Archive for the ‘Member Post’ Category

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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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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SEX and RELATIONSHIPS

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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Reverse Culture Shock: What Is It + How Do You Cope?

In Member Post on July 28, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Kim Roberts

If you’ve spent time living abroad, you have probably experienced some level of culture shock. Life as an expat expands your horizons, and also exposes you to new ways of being in the world. Culture shock is a well-known phenomenon that occurs when our existing set of beliefs clash with the current environment. It takes time to adapt to strange customs. But not as readily discussed is the trauma many experience after coming home—reverse culture shock. Returning to our country of origin can be more challenging than leaving home in the first place.

As an American, I experienced this acutely on my return from my first trip to India. For some inexplicable reason, I chose to visit a friend in Arkansas just a few days after I landed.

I remember looking into the eyes of one shop clerk, then watching his mouth move, trying with all my focus to hear what he was saying. My ears had become accustomed to South Indian pidgin English, and his Southern country drawl was absolutely incomprehensible.

This is a superficial version, but many features of reverse culture shock are far more deep rooted. Read More »

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“If I can eat, I feel OK.” 「食べられれば大丈夫」

In Member Post on April 18, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Cécile Buckenmeyer, Jungian Psychotherapist

nature-fashion-person-womanThe interview

On a September morning, in suburban Manchester, I meet Yoko and her two-year old son. We sit in a conservatory furnished with plain, Ikea-style table and chairs; I accept her offer of a glass of water. I came to interview Yoko about her experience of moving to the UK. She arrived four months ago. “My husband was sent to the UK for two or three years”, she says. When I ask her what helps her cope with this transition, she explains that food is very important for her and that, as long as the food is OK, she feels that she can live here: “If I can eat, I feel OK”.

A month later, at our second interview, we discuss what helps Yoko feel comfortable in the UK. She replies that she switches the Japanese TV on in the morning and listens to the news: “I don’t fall behind; I keep up with the Japanese news.” She also uses Facebook, which gives her a sense that she is in touch with friends. She does these things mindlessly, knowing that “they don’t serve any purpose for her life in the UK”.

When, two months later, I go for a third and last interview, Yoko is more confident speaking English and asking questions. She has been able to have short conversations with her daughter’s teacher. As we say goodbye, Yoko tells me that she has appreciated my visits: “I don’t have contact with people from outside the house. So, one week is long. I find myself waiting for Saturday when I can be with my children and husband. It was good to have a bit of change in my daily life. ” Read More »

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Endings are part of the path we walk……..

In Member Post on March 20, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Dawn Purver, Diploma Psychotherapeutic Counselling

Dawn Purver OneIn the early hours of a morning I waved goodbye, once again, to my two eldest sons; one journeying back to UK, and the other beginning his own adventure in Bolivia.

As the vehicle disappeared into the darkness, my heart broke and the tears flowed once again as I embraced the feelings of separation, and acknowledged those all too familiar feelings of loss of being a family together.

As cross cultural workers; endings, separation and loss are a frequent part of choosing this path.  The pain that accompanies saying goodbye is often fresh and frequent.  We learn to negotiate transition and letting go, perhaps more than in many other types of work.

Occasionally we can plan our goodbyes, and sometimes we cannot.  Easier to prepare for an airport goodbye, but difficult with a friend dying from aids in Africa, and impossible for a loved one gunned down in Syria. Read More »

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Expat Couples: Make it or Break it?

In Member Post on February 14, 2017 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Viktoria Ivanova, M. Ed., Expat Therapist

Expat Couples: Make it or Break it?

Happy facesMoving to a new country by yourself can be both exciting and difficult. Moving to a new country with your spouse and kids can exaggerate these associated emotions even more. The new challenges that you face as you journey together through this change can often make or break a relationship.

Presenting Concern:

As a therapist for expats, I quite often meet with men and women who share the same confronting struggles. These are people who choose to accompany their spouses to a foreign land where a great job opportunity is presented, and effectively rendering themselves a stay-at-home partner.

Upon arrival, they find themselves limited to the roles of a parent, a homemaker, and a spouse. Quite often, the non-worker in the relationship feels a loss of identify as the diversity of their roles in life diminish. For many, moving abroad meant quitting a job or resigning a career, and at the same time removing themselves from a social structure that comforts them. Basically, this meant their career-related creativity, productivity, and skills had to be packed in a box and put in storage along with their other cherished belongings.

Through my practice, I also meet with stressed and over-worked partners who feel overwhelmed by their new professional positions, who are often confused by their spouses’ frustrations and complaints, making them feel like outsiders in their own family. Read More »

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English-speaking counsellor with a special focus on relationship issues in the home and at work

In Member Post on December 31, 2016 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Lindsey Anderson

[This ITD Guest Post was originally published on www.knowitall.ch.]

Lindsey AndersonAs the festive season approaches, it can be a tough time for many people, especially expats who don’t have the benefit of family nearby to draw upon for support.

Even those with a vast network of family and friends can feel lonely at Christmas as everyone seems far too busy with their own festive preparations to concern themselves with other people’s worries.

At times like this, it can be helpful to call upon the services of a professional therapist, trained to help clients manage the wide range of daily issues that can prove particularly challenging, not just at Christmas, but on other occasions throughout the year as well.

One English-speaking therapist, who was recently recommended to us, and has a special interest in relationship issues in the home, family and at work, is Lindsey Anderson.  Having been married, divorced, a working mum, a stay-at-home mum, self-employed and re-located several times herself, Lindsey knows how difficult it is to juggle the roles of parent, partner, professional, wage earner and non-earner.

Lindsey told knowitall.ch, “I know how difficult it is to be your true-self when you’re juggling so many different roles and conflicting emotions. sometimes it just gets too much and you need someone to help you untangle yourself.” Read More »

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Preparing the Family for a Move

In Member Post on June 28, 2016 by joshsandoz

Contributed by Dan Martin, MS Psych

MakeYourMovePreparing the family for a move may conjure images of stacks of boxes and phone calls to utility companies. While those logistical matters are a key part of making sure that the move goes smoothly they only address a portion of the necessary tasks. I’m reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs from the days when I used to teach Psychology to university undergraduates. For those who missed that class the idea behind his theory is that we all have different levels of needs as individuals for us to survive or thrive. Some of the basic levels focused mainly on physiological needs e.g. food, shelter, water and the like. The next level moved on into safety. The more advanced levels addressed things like emotional and social wellbeing. When preparing for a move we may follow a similar path. We may secure housing, sign up for water and electrical service. Once we have that sorted the next task may be to obtain insurance so our precious belongs are protected against loss. The final area to address may be the tasks necessary to assure our emotional and social wellbeing at the new location. Read More »

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