Having lived in 4 different countries, I know that immigrating to another country in search of a better life is incredibly stressful. You may have more access to education, healthcare, and jobs in your new city. However, becoming part of a new culture and making a new home is overwhelming, to say the very least. Therapy for immigrants is an excellent way to seek guidance and get the resources you need to help you through this major life transition.
Sadly, many immigrants come from cultures that look unfavorably upon therapy and mental health in general. Therapy is seen as something only the ‘mentally ill’ seek, and it is not ‘normal’ people. But this could not be further from the truth.
Therapy is not just a clinical treatment. It is also a journey of personal growth and exploration. It is a way for people to heal from personal and generational trauma, address the impact of cultural differences and manage the expectations and changes that come with the immigrant experience.
Here are just some of the specific benefits of therapy for immigrants:
Creating a new life in a new country, where there may be a language barrier, can be very distressing. So it’s common to feel overwhelming emotions such as frustration, fear, and helplessness. Children of immigrants could have adverse reactions to being uprooted from their homes, friends, and family, which could result in traumatic experiences. For both adults and children, a therapist can help immigrants recognize and process the many different emotions they are feeling.
Navigate a Foreign Culture
Learning a new language and customs and “the lay of the land” is beyond difficult. Immigrants must learn so many new things when they make the big move. And because of this, it can make someone feel insecure, inadequate, and incapable of learning so much at one time. A therapist can be that voice that reminds you that you are a whole, capable individual who is simply facing a big challenge right now. In this way, therapists are like cheerleaders in your corner, encouraging you to keep going!
Integrate New and Old
How much of yourself will you need to change to fit into the new culture? How much of your roots and ‘old identity’ can you keep present in your new life? Therapy for immigrants can help you find the right balance so you can integrate these two parts of yourself.
Seeking help and guidance does not make you weak or mentally ill. It makes you human. If you’d like someone to speak with who can help you navigate this challenging time in your life, please get in touch with me.