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Kathy Marshack News

Neuro-Emotional Technique - Effective Treatment for Traumatic Stress in Cancer Survivors

Monday, October 23, 2017


Neuro-Emotional Technique - Effective Treatment for Traumatic Stress in Cancer SurvivorsWe’ve known for a long time that a positive attitude is imperative to healing. The brain/body connection is powerful. Here’s a connection you may not be aware of – not only does your mind hold memories, your body does too! And if it’s a bad memory it can have a terrible effect on your health.

Take for example how people who have suffered from cancer still have physical effects after completing treatment. The stress of having this disease has caused a trauma that they haven’t been able to properly process or extinguish.

Physician researchers at The Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Thomas Jefferson University wanted to see if Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) could help reduce the symptoms of traumatic stress in cancer patients. This study really interests me because I’ve seen time and time again how NET, a holistic therapy, has helped many individuals find and remove unresolved stress patterns, so the body and mind can heal itself.

They studied 23 cancer patients “who expressed a distressing cancer-related memories that were associated with traumatic stress symptoms” for six months or more. They were divided into two groups. Some participants received NET and others were put on a waiting list and were used as the control group.

Each group received a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while listening to the story of their distressing cancer memory – scanned before and after NET.

The results?

Before NET “the fMRI scans in both groups showed significant increases in the bilateral parahippocampus and brainstem. After NET, reactivity in the parahippocampus, brainstem, anterior cingulate, and insula was significantly decreased during the traumatic stimulus.”

Yes! NET calmed down the areas of the brain that react to traumatic memories and stress!

The researchers noted, “The results of this study were really quite dramatic. In just four to five brief sessions, patients who received NET reported much less distress, their overall emotional state improved significantly and the way their brains reacted to stress cues normalized.”

NET has not been a standard intervention for cancer survivors, but I believe it should be. If you know of someone still suffering from the traumatic stress of cancer, or any other trauma, please share this article with them so they too can find relief.

As a NET practitioner, I’ve seen how it helps people live happy full lives again. I’ve even had great success with using NET to help those with Aspergers connect the dots. I find it’s more effective than talk therapy or exposure therapy.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment.

How to Cope When a Narcissist Is Running the Family Business

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


If a narcissist is in charge of your family business it can be incredibly difficult to deal with, but there are things you can do to copeThere are narcissists everywhere and they fall on a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is the charismatic leader who, besides an inflated ego, isn’t that hard to manage. On the other end is an individual who genuinely has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This person is manipulative and easily angered, especially when they don’t get what they consider to be enough praise and attention.

It’s one thing to deal with a narcissistic boss at work. Theoretically, at the end of the day you can leave him behind and focus on your own life and family. Things get trickier when the narcissistic boss runs the family business. You can’t just leave that work and enjoy your family – they are your family.

So how can you cope when there is a narcissist running the family business?

Assess if the person truly is narcissistic. Narcissists have an egotistical preoccupation with themselves, their preferences, their needs, and their successes. But just because your family member in charge demands respect or sometimes enforces policies you don’t like, it doesn’t make them a narcissist. However, if they are completely absorbed in themselves, especially to the detriment of others, you are likely dealing with more than just high self-esteem.

Look for the root of the problem. Did this person have to overcome extreme trauma or hardship to get where they are today? Often a “survivor entrepreneur” will manifest narcissistic tendencies born from their circumstances. They had to depend on themselves to such an extreme degree to overcome poverty, lack of parents, illness, or disabilities that they have trouble giving other people a role in their success. Sometimes this quality is an extreme reaction to feelings of vulnerability. If you look honestly at a person, you will likely be able to find something that contributed to the development of their me-first attitude.

See the good. The traits that make a narcissist difficult to handle are likely the same traits that drove their success. Appreciate the good things they do and the ways in which they are making the company succeed. If you can re-categorize their traits as positive instead of negative it will go a long way toward making them easier to deal with.

Communicate openly and honestly. I say this regularly, but it bears repeating. When you work with your family, unresolved emotions can complicate the business relationship. Families in business together need to take the time to communicate regularly, openly, and honestly. You may need to express how their actions make you feel. Even if they don’t respond well, it will help you feel better to take a stand for yourself. (If you’re too afraid to speak up, then it’s time to get professional help from a therapist.)

Focus on yourself. You can be happy if you keep your focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. You can’t make your family member change their personality. But you can continue to work on yourself. It’s not easy when it comes to a family business but remember that sometimes the healthiest choice is to walk away. You can work elsewhere!


Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder has severe Empathy Dysfunction (EmD). This is characterized by an “all-about-me” attitude. It manifests as thoughtless, self-absorbed behavior, and rends contemptible harm. My upcoming book delves into Empathy Disorders and what you can do to protect yourself from people who can’t or won’t demonstrate empathy. To stay up-to-date on it’s release sign-up for my newsletter.
 
If you are dealing with a person with extreme narcissism, you would greatly benefit from therapy, as an individual or as a family group. Please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach and offer online therapy if that’s a better option.

How to Foster Stewardship in Your Family Business

Monday, October 16, 2017


Family businesses, like the families who run them, go through various stages of development, ultimately reaching the “stewardship” stage.Why did you start your family business? Or why did you choose to carry on the legacy of generations before you? Have your goals and motivations changed and developed over the years?

Your business, like the family that runs it, also goes through different stages of development. There are three stages of growth for a family business:

  1. Entrepreneurship. This is the stage of early innovations, niche formation, and creativity. Long hours, endless enthusiasm, and determination make for a dynamic environment.
  2. Ownership. There is a need for stability and security to nurture the family. During this stage, the family business structure becomes more formalized and institutionalized.
  3. Stewardship. This offers the family business the opportunity to give something back to the community. At this point, employees and family members, especially those in line to take over the business, feel an intrinsic commitment to the success and reputation of the firm. Stewards of the family business nurture it so it endures and grows, and know enough about the company and its strategies to make good decisions.

Entrepreneurs who start a family business want and expect their business to reach the ownership stage. It’s a sign of success and accomplishment. But as the business grows, it’s beneficial to look forward and reach for the stewardship stage as well. Why?

Family-owned firms are influential in the community. How the family manages its wealth and influence can have a major impact on society. You must go beyond simple economic theory to understand this influence. The values of the family and the culture of the family business can have a tremendous social impact, not only on the quality of commerce but on the community as a whole.

Also, when family members and employees are motivated from the inside out to see the business succeed, they are happier workers. Happier workers are more productive workers. It benefits the business to employ persons who are invested in the company personally.

A sense of stewardship is also necessary when planning for succession in the family business. Succession planning typically focusing on selecting good management, but the development of strong owners is critical. Without a culture of stewardship, good management can be sabotaged by entitled owners. Entitlement leads to passiveness about how the company is run and managed and an unwillingness to reinvest in new initiatives.

Through successful stewardship, your family business can build a strong legacy. So how can you foster stewardship in your family business? Here are some ideas:

  • Set the course. Make sure everyone involved knows their purpose and their part in the business achieving success.

  • Create a collectivist culture. Ideas are welcome. Teamwork is a must. No one is in this alone. Encourage constructive criticism.

  • Insist on clarity, transparency, and consistency. Model these qualities for your family and employees.

  • Focus on both short-term and long-term success. Show the need for consistency between short-term actions and long-term goals.

  • Build infrastructure for the future. This can include employee retirement plans or bonuses.

  • Give back to the community. Some family businesses start a charitable foundation. Others donate time or resources to help. Look for ways to give back.

Just as with legal and financial decisions, the emotional or psychological aspects of planning for the future of your business often requires the assistance of a professional. I have worked with many families in business as they grow and move into the stewardship stage. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach or take advantage of online therapy.

How to Decide Which Kind of Therapy Is the Best Option for You

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


If you picture therapy as laying on a couch talking about your feelings, then you need to read up on some of new therapeutic approaches available.What do you envision when you think of going to therapy? Do you picture someone lying on a couch while a psychologist sits next to him with a notepad and pencil in hand? While some approaches do utilize this method, there are numerous types of therapy that can be used to help you overcome challenges. In all cases, the goal of therapy is to provide an environment that allows the client and therapist to work together openly and honestly toward a mutually agreed upon set of goals.

If you are considering starting therapy, know that there are many different types of therapy you can utilize. The success of any therapeutic approach depends on the needs of you as an individual. For this reason, many therapists use elements of several approaches. Your therapy should feel comfortable to you even as it challenges you to progress and develop.

Understanding how different therapies work and operate will help you determine whether your needs are being met, or what type of therapy might give you better results. Here are a few of the many types of therapy available to you that I have found to be particularly effective for many clients:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This type of therapy addresses the way people think. The techniques are designed to change faulty, irrational thinking into more constructive, solution-oriented thinking.

Often people are stuck because they have a belief from childhood that keeps them from living the way they wished they could. During Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you are confronted with these beliefs and offered a new way of thinking about them. For example, just because your parents were divorced, does not mean you are incapable of learning the tools necessary for maintaining a satisfying relationship.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is usually considered short-term therapy. The reason for this is that the therapist is focusing on a specific problem. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been used successfully with a variety of issues from depression, to low self-esteem, to relationship dysfunction, to phobias, and anxiety. Once that problem is resolved, the therapy is complete unless there are other issues you with to work on.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – This is a complex model of human communication. Essentially, there is a formula regarding how persons take in sensory impressions, organizes their impressions through memory and decision-making, and then translates those impressions into a response. NLP utilizes specific interventions and communications to change those responses to be more positive.

This system of therapy that enables people to reach more success in their chosen endeavors.  Goal-setting, negotiating, problem-solving, and creating become more streamlined and successful when you are equipped with a structure and formula to follow.

NeuroEmotionalTechnique (NET) – This type of therapy treats behavioral and physical conditions through identifying and removing the neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress. Normally we process stress and let it go. Sometimes, however, a disruption and imbalance occurs.

For example, you drive in rush hour traffic daily, automatically taking evasive action or jamming on the brakes when necessary. Your hands may sweat, your heart pumps faster, adrenaline rushes through your body. Your body engages its “fight or flight” response. But after the event ends, you calm down and forget it.

However, when something disrupts this natural letting-go process, your body may produce that same stress reaction when it's triggered by a memory. Often you'll be unaware of the connection. This unresolved stress can cause physiological problems such as pain, allergies, and headaches. It may also cause psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.

A NET practitioner can pinpoint your very real physiological response (such as a racing heart and profuse sweating) to a stimulus (a situation that brings up the unresolved stress reaction memory). Once the system is brought back into balance, your mind and body can heal, relieving you of the symptoms caused by your unresolved stress.

Clinical hypnosis – This is a process used for treating psychological and physical problems. Through hypnosis a person achieves a relaxed state in which their conscious and unconscious mind become focused and ready to receive therapeutic suggestions. When used professionally, hypnosis is safe, relaxing, and refreshing.

Hypnosis can be used to assist you in resolving smoking and weight control, fears, depression, anxiety, stress, sexual problems, alcoholism, pain control, confidence building, memory and concentration, retrieving repressed memories, even to facilitate physical healing.


The first step is to get in contact with a trained therapist who can help you set goals, pinpoint what you want to work on, and formulate a treatment plan just for you. Please contact my office to set up an appointment. I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we could talk in person. Or take advantage of my online therapy option if that is a better fit for you. I can tailor therapy to your individual needs and goals to help you reach your full potential.

Parents - How Do You Know When Your Teen is Depressed?

Monday, October 09, 2017


1 in 5 teenagers will suffer from depression, so it is vital for parents to stay alert to these signs of depression in their teensDo you have a moody teen at home? With all the pressures and changes teens face as they grow up, it is expected that they will experience intense feelings of frustration, anger, or sadness from time to time. This is a normal part of growing up.

Sometimes, though, their anger or sadness are signs of a bigger problem – depression. While no one wants their child to have to deal with something severe like depression, it is estimated that 1 in 5 teens will suffer from depression at some point during their teen years. It’s so important for parents to stay alert to signs that their teen could be dealing with it.

How do you know if your teen is depressed? These are some common signs:

  • Irritability, anger, or hostility

  • Sadness, hopelessness, or discouragement

  • Frequent crying

  • Negative thinking and highly critical of self and others

  • Withdrawal from family and friends

  • Loss of interest

  • Poor performance in school

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits

  • Fatigue or lack of energy

  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Unexplained aches and pains

It can be hard for parents and other adults to know when a child is depressed. An irritable or angry mood might seem like a bad attitude or disrespect. Low energy and lack of interest might look like not trying. Parents may not realize that these can be signs of depression.

Depression also tends to look different in teens than it does in adults. Irritability is usually the predominant mood in depressed teens, as opposed to sadness with adults. They are also very likely to complain of unexplained pains like a headache or stomachache. Adults will often isolate themselves completely if they are suffering from depression. Teens are more likely to isolate themselves from their parents, but still maintain some of their friendships.

If you see some of these signs in your teen, but are unsure if they really signal depression, think about how long the symptoms have been happening, how severe they are, and how different your teen is acting from his usual self. Continuous unhappiness or irritability, for weeks or months, it is definitely not normal, and should be addressed.

The good news is that depression can get better with the right attention and care. Here are some steps to take if you think your child might be depressed:

  • Talk with your child about depression and their moods. Teens might ignore, hide, or deny how they feel. They might not realize they’re depressed. Even if they act like they don’t want help, talk with them anyway. Listen without judgement. Offer your support. Show them and tell them that they are loved and needed.

  • Schedule a visit to your teen’s doctor. The doctor will probably do a complete physical exam. A full exam lets the doctor check your child for other health conditions that could cause depression-like symptoms.

  • Contact a mental health specialist. A therapist can evaluate your child and recommend treatment. Parental counselling could be part of the treatment, too. It focuses on ways parents can best support and respond to a teen dealing with depression.

As an experienced family therapist, I can help you and your teen get through this difficult time. Please contact my office to set up an appointment. I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we could talk in person. I also offer online therapy if it is more convenient for you.

Infidelity in the Family Business? How Therapy Can Help

Wednesday, October 04, 2017


With infidelity, therapy is key to finding the root of the problem fixing it from the inside out to mitigate the effects on the family and business.Infidelity - it is a fairly common problem that doesn’t get addressed often enough. Of course, what goes on in a marriage should be private and a couple dealing with infidelity should be given space and time to work out their next steps. But it is not usually that simple.
 
Infidelity can cause aftershocks that affect the lives of many people, not just the marital partners. When a family is part of a larger system such as a family business, the people affected include not only family members, but also employees, vendors, customers, and others who play a role in the family/business system.
 
As much as those engaging in infidelity may think they are being discreet, eventually those around them find out. Even if they can’t quite put their finger on exactly what’s going on, they will pick up on the deception and secrecy. Deception makes people uncomfortable, and uncomfortable people make mistakes. This leads to more stress in the workplace, and the problem will spill out to customers, vendors, and clients.
 
Many people see infidelity as a moral issue, but it may be more useful to see it as a problem of practicality. Infidelity destroys trust not just between marital partners but among those who know the people involved. This type of behavior can be very harmful to your business in terms of respect and market share. It can also influence your employees. Deception in the upper levels of the company could foster that quality in others.
 
The key to mitigating the effects of infidelity on the family and business, and to preventing it from happening again, is communication. Among families in business, because of the need to be supportive, nurturing and protective of the family, sexual improprieties are often covered up. However, avoiding conflict and ignoring infidelity can lead to serious problems. Issues can fester, and progress isn’t made. In order to get to the bottom of conflicts and move forward, you must confront the issue.
 
Communication is vital to understanding why the infidelity happened in the first place. The first step would be for the couple dealing with infidelity to speak with a professional psychologist. Infidelity is a symptom of a deeper problem that needs attending to. The really difficult part is figuring out what the symptom is telling you. The last thing the person engaging in infidelity wants to do is discuss their misbehavior, but talking about what happened and why, is exactly what is needed to get to the root of the problem.
 
Eventually other members of the family business may need counseling as well. The natural tendency of all families, whether they are in business together or not, is to cover up problems with the idea that doing so will keep the family safe. A professional psychologist can guide the family toward solutions that work instead of ignoring or hiding the problem. Your family can benefit from the objective guidance of a professional trained in helping families heal and rebuilding trust in the workplace.
 
If this comes up in your business, the minute you get wind of the symptom of infidelity, confront the problem immediately. Don't cast blame, but talk openly and honestly about what the real problem is. If the person is a family member, this is easier said than done! If you need advice on how to handle infidelity in the workplace, please know I have worked with many families, including families in business, on this very issue.
 
Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment, or try online therapy if that is best for you.

Male and Female Differences in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Monday, October 02, 2017


Have you ever wondered if you’re autistic? Do you wonder about your daughter, your mother or your sister? After living with an Aspie for a few years, you may be a bit quirky yourself. Tragically, girls are typically under-represented in studies and treatment programs for high functioning autism, because they do look different.

In fact there’s emerging research that demonstrates that women on the Autism Spectrum have different brain organization than men on the Spectrum. For example, ASD women and girls seem to have more access to some of the empathy circuits in the brain. Not as much as NT women, but enough that they also are quite confused and suffer in relationships with ASD males.

Current estimates of the ratio of ASD male to female is 4 males to 1 female. However Simon Baron-Cohen suggests that once female ASD is diagnosed effectively, the numbers will change to 2:1. Right now females tend to get diagnosed for ASD only when they’re low functioning. More often than not they’re receiving alternate diagnoses like ADHD or OCD.

Have you noticed the differences between male and female Autism? Or would you like to discuss this topic further? If you’re a member of our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD meetup, be sure to register for the free, international Teleconference: Male and Female differences in Autism Spectrum Disorder on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 2:30 PM PT. We’ll dig into the research on girls and autism. Bring your personal examples. Even if you have no experience with women and girls on the Spectrum, you’ll gain insight into your male Aspies by comparison.

Other resources:
NPR’s Morning Addition: ‘Social Camouflage’ May Lead to Underdiagnosis of Autism in Girls.
Barry Carpenter Education pdf
What is it like to be a girl with autism?
“Putting on My Best Normal”: Social Camouflaging in Adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions

Do you suspect that one of your female family members has undiagnosed autism? With a proper diagnosis, you can begin the process of helping her live a better life. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

You can read my story and that of others’ in my book, Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD). Click on the image below to download a free chapter.

How Adverse Childhood Experiences May Be Affecting Your Health Today

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


How Adverse Childhood Experiences May Be Affecting Your Health TodayHas your physician ever asked you if there was a childhood trauma or stressors that might be contributing to the extreme level of inflammation you’re experiencing today? If not, they should be according to authorities on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).

Yale researchers discovered that when inflammatory stress hormones flood a child’s body and brain, they alter the genes that control stress reactivity and re-sets the stress response to “high” for that person’s entire lifetime! This increases the risk of inflammation and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, irritable bowel disease, migraines, and autoimmune diseases.

They’re not alone in their conclusions. A 1996 Kaiser Permanente-CDC Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) links childhood stress to adult illness. In fact, over 1500 peer-reviewed studies have replicated these findings.

You can read an informative article by Donna Jackson Nakazawain about how ACE contributed to her own health crisis. Here are some highlights from the article…

Two-thirds of Americans report experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences. People who’d experienced four types of ACE are twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer and depression as adults. Women who experienced three types of ACE have a sixty percent greater risk of being hospitalized with an autoimmune disease. Suffering six types of ACE may shortened one’s lifespan by twenty years.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) can include:

  • sexual abuse,
  • physical abuse,
  • witnessing physical abuse of parent or guardian,
  • suffering from economic hardship,
  • divorce or separation of parents or guardians,
  • depressed, mentally ill, or suicidal parent or guardian,
  • parent(s) or guardian who abuse alcohol or have a drug addiction,
  • death of parent or guardian,
  • imprisonment of parent or guardian,
  • witnessing or experiencing neighborhood violence,
  • and even being the brunt of belittling parent(s).

The Kaiser Permanente ACE Study showed that the type of trauma doesn’t matter as much as the number of types of different trauma experienced. When physicians acknowledged and validate their patients’ childhood trauma, they can help them begin the healing process mentally and physically. I’m so pleased that some medical schools are finally training students to recognize the link between ACE and adult disease.

If you suspect that Adverse Childhood Experiences are making you sick, please speak with your physician as soon as possible. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and you’d like to learn how a holistic approach can help you heal, please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. If it’s more convenient, I also offer online therapy.

Read more on my website: Holistic Health.

Why Do Those with Asperger’s Syndrome Say the Strangest Things?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Here are four reasons why your Asperger friends or family members sound like Mr. Spock when they’re sharing their feelings, and what you can do about it.Have you ever noticed that your Aspie friend or family member sounds like Mr. Spock when they’re sharing their feelings? So unattached and impersonal. Why is that? It’s because people with Asperger’s Syndrome have a disconnect between cognitive empathy and emotional empathy. Many also have Alexithymia, which contributes to a disconnect between understanding their own feelings and finding words to tell us what they’re feeling.

In addition to that, Aspies also have developed a belief system as a result of living in a world where others make no sense. For example, have you noticed how they draw a conclusion based on one experience and hold to it forever, no matter how much you plead with them that it’s no longer true?

Another confusing element is when they’re trying to chit-chat but can't remember any important information about the person they’re talking to…as if this is their first encounter? They could be talking to your aunt or the next door neighbor and be totally clueless.

It's like a primary school child who is learning to read and only sounds at the words. By third and fourth grade most children are starting to gather information from their reading, not just dutifully reading words on the page. Our Aspies seem stuck in first grade when it comes to social interaction. They have a few basic rules of engagement but haven't mastered the depth of connecting with others.

Some of you may not care why they say the strangest things, or you may have given up trying to translate. However, some of you are still trying to understand the unfathomable logic and language of our Aspies. I actually think the key to our mental health comes from understanding their disability just a little bit better. This enables us to detach and not take so seriously the odd, hurtful and sometimes mean things they say.

If you’re a member of our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, be sure to register for the October Video Conference: Why do Aspies say the strangest things? There are still opening for this low-cost, hour-long session on either Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 3:00 PM PDT or Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 9:00 AM PDT. Please bring your questions about this phenomenon. I bet you have insights too.

Would you rather have a one-on-one session with me? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. Or if it’s more convenient, I also offer online therapy.

Expats – Be Prepared for Mental Health Challenges Abroad

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Along with joy relocating to a new country can bring frustration, anxiety, and depression, so prepare for these mental health challenges before you go.Have you decided to make a move abroad? Maybe you have accepted a job in another country or are moving to participate in volunteer work. An adventure like this is full of excitement and opportunity. But to be successful, you have to prepare yourself for the challenges that can come along with it.
 
Some of the challenges you may face as an expat include:

  • Living in a place where few people speak your language. To be constrained by language barriers is isolating. Even when you have some grasp of your new language, fluency takes time and the process can be frustrating.

  • Adjusting to a new environment. Your new area may not be as safe as your previous neighborhood, limiting mobility and walks alone. Or maybe your spouse is working, leaving you to fend for yourself during the day. Unfamiliar foods and lack of access to the comforts of home can cause stress.

  • Understanding and adapting to new cultures and customs. Learning what is proper and acceptable in another country can be a long process. When you aren’t familiar with local customs it can lead to frustration and embarrassment. 

  • Being separated from family and friends. If you want to grab lunch with your mom or a friend they are all back in your native country, and phone calls can be expensive! It can also be upsetting if you have to miss important life events, milestones or beloved holidays.

This combination can lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, or depression. In fact, expats experience a significantly higher risk for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems than their domestic counterparts. This was highlighted in a recent study that showed that expats are at a higher risk for mental health problems.
 
These feelings can quickly derail what should be an exciting, engaging, and interesting chapter of your life. They can lead to poor job performance, marital problems, and physical health issues.
 
What can you do before embarking on your journey to prepare yourself for these challenges? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Identify both the strengths and weakness that change brings out in you. This awareness will help you maximize your strengths and not be blindsided by your weaknesses.

  • Let go of the idea that life has to be a certain way. View change, big and small, as an opportunity to grow. 

  • Do research. Find out as much as you can about the country, city, and neighborhood as you can before you move. If possible, visit before your move so you have some idea of what to expect. Talk to people who have made the same move or a similar one.

  • Learn some basic phrases in the new language. Having a greeting and some basic sentences you’ll need on a regular basis memorized before you go will help you feel more comfortable in your new environment. It will also make it easier to pick up the language.

  • Plan ahead to see family and friends. Plan a definite time to come back to your home country for a visit or have loved ones come visit you. Schedule phone calls and video chat sessions. 

  • Find a therapist. You may come to realize that you could really use the help of a therapist to navigate your transition to a new life in a new country. 

On the point of finding a therapist, how you do you find one in a new country? It can definitely be a challenge. Depending on where you are going, there may not be that many qualified therapists in your area. The local therapists may not speak your language. And in a small community, the local therapist could be someone you interact with in other circles. It can be uncomfortable to open up to someone who has connections to your outside life.
 
What if you could have a qualified therapist who speaks your language, and who is available at the touch of a button? I offer a service that provides exactly that! My Remote Counselling Services for Expats utilizes a HIPPA compliant, online video program to connect us, no matter where you are in the world via video conferences, I can help you navigate the unique situations that you face and find a healthy way to cope with your new challenges. Please take advantage of this unique service so you can get the most of your international experience and your life!


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