Counseling and Psychotherapy in English
We live in a progressively globalized world. The international travel, business, relationships flourished over the last fifty years to unprecedented level for humanity. The exchange between different countries and cultures brings numerous advantages, but it also creates multiple difficulties. Every traveller had at some point encountered the culture shock, felt misunderstood or appalled by differences in norms and traditions of others.
But despite the drawbacks of cross-cultural exchange, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks and living in non-native country, creating a family with a person of different nationality, bringing up children in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual environment becomes a new normal.
However, it is also important to recognize many stresses associated with traveling, getting settled in foreign country or developing relationship with partner from different culture. Two primary components of the expat lifestyle are high mobility and cross-cultural living.
Each of those experiences put at test our ability to cope with changes, thus it is very common to go through an extended period of painful adjustment.
Individual Expat Counseling
Living overseas is exciting! Nevertheless, the life of an expat is not all glamour: there can be loneliness away from the support of family and friends, frustration not being able to communicate as well as being misinterpreted, shock adapting to a different set of values and customs, and so on. Those things in mind, it becomes increasingly important for an internationally mobile person seeking mental health services to work with someone who has a good enough understanding of these common expat dynamics. In terms of warning signs, if someone you know well begins to act markedly different from how they usually behave, it is likely that they are experiencing some kind of stress in life with which they are having real difficulty coping. There is no need to struggle alone, a qualified professional can assist you to adapt quicker and with less pain.
The counseling might involve such issues as loneliness, depression, boredom, panic attacks, activated addictions, loss of self-esteem, cross-cultural dating issues, marriage conflict, trailing spouse resentment, Third Cultural Kid identity issues, career decisions, etc.
Mixed Couples Counseling
Another recent phenomenon of globalization is the rise of mixed couples. We tend to be fascinated by what is not usual or familiar. Therefore, when we move to a different country, it is hard not to be attracted by those who have skin color, traditions and values strikingly different from ours.
However, this difference not only creates the interest, after some time, it could also become a source of tensions, fights and even the reason for separation. Mixed couples attract a lot of unwanted attention and question multiple stereotypes about nationality and race. So, it is important to be prepared for challenges.
First, couples with different mother tongues often have communication problems. They have to use a neutral language (often English) which can create misunderstandings or make it difficult for one of the partners to express oneself properly. Second, such couples often need to make sacrifices in order to stay together, because at least one of the partners will probably have to move to the partners' country or to a neutral one. Third, mixed couples often find that their expectations about gender roles, relationship and family life are clashing because they grew up in different cultural backgrounds.
However, those couples which make effort to maintain a dialogue and build understanding of each other by giving less importance to their cultural expectations and more weight to their desires and needs are capable to bridge those dividing challenges.
A therapist can be useful in this process, since with the support of a professional you can go deeper into specifics of your situation, uncover subconscious cultural expectations, calibrate emotional expression, become more sensitive to your partner and of how you two can build a harmonious relationship.
Living overseas as expats away from the support of home, can make the marriage worse. During transitions such as a move, change of job or income, family problems, or in times of stress, anxiety or depression, a marriage that was already feeling some stress can come close to the breaking point. Move means many changes for families, including new work, school and living environment. Culture shock upon arrival launches a rollercoaster of emotions as we get used to new sights and sounds. In the business of setting up a new home, it’s possible to miss the signs that adjustment isn’t going so well. Often, such life transitions can involve seasons of isolation and complex grief, unearthing intense feelings that require significant care and thoughtfulness.
Expat wives are especially vulnerable to stress, since most of them sacrificed their own professional life and personal friends to support career of their spouse. The men often have a lot of responsibilities and even though they struggle through their stress too, at least they are busy and plugged into new professional network. Wives stay at home with children and feel neglected like they have lost their husband and their best friend, when they moved to another country. They do not have a support system already built in and they have left behind the one they had at home.
Thus, most common issues in expat families are affairs, fighting, distance and unhappiness. A few sessions of marriage counselling can often help to relieve this stress and put your relationship back on track. It is focuses on communication, resolving conflicts, establishing family values, intimacy and work-partner balance.
Expat children are also highly affected by the transitions between places and cultures. Their lives are often so rich and filled with privilege; and yet, we cannot ignore the fact that for those who grow up as third culture kids, their lives are filled with chronic cycles of sudden and severe separation and loss. They not only lose a friend here and there, they lose a whole world along with those they love. When these losses are not acknowledged it becomes unresolved grief. Grief that is not acknowledged and left to fester deep in the recesses of the soul becomes depression, anger or anxiety.
Besides the layers of unresolved grief, the TCK may be experiencing depression due to their feelings of isolation in their current situation and struggling in forming meaningful relationships in their current environment. They may not have the emotional energy to walk through the process of making friends and small talk, but yet they long for a more in-depth relationship with someone within their community. They often fear the other person will reject them or they fear they will have to once again tell another friend good bye and it just does not seem to be worth it. For many TCKs their “eyeball to eyeball” friendships have only been for two to four years, as someone always moves to another part of the world. They just do not know how to maintain a long-term friendship.
The most serious warning signs that child struggles include experiences of incessant ideation about or gestures toward harming self or others, and in those instances, professional help should be sought out immediately. For parents wondering if a child may need therapy, http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/when-children-need-therapy.aspx contains a helpful list of concerning symptoms.
Child counseling can help such kids by flushing out those hidden losses and celebrating those wonderful joys and experiences in their history, guide them in long-term relationships, improve relationship with parents and siblings, help them grief and find a good position in a new life.
Benefits of therapy
There are many excellent reasons to engage with a therapist. Some enter therapy to have a completely confidential space in which to be curious about self, explore deeper questions, and pursue personal growth. Major times of transition often spark intense feelings, questions, and concerns, and meeting with a therapist while making significant adjustments can be quite helpful.
However, many people seek out a psychologist when certain life struggles become simply unbearable. These struggles can be interpersonal (relationships with others) or intrapersonal (relationship with self).
Psychotherapy begins with one or more preliminary meetings, called consultation, interview or diagnostic meetings. Sessions usually take place at a weekly intervals and last 55 minutes.The therapeutic work might be contracted both on an open-ended basis or for an agreed time period.
Psychotherapist accompanies you in the process of introspection, in a careful analysis of sources of anxiety, problems, suffering. Attentive listening helps you understand better your needs, feelings and limitations. With this, your adaptivity and freedom of choice will expand, enabling better reactions to interpersonal and intrapersonal stress. Therapeutic sessions are private and confidential.
My name is Anatolii Ignatusha – I am a Marriage & Family Therapist, Psychotherapist and Sexologist. I have extensive experience helping individuals and couples cope with crisis situations, build solid relationships, and achieve happy, fulfilling lives. I am a graduate of Stanford University (MSc) and a member of European Association of Gestalt Therapists.
I have made a successful business career before becoming a psychotherapist, so I am well aware of expat life stresses as I worked for multinational companies, took multiple overseas assignments, moved between cities and countries with and without family. Having lived in four different countries and travelled in many others, I am used to understanding and respecting cultural differences. My experience and background enable me to work with expats, families, mixed couples, international clients in Ukraine or anywhere via Skype.
Counseling and psychotherapy options
The meeting can be arranged in person in our office at following address:Kyiv (Kiev), Kirilovskaya Street 31b. (near Tarasa Shevchenko subway station)
Alternatively, the session can be conducted via Skype.
For inquires and appointments call or write to:
Phone: (+380) 95 832 23 86
Therapy and Counseling in English for individuals (55 minutes) - $50
Therapy and Counseling in English for couples (55 minutes) - $70
Therapy and Counseling in English for a child (55 minutes) - $50
Payment can be made in cash, via Privat24 or PayPal.