Settling In: Living Abroad, Year One

In Member Post on November 12, 2018 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Jennifer Patterson, MA, LMFT

American Dog in PortugalThe first few months of living in a new country are full of excitement, discovery, and most likely a healthy dose of frustration. Adaptation, the act of adapting, is also known as adjustment to different conditions, and sets in around 6–12 months after The Big Move. Some things are no longer as difficult or frustrating, or you’ve given in to the idea that even though you show up when the office opens to get your ticket, you’ll probably still be there for a few hours (if not all day). You probably understand cultural norms a little better and are feeling more connected to the language and local community.

Maybe you’ve started nesting with more intent; you’ve switched to local products and are no longer wishing someone would come visit to bring you that thing you can’t live without. At the one year mark many people have a pretty good idea of whether or not they are starting to set down new roots. Do you still think about yourself as an expat, or have you started to identify as an immigrant? There is a lot of discussion about what these identifiers actually mean… many people see the term expat as referring to people who are transient, on specific job contracts, digital nomads, professional gypsies, or people who are planning to return to their home country. Immigrants are seen as those who plan to become permanent residents of the country they are living in. Read More »

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Introducing the ITD Listserv

In Directory News on July 10, 2018 by joshsandoz

Special Announcement: ITD ListservIntroduction

I am proud to announce the establishment of a brand new members only listserv for our ITD community. This email group is an electronic mailing list for members of the International Therapist Directory. What follows is a succinct explanation for the listserv purpose, how it works, and some community guidelines.

ITD Listserv Purpose:

The creation of this ITD Listserv is in service of the major secondary purpose of the International Therapist Directory: to assist the listed professional mental health therapists (you and me) both identify and connect with one another for peer support and professional development.

The main idea here is that this gives us a group email address, and whenever an email is sent to that address, everyone the group receives the email. This will allow us to share referral requests, training and resource ideas, professional inquiries, etc… to assist one another in our work. Read More »

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3 Ways to Manage Your (Expat) Expectations

In Member Post on June 26, 2018 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Robert Oleskevich, MA, LMFT

Often frustrated, disappointed, or angry? Learn how shifting your expectations can create more peace and well-being.

Robert OLet’s talk about expectations. You’ve recently moved to a new country, or perhaps you’re an expat already well adjusted to living abroad. Do your expectations influence your day to day experience? Do your expectations impact how you respond to the daily difficulties and joys of being human in a new culture? The answer is probably, yes, of course they do.

When people in a new country stare at you because you look unique or different, does that bother you? Did you expect this not to happen? When you get asked 10 times a day about your job, or if you’re married, how do you respond to that? Were you expecting people to act differently towards you? Where did that expectation come from? Maybe you are a student, and your peers are relating to you much differently than they did back home. Can you adjust your expectations to make room for this new reality?

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How online work with a “Third Culture” native speaker can be the right fit for Global Nomad clients

In Member Post on May 27, 2018 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Daniela Tomer, MA

I should probably begin by explaining where am I coming from.

Online ITDI am a clinical Psychologist who worked for many years as a therapist in an “in person” traditional psychodynamic setting. Ten years ago, I started my second global nomadic adventure at the time where online therapy was just an experimental idea. While this idea continued to grow, I couldn’t imagine myself working without sitting in the same room with my clients. It took me years, numerous life experiences and, most of all, overcoming my own resistance to dive into the developing world of online coaching.

Still, until not so long ago, I had my inner preference of meeting people at the same place, in the same time zone, getting a closer look, reacting with all my senses and not being nervous about losing the internet connection in the middle of an emotional session. Therefor it was very natural for me to ask clients, at the first session: “So why would you like to do the sessions online?” Read More »

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Living the Dream

In Member Post on March 25, 2018 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Jennifer Patterson, MA, LMFT

Patterson BlogYou’ve up and done it! You’ve moved away from your home country to shake things up, follow your dream job, pursue a romance, have a great adventure, and see the world. It’s an awesome, awe-inspiring, bold move, and quite unfathomable to some people. As you settle into your new home and start nesting, it’s exciting to realize that you aren’t on vacation, and you don’t have to leave. You meet the days’ challenges of buying groceries and finding your favorite treats with enthusiasm. You start language classes with loads of energy and come up with a study schedule. Everything is new, and exciting, and this is exactly how you wanted it to be!

And then after the month or two, you might find yourself a little cranky. Maybe you feel a little more frustrated, you’re annoyed with yourself because you aren’t picking up the language as quickly as you think you should (more on that later). Going to the butcher shop and the market down the street feels hard and exhausting so you just order a pizza – online, so you don’t have to talk to anyone. You’re tired of not understanding how things work… you finally figured out that you have to take a ticket when you go somewhere that involves a line and waiting, but how do you know if it’s the right ticket?!?!?! Read More »

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Complex identities in a changing world of new divide: Globalism vs. Nationalism

In Member Post on January 13, 2018 by joshsandoz

Daniela's BlogContributed by Daniela Tomer, MA

Identity formation, is the development of the distinct personality of an individual, it includes a sense of continuity, a sense of uniqueness from others, and a sense of affiliation. From research we learned that it is complicated enough to get a comfortable sense of who you are even if you live in one place, but what if you are exposed to several cultures and influences?

Cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to a group. It is part of a person’s self-conception and self-perception and is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, locality or any kind of social group that has its own distinct culture. Many of us thought that if we keep globalizing our economy and liberalizing our politics we would create an ideal world. The political debates and changes around the world are telling us that the current divide is shifting to Global vs. National, or Global  vs. Local. We are experiencing growing divisiveness. Read More »

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The Advantages of Being Bilingual

In Guest Post on December 24, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Clara Blázquez Booth

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.”
– Charlemagne

iStock_girlglobe000016956101XSmallIf you asked people whether they would like to be bilingual I think most people would say “Yes” without even thinking about it. Bilingualism is now generally considered something positive and highly desirable but this has not always been the case.

Until relatively recently it was thought bilingualism could be detrimental to a child´s learning and general development and there are still many myths surrounding the subject. Some people might think “how confusing for a child to have to learn two languages, poor thing!”

However, recent studies have painted quite a different picture. It has become obvious that a child can cope with two (or more) languages and even adults can learn and use a language other than their mother tongue, although, unfortunately, as we all know, this entails a bit more effort. As we also know, we live in a globalised world, where speaking more than one language is becoming ever more necessary, with thousands of people studying languages, high mobility rates within countries and many mixed couples bringing up their children bilingually. It may well be that in the future being bilingual will be a common occurrence, which hopefully will lead to a better understanding of the issue. Read More »

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Awareness and the question of change through therapy

In Member Post on November 22, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Steve Vinay Gunther

Gestalt Tao EnsoPeople generally seek therapy is as a result of some kind of disatisfaction with their life. Something is uncomfortable, unworkable, painful or stuck, and they come wanting help. International relocation often creates dislocation internally, and also in relationship. Lives that were previously relatively stable become disrupted, and cracks in marriages often get bigger in the process. Even if incomes increase and there is more help available, unfinished business and resentments tend to come to the surface.

There are many different approaches in therapy to providing help for people. Some are goal oriented, and involve an analysis of ‘what is the problem, what is the solution, and how can we get there’. This seems straightforward, and can indeed be of value.

The approach I find useful takes a different tack. Gestalt therapy is based on is based on the Western philosophy of Existentialism, and the Eastern philosophy of Taoism. In this orientiation you dont get to the goal of change by pointing directly at it. This is because often the reason you are stuck is not through lack of effort of trying. Think pf diets – many people try hard to lose weight – and it seems very straightfoward: eat less, exercise more. But people can get caught in cycles of ‘trying to change’: making progress, then slipping back, ‘despite oneself’. In that sense, good intentions and powerful techniques are not enough. Read More »

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My Deepest TCK Fear

In Guest Post on November 6, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Lauren Wells

Lauren Wells 1I first heard the term Third Culture Kid or “TCK” in high school, and simultaneously found out that I was one. While many reject being labeled, I personally found much solace in finally feeling like something explained the rootlessness and lack of belonging that I felt. I have always worn the TCK label proudly and have, for better or for worse, lived up to the typical TCK expectations- moving often, having difficulty developing deep friendships, feeling restless, not wanting to settle down. However, three years ago, my husband and I moved to Portland, Oregon. This three year stretch has been the longest period of time that I have lived in one place since elementary school, and the scariest part? We have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

I write a lot about TCKs and settling. I have said that, “The healthy TCK realizes that they have a need for change and knows that they are more comfortable with the adapting process than with the settled life. However, they have learned how to control the need for change instead of letting it control them. They are willing to be somewhat uncomfortable so that they can live a settled life in the necessary areas.” Read More »

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In Member Post on October 17, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Eileen Edwards

Sex is a hot topic all around the world. Ideas about it vary from culture to culture and this in itself can cause confusion and problems. There are particular difficulties for those who live between cultures, either because they live in a country not of their birth, or because their family values differ from those of the society around them which can be a cause of unhappiness and conflict.

One problem which can exist in all cultures is an embarrassment about sexual matters and resulting difficulty in discussing them. Misinformation is often all too easily available with factual information less so.

My aim as a psychologist and therapist with a specialist qualification in psycho-sexual problems is to provide factual information. Read More »

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