Expatriate Issues

Colin Matthews, the lead psychologist in Erko Psychology, is from the UK but also holds dual Australian nationality, having spent a number of years living in Sydney. He therefore understands the impact that moving to another country can have on you personally and on your relationships with your partner and your children.

Colin has helped many expatriates from all over the world (including Vietnam, Israel, Turkey and Cambodia) overcome problems associated with their move. Recent studies have indicated that expatriates are more than twice as likely as local residents to experience depression and anxiety and have a higher chance of becoming stressed and irritable with the country and people around them including family members.

Given that 4-10 people living in the UK in every hundred are likely to suffer depression every year, this puts expats at a risk of around 8-20 percent. It is really important therefore to consider what makes expatriates resistant to both internalising (leading to anxiety and depression) and externalising (stress, anger, irritability) their problems and to encourage them to seek support where required.

The types of issues that expatriates are likely to experience include the following:

• Loss of normal interests & activities

• Loneliness

• Isolation

• Lack of family support

• Lack of friends

• Loss of security & familiar things

   • Routine
   • Social life
   • School, university, work, friendships

• New environment

   • Unfamiliar culture
   • Lack of local knowledge
   • Language difficulties
   • Experience of being ‘foreign’
   • Less shared interests or history in common

• Unfamiliar rules – learning curve from understanding parking rules to getting a mortgage

• Potential loss of social or professional status & loss of income

• Relationship Difficulties

   • One partner happy, the other upset and lonely
   • Different agendas
   • Different experiences of new life
   • Adjusting to new life at different paces
   • Lack of supportive friendships & family

• Difficulty with children adjusting

   • Bullying at school
   • Change school of curriculum
   • Loss of friendships, status, confidence, self esteem
   • Loss of extended family

• Children and/or grandchildren in home country

Psychologists can help with the above problems and help you settle into your new life and enjoy the many benefits that England in general, and Dorset and Hampshire in particular, have to offer. Often a single session with a psychologist can help to normalise your experience and give sufficient support to allow you to begin to make sense of your feelings and take positive steps to overcome your difficulties.

Please contact Erko Psychology for further information and to make an appointment.