Seeking support, encouragement, and information through professional counseling can help you to be your best, personally and professionally. You can partner with a trusted counselor to improve yourself and your relationships or get help with common issues like depression or anxiety.
Several types of professionals provide counseling: licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), psychologists, and psychiatrists.
Every state has specific laws, regulations, and requirements for obtaining a professional license. A master’s degree from an accredited university, supervised experience, and agreement to ethical codes, along with passing a licensing exam, are minimal requirements.
LPCs, LCSWs, LMFTs, and psychologists can provide different types of counseling (or talk therapy) based upon specialties, chosen focuses, or client needs. Counseling treatments or approaches may be cognitive, emotional, or behavioral based. Psychiatrists must be licensed as physicians, and some may focus more on traditional medical treatments such as pharmaceuticals. You can verify the credentials of these professionals through each state’s health board websites.
Some ideas for seeking a referral and choosing a counselor:
- Contact AMAS, the ALPA Aeromedical Office, at 303-341-4435.
- Ask for a referral from a medical professional you already work with and trust, such as a primary-care physician.
- Ask friends or family if they can recommend someone.
- Search the list of in-network providers on your health insurance website. Typically, you can specify gender, location, specialties, modality (online, skype), and more.
- Search “behavioral health board providers” for your state or country.
- Contact your local community mental health center, university, church, or school.
- Shop online directories hosted by national organizations, such as: www.networktherapy.com, www.psychologytoday.com, nbcc.org/search, www.onlinecounselling.com, or www.betterhelp.com.
Once you have a referral or two, call them and feel free to ask about their approach or specialties. You can also share what area of your life you want help with. You want to feel comfortable in speaking with them on the phone and/or in meeting in person; your sense of trust in your provider, along with your personal responsibility, greatly influence your success in therapy.
Not all visits to counselors are reportable to the FAA on your MedXpress FAA Form 8500. To find out more about your FAA reporting obligations or other medical certification issues, call AMAS at 303-431-4435 to speak confidentially with a medical professional.
Whether you are going through a stressful phase of life or experiencing a crisis, your ALPA benefits include resources to support you.
Pilot Peer Support (PPS) connects ALPA members with trained pilot peers to talk about any personal or professional problems you may be experiencing. PPS volunteers listen and offer confidential, nonjudgmental support. Speak with a PPS peer about any concerns that may threaten your medical certificate, career, and life. Peers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact PPS.
ALPA Aeromedical provides free, confidential consultations with medical professionals to all ALPA members in good standing. Contact ALPA Aeromedical (also known as the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service, or AMAS) at 303-341-4435 Monday through Friday 0830 to 1600 MT or visit the AMAS website.