Have a Flight Plan Before your Exam

There are three interlocking pieces to an aviation psychiatry assessment.
Part 1 of 3: The Psychiatric Exam
Meeting your psychiatrist begins, not ends, the psychiatric assessment.
Part 2 of 3: Reviewing Records
Depending on the regulatory issue, records in your case may be weighed equally to the psychiatrist's opinion. Neglecting background records is a common failure point.
Part 3 of 3: A Report that Addresses Part 67 Regulations
A psychiatric report that does not address Part 67 regulations or medical standards for aviators can lead to the FAA's denial or deferral of your case.
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Valuing Speed Over Efficiency

Prioritize how quickly the FAA can decide your case, not how quickly you schedule an appointment
The FAA may make decisions in 90 days with a clean case and a compliant report. A fumbled case gets denied. Murky cases can take years to resolve.
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Regulatory vs Clinical Medicine

The FAA uses regulatory definitions over clinical diagnoses.
Definitions in Part 67 take first position. If an issue is undefined in Part 67, then standards for pilots - not general patients - are the key.
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Disrupted Prognoses

Keep a stable treatment plan. Stopping care does not make your case look better.
Ending years of counseling or an SSRI does not make your case your look better. You've now created a variable of unpredictability.
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Secrets

Failing to disclose something critical will hurt your case.
For example, if you deny treatment at a psychiatric hospital but your records show different, your case may have a fatal error.
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No HIMS AME when Required

Did the FAA require you to get a HIMS AME?
For some issues, a HIMS AME is required. If the FAA recommends a HIMS AME without requiring it, that's an important clue to do it anyway.
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Incomplete Mental Health Records

The FAA's standard is that the psychiatrist review ALL treatment records. Not summaries.
A counselor's summary takes decision making authority away from the aviation professional. The therapist unwittingly gets placed at the heart of a federal review.
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The Fine Print

Read everything from the FAA, your HIMS AME, and aviation psychiatrist carefully.
Often the FAA's thinking and certification plan is placed clearly into print. If not, there are still clues in the text. Use every information advantage you can.
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DOT vs FAA Requirements

DOT Part 120 rules define standards to clear a positive test. They are not equal to FAA Part 67 medical standards for pilots.
You have to cover both obligations. DOT addresses HR/workplace issues but not the medical standards for aviators.
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