Convenient and Effective Online Therapy for Expats & Digital Nomads
Congratulations, you did it: you finally managed that elusive lifestyle that everyone is lusting for. You can work from anywhere, you can travel to your heart’s content. Or maybe you are still in one place, but you finally scored that remote job overseas where you get to fully immerse yourself in a new culture and lifestyle, or maybe you are there because you are volunteering for something you believe in, or because your partner or family is there. Whether you are an expatriate or digital nomad, I am pretty sure I can confidently say that you are the kind of person that is open to adventure and appreciates the diversity of life and our world.
But, you. are. struggling.
If you are a “digital nomad”, you might find that you suddenly crave stability and consistency- for once in your life you actually might want to settle down even though nothing says you have to. This makes picking a place out of a hat feel like it has immense consequences. You might wish someone was there to tell you where to go. Or you might want to keep yourself mobile because you love that, but there are things that become problematic due to that lifestyle. How do you keep to a healthy diet, and keep yourself consistently active? How do you decide where to go? What about when people start pressuring you to be in certain places at certain times, and are unreasonably angry with you when you make other choices as if you did so to intentionally upset them?
While that digital nomad life looks glorious on the surface, it comes with its own set of baggage that many had no anticipation for until it was unexpectedly thrown on them when they were well on their way. What is a digital nomad to do when he or she suddenly realizes that they really need to talk to someone, to help them sort through the difficult-to-explain anxieties that they are struggling with, and when they are on the move, and always staying somewhere impermanent? That is when the digital therapist or coach comes in to save the day.
Life as an expatriate can come with a whole different set of struggles in addition to what the digital nomad is experiencing. Maybe you move around as an expat, and maybe you are stuck in one place. Maybe you got to choose where you live, maybe you didn’t. Either way, living in a foreign place can be just as stressful as it can be exciting.
Living somewhere that doesn’t speak your native language, a language that you know somewhat, or a language that you don’t know at all = STRUGGLE. On top of that, it seems that the more you learn of that language, the more you still have left to learn. Maybe you never experienced any form of social anxiety until you had to run some errands by yourself and communicate via charades, and now you can hardly get yourself to say hi to your neighbor. I feel you.
Living somewhere that just simply doesn’t have the basic things that you enjoy, like your favorite comfort food, adequate living conditions (hello air conditioning), or a decent outdoor space for you to relax and get present in. Even though we intentionally left the comforts of home, it doesn’t mean we don’t care for those comforts and pleasures. You can’t talk to your family about it, because they’ll just give you no sympathy and tell you to come home. So you struggle, in your silence. In addition, political problems and inherent cultural clashes are frequent everywhere, even in ‘progressive’ countries, and you probably didn’t even notice these things at first. Even if you can speak the language well, it can be a major struggle living somewhere that constantly triggers and upsets you.
You might start questioning yourself: but I thought I could handle this kind of life, I thought I was ‘tough’? I thought I was ‘open’ and judgment free? I thought I came here because I wanted to immerse myself in a new culture and language, I thought that was what I was all about? Spontaneous and carefree? What does it mean, what does it say about me if I can’t do it? Do I even know myself, who am I? I thought I loved this person and would do anything for them, how am I going to get through this for them?
When you find yourself alone with these thoughts and considering making moves that you are really struggling to commit to, this is a good time to seek out the guidance of a professional therapist or coach that can help you choose from a fresh, unbiased perspective. Sometimes we just need some gentle questioning and perspective taking to get the boost that we need to make the right decisions about nomad or abroad life. Making a rash, impulsive decision without careful guidance can lead to a lot of regret and questioning down the road that will be tough to shake off. When living abroad alone, or globetrotting alone, our identities are precious. You are your own best friend. If you find that your mind is starting to turn on you, it is a good time to reach to a professional that can help get you back on a healthy track again. These are all among the many reasons and examples that talking to a licensed mental health counselor or experienced life coach from home can really save not just your experience, but the trajectory of your life.
When deciding to go to therapy, you naturally want to pick out a therapist that you are going to work with not only now, but also later if need be. Getting comfortable with a new therapist takes time and effort, and many people will be unwilling to get comfortable with a therapist that they know is only going to be there in the short term- why start therapy in a foreign country or in a city that you want to leave? In addition to this, the task of finding someone local that will a) speak your language b) have decent competence in modern and effective therapy, and c) be a decent match for you might be borderline impossible. Alas, there is an answer for you.
Online Therapy: The Solution for Struggling Expats and Digital Nomads
You probably already know it, but online therapy is very much a thing. You can talk to a therapist from anywhere, provided that you have an internet connection. You have probably seen loads of advertisements for online therapy platforms, some boasting ‘unlimited therapy’ for too good to be true prices. Be careful with these, as most of them don’t allow you to pick a therapist and you can cycle through several until you find one that you might feel “okay” with. Also, many therapists don’t stick with these platforms long term, and these therapists are paid on a ‘limited’ basis. You will either get someone burnt out, or sticking to limits that you didn’t sign up for.
More and more therapists (like myself) are launching their own private practices online, and you can find them in therapy directories that you would search for in person therapists through or through online specific directories. These therapists often offer video counseling, and some offer phone counseling, and some (to a lesser extent) may offer message based counseling. If you have minimal internet connection that doesn’t have the bandwidth to support video or phone calls, message based or “email therapy” might be a better option for you.
The great thing about having more online options for mental health therapy is that you aren’t stuck with a limited selection. It is super important that you are able to find a counselor that you can relate to so that you are more likely to open up and be real in your sessions - and so that you can contact real, applicable results for yourself. While I never intended to make digital nomads and expats my niche, you guys seemed to pick me! I have found the most success and fulfillment working with other fellow world travelers, so I have decided to make this a part of my practice focus. It definitely helps to work with someone who understands the unique struggles of living abroad, frequently traveling, and being far from, or not really know what is, ‘home’.
If you have any questions at all about therapy with me, please don’t hesitate to reach out or schedule a free phone consultation with me by clicking on the button below!