Obtaining Security Clearance

Mental Wellness is Key to Mitigating Psychological Issues

There is much discussion on the forum about whether or not counseling or taking medication for a mental illness would prevent you from obtaining or holding a security clearance.  Myths continue to permeate and cause those needing help to hesitate in seeking it out for fear of losing their eligibility. That should not be the case and we need to do a better job at communicating this information out to the public. In the Adjudicative Desk Reference (ADR) under Psychological Conditions it specifically states that an emotional or psychological condition does not in itself preclude holding eligibility for a clearance. Rather, it looks at whether or not the condition affects the person’s judgment, decision-making, reliability and trustworthiness.  Focus for mitigation is on It is how the person deals with or adjusts to an illness, the severity, treatability, and the unbiased opinion of a medical professional.

Without getting too deep into it here, for those interested, read the section in the ADR and you should come to the conclusion that going to counseling or taking medication for a mental condition is not the death toll it may once have been. In fact, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has put together a very informative presentation called “Mental Wellness” that uses well known public figures as examples and provides interactive modules full of anecdotes and advice from medical professionals. Never be afraid of seeking help for emotional or mental problems because by doing so, you are helping mitigate any concerns that may exist from an adjudicative point of view. And of course, be honest about it!


  1. I know of a number of coworkers who are now or have in the past been in therapy to deal with death, divorce, issues with their children or parents, PTSD and many other issues. There isn’t one that I don’t trust because of this.