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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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My husband is an airline pilot and is finding recurrent simulator

Resolved Question:

My husband is an airline pilot and is finding recurrent simulator traing extremely stressful.He experiences physical symptoms of nausea and a heaviness in his limbs.
His description of how he feels is that the world is crashing in on him.He has been flying for over 30 years.
How can I help him?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 4 years ago.

One cannot, of course, diagnose at a distance, but from what you describe, it seems probable, he may be suffering from mixed anxiety and depression - depression is causing him to feel bad, and the other part is that his negative thinking about his life situation is just adding to that.

Both these things can be dealt with by a combination of proper medication and a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

The first thing he needs to do is to see his Doctor - I suspect that his medication needs to be reviewed.

Two important issues about this - when he is on medication, he must take it at the correct dose and as prescribed. It is no use missing doses or messing around with the dose.

Secondly, he should know that anti-depressants can take up to 8 weeks from the start of therapy before they begin to show beneficial effects, so it's no use quitting after two weeks.

I mentioned CBT - is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted, the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

If he cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

Make the first step NOW – get an appointment with his Doc, and he can start to get better.

You’ll also find some very good help here:

Giving support can be difficult in cases like this – the essential factor is that he must understand that you are 100% behind him

Try to make sure that the person feels that you are on their side, and try to use ‘open questions’ – ones that don’t allow a simple “Yes” or “No” answer.

Don’t try to give them solutions, because as they open up and talk, the person begins to find their own solutions.

Good beginnings are:

Where – 'Where did that happen?'

When – 'When did you find out……?'

What – 'What else was happening?'

How – 'How did you feel?'

Can you tell me…….

How are you feeling? This helps to get past the bare facts of a situation, and lets people

begin to look at their inner turmoil.

Don’t push hard or try to tell them what they MUST do – give them space and time to talk.

There are some things you can do, and here are some tips:

What you can say that helps:

I’m here for you – you’re not alone.

What causes these thoughts and feelings is a real illness, and it can be treated..

You may not believe it now, but someday, this will pass and you’ll feel differently.

I care about you and want to help, even if I don’t really understand what you are going through right now, how you feel, and what you’re thinking

Don’t ever give up – just hang on one more minute or hour – whatever you can.

You are important to me. Your life is important to me, and to everybody who knows you

I’d like you to tell me what I can do now to help you.

We can get through this together

Don’t say:

Cheer up- it could be worse

Quit worrying about it – you’ll be fine

Your just imagining it, it’s all in your head.

Everybody feels like this sometimes

You’ll just have to help yourself

I’d have thought you would be better by now.

Get over it and snap out of it.

Grow up and act like an adult.

What’s the matter with you anyway?

You’ll also find some helpful information here:

Best wishes, NormanM

Norman M. and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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