Latest News - Psychotherapy & Counselling
Posts Tagged: expat
This month Maria contributes to the Expat Living article entitled “We All Have Issues.. What helps and who can you talk to?”
Maria discusses Counselling for Expats:
As an expatriate, you may be more likely to need counselling than someone who stays put in their home town, surrounded by the support of long-time friends and family, confirms MARIA LUEDEKE of Aspire Counselling. She herself uses a collaborative approach, she says, to help her clients develop self-efficacy, resilience and self-empowerment through their innate strength and abilities.
“Expats are in a constant state of transition and adaptation as we are continually moving in and out of each other’s lives, changing social groups and establishing different norms,” she says. While this can be exciting, continuous change in the absence of traditional support structures can make expats more vulnerable to loneliness and isolation, creating distressful situations and triggering mental issues.
Some Danger Areas
- Worries about ageing parents are intensified when thousands of miles separate us from them; the same goes for our own adult children who may be going through difficult times.
- A sense of impermanence and instability can arise from the unpredictability of expat assignments. “Expecting to stay only for two or three years, they simply exist in their adopted home, instead of fully investing in it and creating meaningful connections,” explains Maria. Anxiety about the future can make us reluctant to engage with others, so we end up isolated and depressed.
- Pressure to perform can lead to excessive stress, especially for high-achieving expats whose companies have brought them here for their valuable skills. As a result, they sometimes neglect themselves and their families, or turn to problematic coping mechanisms such as drinking, drugs or unhealthy relationships. “People may act in ways they would never consider acting in their home country, as they feel a sense of anonymity and entitlement.”
- Family structures can be strained by school changes, work changes, social changes and extended separations between parents and children and spouses, be they for work or leisure. Be aware, too, of the possible consequence of replacing parental supervision with that of domestic helpers.
- Marital issues can develop or worsen as you adapt to new environments, new roles and different cultural expectations. Long hours, excessive travel, the frustrations inherent in setting up life in a new country, and perhaps the loss of a former career, can lead to loneliness, to temptation, to anger and to resentment.
It’s commonplace for expats to ask one another for referrals to dentists, hairdressers, tutors and such – “but there is still a degree of taboo when it comes to asking for the name of a good mental health practitioner,” says Maria.
“Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health and share information and knowledge,” she urges, and don’t suffer in silence. “Reaching out for help – be it face-to-face counselling or video-conference-based online counselling – can make all the difference in successfully navigating the challenges of expat life.”
Working with Aspire Counselling
If something in the above article resonates with you and you or someone you know needs support at this time then Maria Luedeke at Aspire Counselling is ideally placed to help. As a seasoned expat, mother and highly trained Psychotherapist Maria will be able to relate to what you are feeling and help you understand the next steps you should take. You can instantly book an appointment with Maria online today using our booking page or by contacting Maria via our contact page.
You can read the full article from Expat Living Singapore at:
The photo and words used in this post are reproduced from the content of the article that appeared originally in Expat Living Singapore
Life was never intended to be an incomplete difficult jigsaw.
Although it sometimes feels just like that. A little extra help can be useful when you are needing to find direction in your life or to put the pieces of a puzzle together.
By talking about what you are experiencing to an experienced Psychotherapist you can often find the clarity you need and find your own way forward. At Aspire Counselling we focus on helping you realise your goals and living an empowered, fulfilled life.
We are excited to reveal that Maria has been named an Expatpreneur by The Finder Magazine in their 2017 awards.
Read about what makes Maria an Empathetic Counsellor in The Finder
The following is an extract from Finder Magazine:
This month, we’re celebrating the successes of savvy expatriates and Singaporeans, as well as the setbacks they overcame, to make life better in Singapore in our Expatpreneur Awards 2017.
Having lived all over the world since childhood, you can trust that expat Maria Luedeke, Owner and Counsellor of Aspire Counselling, can empathize with her patients regarding not only expat stresses but also the myriad other issues in life.
Maria is a member of several professional organisations such as the American Counselling Association, the William Glasser Institute and the American Psychotherapy Association.
She opened Aspire Counselling in 2016, and works with all ages and genders, couples and families and even corporate clients.
Columbian by birth, adopted at five weeks and a naturalised U.S. citizen, Maria resided in cities such as Rome, Tokyo and Hong Kong during her childhood.
“I grew up as an expat kid,” she says. “I moved about every four years!”
Perhaps that’s what makes her so empathetic and effective as owner of Aspire Counselling.
Maria credits her husband for helping her make the leap to business ownership.
“Don’t let fear hold you back from what you really want. My husband challenged me by asking, ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail again?” she shares. “That has helped to spur me on when I begin to have any doubts.”
“The level of expectation of services provided is very high and pushes me to strive higher and work harder,” says Maria about Singapore.
However, she feels that Singapore supports women entrepreneurs, in particular. “Everyone from my bank to the office landlord, to my contractor bent over backwards to help me when they heard it was my first start-up.”
“As a therapist, there are times when I am emotionally drained or unsettled by certain cases,” she confesses. “I use exercise, yoga and my friends and husband to ensure I am practising good self-care.”
Life as an expat, trailing spouse in Singapore isn’t what you expected?
Many of us have heard the terms expat wife and trailing spouse. But what are the unique challenges faced these people. And when difficulties arise, what can you do about it?
Trailing spouse is a term coined to describe the spouse or partner of someone who relocates for work away from their home base. Sometimes a couple or a whole family move overseas. The trailing spouse can be a wife or female partner, or even a man.
Relocation brings with it a change of culture, distance from friends and family, and new beginnings. New friends, new food, new opportunities, but often also new stresses and challenges.
Many have been through this process, and many have had an amazing successful journey. But, many have found it challenging. How people deal with the challenges faced can define whether the posting overseas is a successful or negative one.
A new expat life full of hope
When starting the relocation journey, there is usually hope and optimism. There may be reservations, but the exotic location, career benefits, high salary etc. win over. Moving tends to go well at first as employers cater for our every need. First or Business class flights for the family, hotels and service apartments all help to keep us distracted whilst settling. The luxury of the new surroundings and exploring the new location, it can seem idyllic at first. New places to eat and drink, or even the distraction of helping the kids settle in their new home and school. Reality can take a while to sink in.
Dealing with the change associated with expat life
For some, the move may take place without any real consideration as to how the change will affect their own and children’s lives. For a while, you might not even notice or understand how it is affecting you. Expats can be surprised when things settle down and the excitement of the move is replaced by normality. Normality that may be accompanied by disappointment and emotions that weren’t expected.
Spouses may at times just follow their partner, taking a passive role and becoming increasingly dependent in the process. For others, the new surroundings can be intimidating, leading to them cutting themselves off, preferring instead to hide away and stay at home. There can also be challenges establishing one’s own identity in the new place. In too many cases, infidelity can rear its head, leading to disappointment, distance and even separation. When infidelity occurs, trailing spouses can be left debating the pros and cons of putting up with it, or returning home. Never an easy choice. Worse still if children are part of the expat scenario.
And for many, there comes a sense of grief. Even if one enjoys the new life, there can be a very real sense of loss associated with the move. Leaving behind family, friends, familiar situations etc. can be difficult.
Learning how to manage the changes in your life
Despite the challenges of life as a trailing or expat spouse, it is very possible to have a fulfilling and successful life. Achieving your goals and dreams should not be put on hold whilst you live overseas.
Self-care, keeping occupied in a fulfiling way, finding work, making friends, exercising regularly, eating well, moderating alcohol intake, learning the local language(s), study etc. These are all techniques that can help with finding identity and fulfilment in the new home.
Sometimes the difference between success and failure will come down to how you manage the change. It can also depend upon how you maintain your own identity. You may find that this is something you can’t do alone. You should not be afraid to discuss this and ask for help when necessary. You’ll find that you are not alone, and many have, or have had similar feelings and learnt how to manage them.
You are not alone – finding help
If you recognise yourself, then you may benefit from talking to someone who is professionally trained and experienced at handling such scenarios.
With professional support for you and/or your partner achieving your goals is a real possibility. Professional support can also help you find your own identity. It can help you decide for yourself what decisions you should make and discover what changes in your life will help you get what you need. Professional support can also teach you techniques to help you cope and manage how you feel.
If you are in need of help as an individual, couple or family, and wish to discuss this further then you may wish to book an appointment with Maria Luedeke at Aspire Counselling.
Maria Luedeke is a highly qualified counsellor who has lived and worked in America, Europe and Asia. Maria has extensive experience providing counselling to trailing spouses and expats in Singapore, as well as working with relationship and marital issues.
#expat #expatlife #trailingspouse #depression #relationships #relationshipissues #aspirecounselling #singapore
“You look at me, and you’d never know
– Because, if you took a look at me from the inside, I would look completely opposite.”
The above excerpt by Liz Spenner writing in The Mighty, highlights the difference between what she feels and what others see.
If this is you and you need help, do contact us at Aspire Counselling, we are centrally located in Singapore and understand what you might be going through. You can contact us or book an appointment ( face to face or online ) via our website www.aspirecounselling.net, or call us on 65702781