Online counseling for expats, also known as “e-counselling” or remote therapy, is a relatively new field that continues to grow. The American Psychology Association (APA) has recognized online treatment methods since 1995. There is now a body of research showing that both clients and therapists find online counseling to be just as effective as in-person (FTF) counseling, particularly for certain types of disorders. There is even an educational journal, the CyberPsychology Journal, that reports on such research.
The expat online counseling terminology above has been used to refer to counseling or therapy via email, online chat, internet phone and video conferencing. I have found video conferencing counseling to be particularly well suited to working with expats who may live in an area where there is minimal or no access to an experienced and certified English speaking therapist.
It’s safe to say that most expats are Type A individuals. They have high-level jobs, possibly as diplomats or senior executives in multinational companies. We find that their couples are also more likely to be Type A personalities. One of the qualities of a Type A person is a perfectionist streak which regularly leads to fear as being perfect is difficult. We’re just not built that way.
Expat spouses also often get the impression that everyone but them seems to have everyone together. They build an ideology of being a super mom (or super dad) in the expat community to appear strong and self-reliant.
Many of these spouses left their own high-profile professions to follow their husbands or wives abroad. As it is often difficult for a spouse to work abroad, it can result in a loss of identity, which can often lead to feelings of self-esteem and depression.
The materials, as well as my own expertise, support the fact that online expat counseling is just as effective as FTF therapy in dealing with depression, anxiety, relationship issues and eating disorders. Research has shown that the quality of the connection between client and therapist is the most important single variable in predicting a positive therapy outcome.
I have also found success in online marriage counseling with video chat for expat online counseling. It’s fascinating to observe that the couple has to sit close together so we can all see each other. This alone can lead to reconnection or bring out the awkwardness of closeness that is grist to the mill.
For most of the difficulties that expats face, I have found the online expat counseling service to be helpful and extremely effective. In other words, it works!
Thanks to Dhyan Summers | #expat #online #advice #work