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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