Being an expat myself in the last 18 years I have been working primarily with expat clients. Both my PhD research and my Masters' dissertation are written on the topic of understanding the uniqueness of stress related to expatriation and on optimizing treatment.
Expatriates leave behind family members and friends, familiar activities, religious centers, jobs and schools. These losses can be ambiguous and difficult to express, leaving individuals confused and unable to fully identify the sources of their grief. The geographic distance adds stress: availability of a support network in the home country diminishes and friends’ and families’ visiting the hosting country can add stress. In isolation and absence of a support network, what may start as minor issues in daily life (e.g., trouble with school, transportation, language) may altogether evolve into anxiety, irritability and a feeling of helplessness. Emotional ambiguity can also be triggered by job ambiguity; When job roles are ambiguous, role ambiguity adds on to the negative impact on the adjustment. For couples, relocation can be taxing at any life stage. It is considered by social workers and health professionals to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. As for children, moving into an unfamiliar environment introduces an array of challenges that are often overlooked by the parents. Those are extreme psychological conditions that every expat is familiar with.
Through my work and personal experience, I also learned that employers, surrounding society and local support systems are often not familiar with the challenges, either due to cultural gaps or lack of knowledge and sensitivity thus often only adding stress.
I would be therefore understand well the personal and environmental conditions that you cope with and will be able to help manage related stress and provide the tools to regain control over your life.
In 2018 I graduated my Doctorate studies in Clinical Psychology, wit specialization in couples therapy.
My research topic is :"Art therapy as a Tool for Treatment of Couples’ Dynamics in Relocation"