Expat Counseling

Moving abroad is an exciting adventure but it is also a major personal and professional challenge. Without our usual support system of friends and family in close proximity, emotional issues are likely to arise or resurface.

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Typical mental health problems that expatriates may encounter include: prolonged sadness, a sense of loneliness and isolation, depression, anxiety, marital issues, grief from missing our previous life, eating disorders, existential problems, and loss of identity. These unfortunate consequences of expat life are not surprising, when taking into consideration that, according to scientific studies, the quality of our support systems and social networks is one of the most important factor for our happiness and level of well-being.

Expat Counseling versus Traditional Counseling

An important element of traditional psychological counseling, also known as psychotherapy, is to help clients create or rebuild their social support system, so that this can be a reliable and genuine source of comfort, love and support when going through challenging times – which we all go through from time to time. In expat counseling we may still need to work on existing support systems, but given that these are not present and easily accessible to the client in the host country, it is vital to help the client deal with the feelings of isolation, loneliness and sometimes sense of despair that comes from the expat life, and turn these feelings into positive and creative forces of energy instead. In other words, the client will be able to turn the disadvantages of the expat life into advantages by using his or hers creative skills and true potential.

In the course of expat counseling it is also relevant to encourage the client to establish an acceptable support system in the host country. Some expats do not wish to spend 網上心理輔導 much time and effort occupying themselves with creating new friendships in their host country, given that their current life is not a permanent one, and because they will eventually leave the host country. Instead they chose to spend their time on pursuing individual goals and maintaining their support systems in the home country. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so, such an emotionally isolated life can eventually lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety and all of the above and previously mentioned psychological problems. Human beings are social beings, and it is in our nature to need and crave the physical presence and emotional closeness of other human beings, regardless of how much we reason with ourselves that we can do without it.

Who can benefit from this type of counseling?

Expat counseling is helpful for individuals, couples and families who have relocated to a foreign country either permanently or momentarily. It is also helpful for those who are planning to move abroad in near future, or for those who are planning to return to their home country soon, as re-entry to the home culture can surprisingly also present another culture shock. Relocation therapy is also ideal for individuals and couples who have different cultural backgrounds, which can sometimes lead to unfortunate misunderstandings and disappointments between the partners. Last but not least, this form of therapy is popular with individuals who have a multicultural background and who prefers to work through their personal issues with a therapist that has a similar multicultural knowledge and insight.

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