing and uses a book called “Loss of a Spouse”. I sometimes act as a facilitator at the meetings having lost my wife of 50 years to cancer.

    What you’re experiencing is pretty normal in my experience. I suggest you check if there’s similar programs. The one I mentioned doesn’t get deep into spiritual meditation and has been helpful to a number of folks I know.

    As far as the FAA is concerned, I would go Basic Med and be done with them.

    Cheers
     
  14. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    7,036
    Location:
    Central Florida

    Display name:
    Half Fast