Expats | Relocation Therapy
Relocation therapy & counseling for expats & newcomers
You finally got everything unpacked, even this last box of pictures and memorabilia. As you go through it, you're feeling a mix of joy and sadness.
Then, it hits you: the distance with your friends and family… the unfamiliarity of your new surroundings… and the loneliness. You're wondering if you made the right decision. A sense of panic takes over.
You miss your old life - Cultural shock anyone?
You moved to a new city, state or country (expat) to start fresh, work, study, or be with your partner.
The first few months you stayed busy creating a new home, or adjusting to your new work/study environment. After going through a phase of excitement, you realized how much you miss it all. What was exotic and interesting at first has turned into an annoyance. (Check my free culture shock quiz to know how "culture shock" you are.)
If you're the EXPAT PARTNER/NON-WORKING PARTNER, you're probably overwhelmed by: all the logistics of settling in, the cultural differences to navigate, or the kids to manage alone. You had to give up part of your identity, your career, your social network and your financial independence. You don't really know who you are anymore and that's scary.
If you're the EXPAT ASSIGNEE/ WORKING PARTNER, you become overwhelmed between the stress of your new job and the stress at home. You try to be supportive of your partner during this transition, but it doesn't seem to help. You start feeling drained, powerless and stuck.
The Challenges of being an Expat
Expats have to deal with very specific challenges on a practical level (navigating the health insurance system, the school system, learning the language, cultural differences…) and psychological level.
You may also experience some:
- Insecurity due to the cultural and language barriers you experience professionally and socially.
- Lower self-worth if you’re the expat partner and you lost part of your identity that was tied to your employment status.
- Stress and anxiety from the complexity of the everyday tasks that you used to accomplish automatically back home.
- Loneliness and isolation without the strong social connections you left behind, and without knowing how, or having the time to find your new tribe. (The Skype chats with your friends and family back home are bittersweet, leaving you hungry for connection.)
- Inadequacy for struggling with all of the above, when you’re a strong, independent person.
- Increased tension in your relationship as your partner becomes your only source of support.
- Emotional outbursts as you build up frustration, sadness and resentment.
- Tiredness physically and psychologically.
Cross-cultural counseling in Denver CO and online counseling (etherapy)
The good news is that what you're experiencing is very common when it comes to expats or people relocating, and with the right support and guidance, you should get through this transition in your life.
You arrive at a choice point:
You can either ignore what you feel and continue to pretend you’re OK and hope for the best that at some point things will get better.
Or you can take action now, get the support you need to get through that time faster. You can gain some tools to manage your stress, improve your relationship, re-invent yourself, have a social life and a better work-life balance.
I work with individuals & couples coping with the challenges of relocating / expatriation and repatriation, especially when they experience:
- personal and relationship stress
- culture shock
- reverse culture shock
- identity crisis
- Traumatic experiences
If you're struggling with any of the above, I can help you:
- Find more balance and joy in your life and relationships.
- Heal from past hurts you're still carrying.
- Have a better understanding and appreciation of what it is that happens when we adjust to living abroad – to avoid feeling like an outsider.
- Know your stress and learn to manage it.
- Redefine your identity & self-worth as separate from your employment or social status.
- Find clarity on what your core values are and how to use them to guide you in creating a purposeful life.
- Establish personal & meaningful connections with like-minded people.
My cross-cultural training, and experience living on three different continents and throughout the United States make me particularly sensitive to those issues.
I know how difficult it can be to adjust to a new culture or lifestyle, rebuild a circle of friends and feel connected in a new community. I also know that the joys and pains of life are experienced at a different level when your friends and family are far. Yet, I believe that with the right support, you can overcome these challenges and thrive in your new environment.
(And if you've just relocated in the Denver area, or are planning to do so soon, check the section Moving to Denver for practical info.)