couple counseling

Therapy still unnecessarily taboo

These days it is almost impossible to find someone who has not been to therapy at some point. More and more people are finding their way to a therapist, coach, or other social worker. This is of course a very positive development, but strangely enough, the taboo on therapy has hardly diminished. Getting professional help is and remains a big step. Because if you go into therapy, isn’t there something completely wrong with you? And isn’t it a sign of weakness not to be able to solve your own problems?

Why is therapy taboo?

Almost everyone encounters psychological problems at some point in his or her life. Yet we often choose to keep walking around with those problems. Men, in particular, often tend to laugh at professional help. Why?

My problem is not ‘bad’ enough

Many people still think that you really have to be at rock bottom before you can seek the help of a therapist. If you have a good life – a roof over your head, a loving partner, healthy children, a challenging job – then you have no right to complain, right? Then you should not be unhappy. This line of thinking keeps many people from seeking help.

It’s a shame because a therapist is not only for people with severe psychological problems. The ‘small’ complaints are also allowed: the dissatisfaction with the daily routine, the stress of work, the recurring fights with your partner. In fact, the sooner these problems are dealt with, the better. Happiness is not found in external factors, but in your psyche. Everyone has the ‘right’ to be uncomfortable in his or her skin and to ask for help.

When I need help, I’m weak

Within society, there is still the idea that you are weak if you need help. And if you don’t care about what someone else thinks of you, you may be your own worst enemy. Many people think of themselves as weak when they need help. That’s a belief we’d better eliminate as soon as possible. Not getting help when you need it is weak. Taking good care of yourself by asking a professional for help makes you stronger.

Therapy is ‘not for me’

For many people, the idea of sitting in a chair across from a total stranger and spilling out your life story is frightening. Isn’t it crazy to talk about the most intimate topics with this unknown therapist? Can I do that at all? What if I have to cry? Many find it hard to imagine that this can really work. Then the excuse “that’s not for me” comes up. These excuses are unnecessary because a therapist is trained to put you at ease and respect your boundaries.

Why you can’t always do it alone

  • You cannot get a good perspective on your own situation. It is extremely difficult to detect where certain problems come from in yourself. We are often not aware of our limiting behaviors and thought patterns and do not see that it can be different. You may know yourself best, but that does not mean that you are the right person to solve your own problems.
  • Friends and family are subjective. You may have already indicated to friends or family that you are not doing well. That’s a good move because a social safety net gives us a shoulder to cry on and gives us a nudge in the right direction. However, friends and family are often in the middle of the situation or know you too well to give you objective advice.
  • A therapist is an equal discussion partner. Because a therapist is an outsider, he or she can assess your situation much better. A therapist is objective, has no prejudices, and thinks nothing is crazy. He or she has also learned not to overwhelm you with advice, but to ask in-depth questions. This way you will look differently at your own life, behavior, and thoughts and you will discover new possibilities and solutions.

The taboo on therapy is unnecessary

One suffers from stress and strain, another from relationship problems, and the next is struggling with questions of meaning. Everyone can recognize themselves in other people’s stories about life phases in which things are not going so well. That’s because we all get stuck at some point in certain routines, habits, and thinking patterns. And sometimes they make sure that we do not succeed in shaping our lives the way we would like to.

Everyone should be in therapy

Everyone can benefit from therapy to a greater or lesser degree. Even if there is nothing concrete wrong, improvement is often possible. You can see a visit to the therapist as maintenance of your mental health. Therapy does not have to last long or be emotionally intense. A visit to a therapist is like taking a step back: how are you really doing? Who knows what beautiful eye-openers will come out of it!

Therapy increasingly accessible

Making the decision to seek professional help is often the most difficult. Fortunately, therapy is becoming more accessible, especially now that many therapists also offer their services online. You can now easily get help from home, without the intervention of your family doctor. And once that first step has been taken, you will undoubtedly find that therapy becomes easier and more natural.


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    Psychological help for expat children

    With an ever more globalized world, international business practices, and increasing ease of travel, more and more often in psychological practice we treat expat children. Some have moved abroad at a young age and settled down; others have an almost nomadic existence. Expatriate life has advantages and disadvantages and has a different, often more profound effect on children than on adults.

    What are expatriate children?

    Expat children are children who grow up in a culture other than that of their parents or their country of origin, for example, because their parents work abroad. Expat children, therefore, often have little connection with the culture of the country they come from, but also not with the culture of the host country. They are characterized by adopting a kind of third culture that is, as it were, in between. Expat children are, therefore, also called third culture kids.

    Difference from adult expats

    Moving abroad is especially drastic for children because they are still in the middle of developing their identity. Adults have already built up their own identity, certain norms and values, and stable relationships in the country of origin. As a result, they will always feel connected to the homeland and be able to pinpoint a place where they came from. Children do not develop that core identity through expatriate life. This makes being an expat an entirely different experience for children.

    What are expat children good at?

    Expat children learn things that other children may never learn. They go to many interesting places, meet different people and come into contact with all kinds of cultures. As a result, they develop great adaptability, are resilient and curious, and dare to take on new challenges. They are also good at networking, make friends quickly, have great empathy and quickly include others in their social circle.

    Fast maturing

    Expat children often mature relatively quickly because of all these experiences. They know a lot about topics such as politics, culture and religion, speak several languages and often get along well with adults.

    What risks do expatriate children face?

    However, expat life is not easy. Especially when children move several times, a lot of stress, sadness and loneliness can occur. Children struggle with the uncertainty of whether they will make new friends at the new destination. Even if the child does not move, they often have expat friends who move away. The life of an expat child, therefore, consists largely of saying goodbye and starting all over again.

    Identity Crisis

    Expat children often have a hard time answering where they are from or where they feel at home. This is confusing for them. Moreover, having to continuously say goodbye to a place of residence, friends, school, and regular activities and rituals is akin to losing a certain part of one’s identity. Many expat children describe themselves as a ‘chameleon’: they easily measure themselves against different personas, but do not really know who they really are.

    Feeling of guilt

    However, expat life is often accompanied by a lot of luxury. The children live in beautiful homes and attend highly regarded international schools. Also, many parents abroad have the option of hiring a nanny full-time. Expat children can, therefore, feel like they can’t complain. After all, they lead a privileged life, right?

    Symptoms of grief

    What many expat children actually suffer from are symptoms of grief. Saying goodbye over and over again, to a certain environment and with that a part of one’s own identity, simply causes a lot of grief. The cause of the symptoms, however, is not as clearly identifiable as, for example, the death of a loved one. Therefore, the symptoms are often ignored and expatriate children run the risk that this unacknowledged grief will at some point surface in a destructive manner. Expat children are, therefore, at increased risk of developing depression. Therefore, when an expat child experiences psychological problems, it is specifically referred to as Expat Child Syndrome.

    Psychological help for expat children

    Have you moved abroad with your children? Then make sure to be a listening ear. It is important for children to be able to share their stories and any grief they may have. Even though they may now be living in paradise on earth, that does not mean that saying goodbye to a previous place of residence was not incredibly difficult. Give your child the feeling that that grief is allowed to be there.

    A (child) therapist can offer support in this. Many of the therapists affiliated with The Online Therapists live abroad themselves and, therefore, know exactly what is going on with you and your child. Psychological assistance consists of offering comfort and understanding, so that the child can let the mourning process take place. Next, the expat therapist offers help in developing their own identity and building deep relationships and friendships, something expat children often have difficulty with. Children also learn not to let their adaptability get in the way of setting boundaries and priorities.


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