Culture Shock and Homesickness Counselling
Leaving your country and moving to a different region is like starting a new chapter in your life. Especially if you have spent the majority of your life in your home country, then this transition can be an adventurous one. Although a new culture brings lots of opportunities, it also brings some difficulties too. Culture shock is one such condition expats experience. So, let’s take a look at homesickness, what are its signs and how you can treat it.
Culture Shock and Homesickness
Culture shock can be defined as the feelings of unease, nervousness, and anxiety people experience when they move to an area with a different culture from their own. Social norms vary significantly across different countries and regions. So instantly change in your lifestyles such as new local customs, foods, languages, and behaviors can be intimidating and take lots of time to properly settle into.
You will also start to miss your previous lifestyle and it can be paired with the unease of your new environment to make things more difficult for you. Culture shock is a common phenomenon among people who travel abroad for business meetings or change their countries completely. Being away from the security of your home and suddenly put into a whole different environment can cause some sense of unease in almost everyone.
You are suddenly shifted into a new environment so you will not feel the same sense of control as you had before. Culture shock is a common phenomenon and usually, it subsides on its own as time passes. However, in some cases, it can get worse with time and even lead to depression.
How to find a Culture Shock & Homesickness Therapist
If you are looking to find the perfect Culture Shock & Homesickness therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a Culture Shock and Homesickness therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.
The signs of Culture Shock
Culture shock affects everyone differently so individual experiences differ vastly from one another. Although symptoms can vary, they include:
- Feelings of boredom and nervousness.
- Feeling lost, isolated and helpless.
- Withdrawal from socializing (e.g spending too much time at home playing videogames and avoiding going out).
- Frustrations and irritations over small disturbances.
- Feeling homesick and longing to be back home.
- Criticizing and despising local customs or ways of doing things.
Stages of Culture shock
Culture shock includes the following stages:
- The honeymoon phase: You feel very adventurous and positive for your new environment.
- Irritability: You start to experience issues with the new culture and how it’s making things difficult for you. The different ways of doing things feel stupid to you and you start becoming frustrated.
- The Gradual Adjustment phase: You slowly start to get used to this new environment and things start to make sense. With time, you feel more balanced and accustomed to local traditions.
- Adaptation: You feel a new sense of belonging to the host culture.
- Re-entry shock: As you’re now better adjusted to this new culture when you return to your homeland, things don’t feel how you expected them to be. You feel a new cultural shock from your previous culture.
Causes of Culture Shock
Culture shock and homesickness are caused by a number of sudden changes. Some of them are:
Unfamiliar social norms
Suddenly, your language, greeting styles, body language, facial expressions, and other day to day customs are now replaced with something you are not used to. This initial change in social interactions can trigger symptoms of culture shock.
Specific regions have specific environmental factors. In some cases, these factors can be entirely new such as with toilets, two countries may use different procedures that can be alien to newcomers. The same goes for the type of dresses they wear, climate, altitudes, foods and cooking habits, etc.
Fitting into a new place can be hard enough, on top of that, having financial concerns can make things even more difficult. Housing, finding a job, affording food and appliances, etc can add stress to your experience.
A different culture means you no longer have physical access to your previous social circle. This increased sense of loneliness can make things more difficult for you.
Treatments for Culture Shock and Homesickness
Culture shock is normal and will usually subside after some time. However, if you are having serious difficulties then you can always consult a therapist. Online consultation is always available and you can also book an appointment with your therapist from homeland through online consultation.
Therapy aside, here are a few things you can do on your own to minimize culture shock.
Understand and accept
You have completely changed your lifestyle and the people that surround you. Some shock and stress are expected during this time. See it as a part of the process and understand that it will slowly go away as you spend more time. So there is no reason to worry about it.
Meet new people
Try to socialize and make new friends as much as you can. Having new friends will help you better adjust to your new environment and it will also help beat boredom and loneliness.
Instead of spending your extra time in your home all day, try to explore your area and the new culture you just entered. Start a new hobby and try to get a knowhow of how things work here.
Keep in touch with your home
Once a while, call your family and friends and have a chat with them. Don’t do it too often as it can make you more homesick. But occasionally keeping a check on your friends and family will help you improve your mood.
Try not to have a critical view of how things work in the new environment. Being open-minded will help you see things from the perspective of local people and this will help you adapt better.
Culture shock is almost an inevitable process when you enter a new environment. It is a part of the process but it usually goes away on its own with time. You can always consult a therapist online for finding better ways of coping with your new environment so you can adjust properly and feel more at home.
Further Readings on Culture Shock & Homesickness
About Expat Therapy 4U
Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.
The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.
Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.
We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.
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