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Migration Therapy

By April 21, 2023December 20th, 2023FinGlobal, Newsletter

Migration Therapy

April 21, 2023


Therapy for expats? As you pack your bags, sell your home, and get ready for your long-haul flight across the ocean, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is your mental health. Let’s be honest; caught up in the excitement of a new country and anticipating fulfilling the adventures you have been dreaming about, it’s a pretty heady combination. And the FinGlobal team can almost guarantee that therapy for expats doesn’t feature anywhere on your long to-do list!

The same can be said for those returning home; perhaps your contract across the pond has ended, and it’s finally time to trek back to South Africa. The joy of seeing family, friends, and familiar places again can be slightly intoxicating. So it’s no wonder that when emigrating or immigrating, we don’t give a second thought to the psychological effects this might have on us, least of all, whether we’ll need to consider expat counselling in the future.

Why expat counselling makes sense

Moving country, whether outward or inward bound, is extremely stressful. Leaving family members, friends, and the home you love behind is tough. And the same can be said for those returning to South Africa; uprooting even the shallowest of roots you may have put down in your new country can be just as daunting. Why? Because migration involves massive change, which can have certain negative effects.

A generalized definition of migration is the movement of individuals from their usual place of residence across international borders. Unfortunately, this movement, or as Oupa would say, ‘rondlooping,’ can negatively impact us in several ways.

  • Grief – leaving family, friends, and community links behind
  • Stress – setting up your new life (home/work/school)
  • Isolation – trying to integrate into a new community
  • Cultural displacement – trying to adapt and fit into your new surroundings

As you can see, emigration can negatively impact our mental well-being, and in these instances, asking for help in the form of expat counselling is never a bad decision. In fact, even charming Prince William and his gorgeous wife, Kate, advocate the importance of having good mental health!

Online therapy for expats

Of course, knowing where to go for therapy in a new country can be pretty challenging, especially if you are new to the area. However, thankfully the internet always has a solution and provides access to a wide selection of emigration therapists offering online therapy for expats. This means from the comfort of your own home (on home soil or abroad), you and your family can access the help you need at a time and pace that suits you.

One emigration therapist we noticed in particular when researching this sensitive topic was Sulette Ferreira. As an accredited, licensed emigration therapist, she specialises in, you guessed it, families, that emigrate! Looking at her website, Sulette Ferreria offers counselling to families throughout the entire emigration process. According to Sulette Ferreria, emigration can be divided into three definite stages. We’ve listed them below.

  • Pre-emigration
  • The actual move
  • Adapting to a new country/expat life

For each stage, an emigration therapist like Sulette Ferreria provides support, insight, and understanding to help you work through your feelings and emotions and teach you coping skills.

Is expat counselling right for me?

If you have got to this point in our article and are still wondering whether expat counselling is the right choice, use the below overview to help you decide.

  • What can expat counselling help with?

Like other forms of counselling that help with depression, anxiety, stress, and difficult emotions, expat counseling can do the same. The truth is emigration can cause a lot of emotional turmoil that can be helped with expat counselling.

  • What to expect from your counselling sessions

Expat counselling is a talking therapy that involves discussing your feelings with a trained emigration therapist. Their job is to listen to you and help you find positive ways of dealing with your emotions. However, it’s important to note that while your therapist is there to help better understand your thought processes and feelings, they are only there to guide you and assist with finding your own solutions to issues. In other words, they won’t advise or tell you what to do.

While traditional counselling sessions are usually face-to-face or over the phone, emigration therapists offering online therapy for expats conduct sessions via email or video.

4 Signs expat therapy might be for you.

If, before or after emigrating, you have consistent feelings of:

  • Sadness/ irritability/ feeling unmotivated – impacts daily life or previously enjoyed activities
  • Excessive worry/ anxiety/stress – that affects your work, home, or sleep
  • Relationship issues – that affect your marriage/partnership, family members
  • Struggling to integrate – experiencing difficulties settling into your new country

Final thoughts

Of course, therapy for expats isn’t for everyone. Some of us prefer to go fishing or stoke up the braai intent on whipping up a succulent steak for nostalgia’s sake. However, it’s still good to know that when the going gets tough and you’re sick of braai-ing in the snow, that expat counselling can help you discover ways to manage your feelings healthily.

Expert advice for SA expats right here at FinGlobal

At FinGlobal, your emigration plan is structured to suit your bespoke requirements. From when you decide to leave home soil to long after settling in your new country, the FinGlocal team is on your side no matter where you reside!

For quality, professional and friendly advice regarding financial emigration, pensions, tax, retirement annuities, and more, FinGlobal can assist. You can safely trust your emigration plans to their licensed and accredited team members. Contact FinGlobal today; you’re about to go on the journey of a lifetime!

To discuss your unique needs with our team, simply get in touch with us. Give us a call on +27 28 313 5600 or send us an email at, and we will assist you promptly.

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