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Expatriate Services

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Hello. Hola. Bonjour. Hallo. Ciao.  你好.  こんにちは. Привет. مرحبا.  नमस्ते.

Welcome to our dedicated counseling services for expatriates, where we understand the unique challenges and experiences that come with living away from your home country. We are committed to providing a supportive and empathetic space for individuals and families navigating the expatriate journey. Michael D. Wade, PhD is experienced in addressing the emotional, cultural, and interpersonal aspects of expat life. Whether you're dealing with homesickness, adjusting to a new culture, managing work-related stress, or seeking support for personal growth, we are here to help you find balance, resilience, and a sense of belonging while abroad. Explore our services designed to empower expatriates on their path to emotional well-being and fulfillment

Cross Cultural Expert Counseling
Cross Culture Living - Culture Shock

As you navigate the uncharted waters of expatriate life, our counseling services offer a steady anchor, providing the support needed to thrive in the diverse and ever-changing currents of cross-cultural living.

What is culture shock?

When a person spends an extended time in a culture different from their own, they usually experience Culutre Shock. Short stays generally only trigger the first phase of Culture Shock. The signs and symptons of Culture Shock include: - Homesick - Lonely - Sad - Helpless - Disoriented - Confused - Depressed - Anxious - Isolated - Irritable - Angry - Annoyed - Fearful - Sleep problems (too much/not enough) - Failure feelings - Drinking too much - Eating too much - Inferiority - Addictive behaviors

What are the phases of dealing with Culture Shock?

There are (4) phases when people deal with Cuture Shock. Let's dive into the phases one experiences with Culture Shock. Phase (1): Feeling interested, excited, engaged, happy, euphoric, or superior. In this phase the difference between one's own culture and the new culture is new and does not seem attacking or judging. The emotions that are triggered are mostly pleasant. But based on thinking about culture that is uninformed, and pleasant feelings of superiority, do not seem to be a problem. Phase (2): Feelings become angry, irritable, annoyed, impatient, and emotions of feeling judged, criticized, devalued, unimportant, and wrong about everything. The cognitive part of us tries to make sense of the difference. Who is right, who is wrong, who is good and who is bad. The person displaced into the new dominant culture has so many voices saying you are wrong. Over time you gain enough understanding of the new culture that it is saying they are right, you are wrong; they are good, you are bad. Any feelings that come from a comparison of your culture versus the other culture like feeling better and superior become stronger. At one point you must do something abut this. The next phase is the change point. Phase (3): The change point. This phase can be called the "Reframe". Your unpleasant emotions are telling you the tension between the cultures no longer is working for you. You need to reframe how you look at both cultures. The first reframe is to lose the duality of good/bad, right/wrong. No culture is all right or wrong, no culutre is all good or bad. This allows you to choose to keep your cultural way or adopt another cultural way. It allows you to change your thinking to accomodate a set of beliefs or menu of beliefs given the circumstances. One new option is to keep your cultural way while allowing others to have their own way and beliefs. There is no one right way, only differnet ways. In this evaluation you may discover that you were judging the new culture as much as they were judging you. Reframing your culture and the new culture generally and specifically begins. This process allows you to move to the next level. Phase (4): The Emotional Retest. How does my new reframe feel to me? Our emotions are self-referent. They tell us how we are doing with our new change points. Can I look at myself and feel good about me? Can I look at people in other cultures and feel good about them just as they are? We can go back and forth between phase (3) and (4) until we are emotionally good.

Is Culture Shock Normal or Abnormal?

Culture Shock is normal. It is not a sign of mental illness. The feelings of depression and anxiety aren't clinical, they are situational. As human beings we are supposed to have emotions when faced with life situations. Our emotions tell us how we are doing with people, relationships, circumstances, situations, work, and life. If we do not like how we feel about a situation we can change how we think about it until we find a framework that works for us. We do not have to be victims of our own emotions. Feelings follow thinking. If we do not like how we feel about anything we can change how we think about it until our emotions reach a point where we are ok emotionally. This is the process of adaptation.

Who Experiences Culture Shock as a Group?

Expatriates are the group of those who decide to leave their own country and move to another country to live, work, study, or retire. They are faced with interfacing with other cultures. Culture Shock is a normal part of life.

Self-Help for Those Struggling with Culture Shock.

Built into the four Phases of Culture Shock is the self-help process. Once you identify the emotions you do not want to continue, you can go to the change point, look at how you are thinking about it, and ask yourself the question how I can choose to think about this in a new and different way. and then retest if this moves the emotion. Emotions are self-referent and as we change how we think, our emotions will chnage. We can get stuck thinking we must continue to think the way we have. All our emotions tell us is whether our thinking works for us or not. If not, we can change how we think. Rarely do we know the absolute truth about anything, we only know the possibilities, and these can choose to change.

Professional Help for Culture Shock

Some may benefit from help with adjusting to culture shock from someone who has successfully been through it. We are offering help for those who are struggling with it. Also, many are in relationships that are cross-cultural. Again, cultures can clash and having help to reframe can save relationships. Using distance work can help a lot. The problem of maladjustment is about changing our belief system to accomodate other cultural beliefs. We offer premium chat, E-Mail, texting and phone to help with reframing and retesting emotions.

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