[UPDATE: Rekindle’s Expat Support Group’s first meeting was a success, and from participant feedback, we will be running meetings twice a month. Click here for the latest brochure information.]
Most people think of the expat life as easy and filled with perks and benefits. What is not seen are the INVISIBLE STRESSORS of expat living:
- Difficulty adjusting to cultures and languages
- Inability to get the right foods for your family’s diet
- Concerns about physical safety
- Changes in lifestyle (e.g. “my husband is hardly ever home now”)
- Grief and loss of relationships with family and friends
…and the list goes on.
While most expats do not need therapy, some may find it useful to have a safe place to talk and to connect with people who are going through similar challenges; a place where they won’t be judged for sharing their struggles; a place that is not just another idle coffee-shop chatter, but allows for going a bit deeper to be more real with one anothera a place to relieve some expat stress in a healthy way.
For the last 3 years, I have been wanting to start a support group for expats. I know the need is out there because half of my clientele are expats! I know the concerns and I know there is a need for a safe support group in which to share and to talk, but that is not as intense as therapy, and not as energy-draining as networking events. Just a safe place to talk with people who may be going through similar experiences.
Finally, I have found the right person to partner with me: Marcey Heschel. Marcey is a typical “trailing expat wife and mom” who has a lot of energy and passion to develop her area of specialty to become a Texas Licensed Professional Counselor. She understands “trailing expat spouse” first hand!
I have my own different set of expat experiences and stories to tell. Mine is one of having lived half of my life around the globe and being married to my wife Mariah, a Euro-Canadian woman, and having two “third culture kids.” No, make that “fourth culture kids!” My wife is the expat, I am the globetrotting local, and our kids really don’t know how to define themselves! We have learned to adjust and define ourselves along the way, and we continue to learn. It’s not always easy!
My aim for this expat support group is to help participants tell their stories, and find a reprieve–a little oasis of support–as they share. In addition to group conversations, I will also be presenting on topics relevant to expat issues. The expat support group is for regularly functioning expats who just need a little safe place to gather and to have some nurturing conversations. Those who need deeper work for themselves or their families may engage a therapist for specific work.
For now, we only ask for a freewill contribution of RM50 per meeting (don’t pay anything if you don’t want to), and the contribution will go towards our pay-it-forward scheme to support clients who cannot afford therapy services at Rekindle Academy. So as we help expats, expats help financially-challenged clients, and our clinical interns get to work with more clients.
It’s all for good.
Below is our first brochure (click posters below to see larger versions). Do share this good news far and wide! You can also share our Facebook announcement link: click here.
Danke schön! Merci! Gracie! Thank you!
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