10.53 ALec Freeman in SHADO HQDr Jackson has been unavailable for consultation this month. He was due to go on holiday, and was about to arrange a replacement ‘Consultant’ for this very popular ‘Problem Page’ but he has been transferred at short notice to the McMurdo Sound base to help with the research into lice infestations in bumble bees. Commander Straker simply grunted when the Herald editors requested further details.

However, Colonel Freeman did give us access to Dr Jackson’s Consultation Suite where we discovered the following correspondence, which we are sharing with our readers.


Confidential note to : Dr. D. Jackson FRCPsych. FRCGP. MClin

My claustrophobia is getting more severe. I need you to give me some therapy before it gets to the stage of affecting my work.
Confidential note to: C-in-C E. Straker

Commander. Complete the enclosed assessment and return it to me forthwith. I can then devise an appropriate treatment, involving one of the following therapies: Cognative, In vivo or Introspective Exposure, depending on your results.


Confidential note to: Dr. D. Jackson FRCPsych. FRCGP. MClin

Here is the questionnaire, with my answers .

How anxious do I feel when I think about confined spaces?
a. Not in the slightest bit bothered
b. Somewhat anxious
c. Very anxious
d. Extremely anxious

Answer: Skydiver Extremely anxious

Here, give your first instinctive answer. How serious is your claustrophobia? 10 being the most severe.
a. 1 to 3
b. 4 to 6
c. 7 to 9
d. 10

Answer: Skydiver 10

How bad are your symptoms?
a. Uncomfortable
b. Difficult to manage
c. Severe
d. affecting my health

Answer: Skydiver Affecting my health

Do you imagine situations involving confined spaces in your mind?
a. Never
b. Sometimes
c. Most of the time
d. All the time

Answer: Only when I think about Skydiver All the time

How has this affected your relationship with your family, friends & co-workers.

Answer: What family? What friends? Don’t mention Skydiver No. Not really. Not that much anyway.

Write a brief comment about the impact this is having on your personal life.

Frankly Jackson, this dammed phobia is causing me a load of aggravation. I would do anything to be rid of it. Anything, do you understand?

Confidential note to: C-in-C E. Straker

Commander, The best therapy I can advise is the following: In Vivo exposure. This method encourages patients to face their fears by complete exposure to whatever fear they are experiencing. This is usually done in a progressive manner starting with lesser situations and moving upward towards severe exposure, but in your case I would advise total immersion in a small and closely confined situation.

Several studies have proven this to be an effective method in combating various phobias, claustrophobia included. S.J. Rachman has also tested the effectiveness of this method in treating claustrophobia and found it to decrease fear and negative thoughts/connotations by an average of nearly 75% in his patients. Of the methods he tested in this particular study, this was by far the most significant reduction.

I suggest that you look for an opportunity to visit one of the Skydiver submarines with a view to spending a few pleasant hours on boards, perhaps to familiarise yourself with the ship and its crew. I am sure that the experience will enable you to overcome your rather irrational fears, especially as we all know how safe the Skydivers are. I look forward to discussing the effectiveness of the treatment on your return.
Dr. D. Jackson FRCPsych. FRCGP. MClin


Confidential note to :Dr. D. Jackson FRCPsych. FRCGP. MClin

Thank you Doug. I have taken your advice and arranged to go with Foster to visit Skydiver.It should be a relatively easy trip, just a few hours to see if we can find out why that freighter Atlantica 4 went down. I am sure that the voyage will be rewarding and informative, and give me a chance to get to know members of the crew better.


Confidential note to : Dr. D. Jackson FRCPsych. FRCGP. MClin

Just wait until I get out of hospital Jackson. Your miserable life will be XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX (deleted by the editors)

Straker Drafted.

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