For more information contact us!
Dr. Valeria Lussiana tel 3402248813
ULYSSES SYNDROME: WHEN LIVING ABROAD IT’S TOUGH!
PSYCHOTHERAPY IN ENGLISH (TURIN, MILAN AND SKYPE)
“In total, at this moment one billion of the inhabitants of the planet
lives the experience of emigration.
A third of humanity feels psychologically on the starting foot,
available or forced, lured or resigned
to begin again a life “elsewhere”.
(Federico Ramponi, 2012)
Associazione Eco has been proposing the “Low cost Psychoterapy” Project for 7 years now with the aim of giving to all those who request it, in financial troubles or not, the possibility to do a quality psychotherapy at low prices.
The initiative has been very successful, spreading above all among the students and young workers of Turin and the Province. In the last two years, however, we have noticed that requests from patients of foreign origins have increased, as have those of who have moved from Italy for study and work reasons.
In particular we worked, in the studio or via Skype, with people coming from or residing in different parts of the world: Morocco, Iran, Great Britain, Madagascar, Turkey, Romania, Peru, Germany, Austria, Holland, Portugal, Great Britain, USA , China.
Working with this group of people has allowed us to deepen the experiences of those who move to a foreign land and some critical issues that unite those who are facing such a big change have emerged.
The decision to leave can be dictated by the desire to make new experiences, to meet new people, to learn a language and to immerse oneself in a context different from one’s own or even to test oneself; in other cases it may not be the result of a free choice but of the urge to find a job or to meet the request of your company, or the needs of a partner forced to relocate.
Whatever the reason behind it, leaving is a complex psychological experience for everyone. It involves a phase of physiological crisis, because it forces a radical reorganization of one’s life that affects, at least momentarily, one’s sense of identity. In fact, the ties with significant people, one’s own things, language, climate and habits are lost and initially a strong feeling of extraneousness towards the new living environment can take over.
This situation goes by the name of Ulysses Syndrome, or emigrant syndrome, and can lead to idealize your country of origin, in which everything was beautiful and idyllic and to devalue the country of arrival, as a source of discomfort or suffering. Likewise, the exact opposite can also occur, once can elevate the host country as a promised land for the resolution of all his problems and denigrate his country as a place from which it was necessary to flee, the cause of all evil.
Both these behaviors, if led to the extreme, can be considered emotional disorders, in which the exaltation or excessive devaluation of one place or the other is the result of a distortion of reality on the wave of emotion.
This happens because finding oneself in an unexplored field can cause a certain emotional imbalance and lead to feelings of discomfort, if not fear, having to face a situation of change with the consequent fear of failure or loneliness or, more simply, feelings of anxiety for the breaking of the previous balances and the unknowns that will come.
The points of tension that can arise usually revolve around these 4 hinges:
• Loneliness: at the beginning it may not be easy to find yourself far from your own affections and surrounded by people, even pleasant and nice, but with whom you haven’t shared a lot yet. Building solid and deep relationships takes time and you can feel nostalgic for your close friendships and struggling for the absence of moments of sharing and outburst.
• Fear: this emotion, normal in every phase of transition, can concern the fear of change, the fear of not making it, of not being able to adapt, of not being able to fit in or fail and disappoint. When things do not go as you hoped or you are facing more obstacles than expected, you can experience depression, anxiety, insecurity and dissatisfaction with yourself.
• The strangeness and the disorientation: starting your life in another country calls into question all your own points of reference. The safety and habits that we had before leaving collided with a new context, a new home, new rhythms and customs, different foods, but also new convictions, new passions or goals. Changing is certainly positive in terms of personal growth but involves a sort of eradication from one’s own past when, however, the destination background is still under construction.
In this phase, you can feel divided between two worlds: letting yourself be contaminated by the “adoptive” culture is necessary for the insertion to be successful, but at the same time it is important not to give up entirely to your own! In fact, identity is a structure that continuously shapes itself according to our interactions, to the relationships we establish with others and to our culture of belonging. Keeping the ability to perceive yourself constant in this continuous fluctuation of situations and meetings may not be easy and can cause feelings of strangeness.
• Relationship management: usually, the choice to move concerns the person who decides or is forced to make the leap and is exclusively for the good of the same. Family members, classmates or friends, however they may dissimulate sadness and try to be happy and supportive, will suffer a removal that may not be easy to deal with. This awareness can lead to feelings of guilt in those who leave or concern for those who stay.
Moreover, although moving today has become easier and faster, it will not be possible to come home whenever you want to. Making choices, therefore, becomes necessary but also very difficult: better to return for the wedding of the best friend or for grandpa’s 90th birthday party?
Moreover, although desired, reunions after long separations are delicate moments that can also cause tensions: it is about re-knowing eachother, even close relatives, and rebuilding each time contact and relationship. For all these reasons, relationships can suffer from distance and end up deteriorating or stopping if we do not find effective ways of managing the emotional experiences.
All of these elements can affect our psyche and our body through symptoms such as:
• Respiratory difficulties
• Eating or sleeping disorders
• Disorientation and dissociative symptoms
• Apathy or depression
• Isolation and difficulty in socialising
• Anxiety and panic attacks
• Sudden or uncontrollable crying
• Excessive worry and recursive thoughts
• Headache, nausea and other psychosomatic disorders
However, despite the condition of “migrant” now affects more than a third of humanity, the psychological distress of these people is poorly thought out and recognized. Living in an era in which, thanks to smartphones and technology, it is possible to greatly shorten the physical distances and overcome the spatial barriers we are building a common idea of ”citizens of the world“, able to move and adapt without limits and without any kind of emotional repercussion; as if the normal feelings of unease or nostalgia were now a hindrance to productivity and progress.
In the exercise of our professional activity it has also happened to come across people who, after returning from work or study experiences abroad, present psychological problems that are now chronic because they were experienced in solitude and without adequate support. Their suffering would certainly have been more contained if they could have found someone abroad to treat the illness at the very moment it was manifested. Often this happens due to the absence of a common language that allows one to express one’s thoughts and emotions even in a foreign land.
For this reason, the Associazione Eco, has thought about the need to offer an empathic and dialogic dimension for those who live in a foreign land in order to create a psychological space where they can feel recognized, where to place and reconstruct a common thread of their existence and where to overcome moments of “dissociation” in which the individual feels disoriented and risks developing ineffective ways of survival, with repercussions on work or school success.
Not being able to offer a service in all the languages of the world we have thought of English as an effective way to break down the barriers within a psychological session, being now the most important language for exchanges and part of the baggage of the new generations!
Hence the new project of Psychological Therapy in English to respond to the growing requests from the numerous foreigners who live in our territory and who do not quite master Italian to undertake a treatment in our language.
The path foreseen by the Psychological Therapy Project in English includes 10 sessions at a discounted price for students and workers in need, starting from € 250. The first informative interview has a cost of € 10.
For more information contact us!
Dr. Valeria Lussiana