By psychologist Jane Dodding
Q: Hi, I need advice about my husband. He's worked away for a few years and everything used to be great. This year he is really struggling with homesickness and has become very focused on coming home. I am trying to be positive and supportive but I would like some advice about how to help change his thinking pattern and look on the bright side. He has always been a very tough guy and when I say to him "you will be right, you are strong" he replies with "I’m not so sure". Any advice would be greatly appreciated as it is taking its toll on me, worrying about him. I really feel it’s not depression, as he is very happy but just missing home.
A: Thank you for getting in touch and I’m sorry to hear your husband is struggling being away from home at the moment.
It is wonderful you are being so supportive and providing him with an alternate, positive perspective. I often use positive psychology strategies to help people enhance their emotional intelligence and resilience and as a preventive measure and to thrive.
There is an article here on the website which explores this topic: check it out here.
Your idea of providing your husband with some tools to evaluate his thinking is a good one. Have a look at Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). There are some online self-help programs worth exploring that provide guidance. Mind Health Connect is one website that provides some of the programs available.
There are also some smart phone apps that might help. Click here for 10 apps for iPhones. There are also apps for Android – you just need to search on your phone.
Experts believe that self-help programs work best when used in conjunction with therapy and/or medication, so your husband might want to consider brief therapy to support and guide his work and progress if he chooses to use a self-help program. If I can be of assistance with therapy please contact me.
I hope this provides you with some ideas. Take good care.
We offer a free email Q&A service with our psychologists, so just click hereto ask a question about relationships, parenting or your career. Please allow one week for a personal email response. Please also note that Q&As may be published on the Mining Family Matters website to help other families coping with similar challenges, however all names, locations and identifying information will be removed to ensure your anonymity.
Mining Family Matters aims to break down the barriers of isolation and the stresses of living away from family and friends. Although this website provides general advice from a psychologist and practical tips from mining families, the content should never be regarded as a substitute for professional health services or crisis services. Always speak to your doctor or specialist provider for advice on a specific medical condition. If you are depressed and require urgent assistance, call 9-1-1 or visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website at www.cmha.ca.
Jane Dodding is a highly experienced psychologist based in South Australia. www.mindsplus.com.au.