Coaching for expats
Individuals, couples, families, and children
Backed by research, my experience is that expats are more susceptible to suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression - and many international assignments also end prematurely due to spouse and family unhappiness. Don’t allow yourself to risk falling into these statistics; let me help you make the most of your time abroad regardless of where in the process you are.
I offer coaching for expats to help you settle into your new environment and have a successful experience.
Are you, on your own or with your partner and/or family, thinking of moving abroad – or have you already made the move?
Perhaps for work or studies, perhaps for the adventure, perhaps for love. Perhaps for bettering your life’s circumstances! Whatever your reasons for embarking on expat life, it comes with lots of different emotions: anticipation, joy, and excitement as well as trepidation, fear, and dismay. There are many things to look into, many things to consider – and most of them might be unknown to you. Even seasoned expats can feel rocky and unstable at transitional times.
Coaching prior to, during, and after the transition – yes, even prior to making the decision to relocate or repatriate – can help you nip many of the potential emotional and mental problems, experienced by many expats, in the bud.
Being a Danish/international family, there are always plenty of perspectives to consider. In particular with school-aged children which can lead to both social and emotional challenges. Working through these with Henriette has been very beneficial to us. Henriette is full of empathy. Adding to that, she managed to quickly get to the core of matters as well as divide these into chapters for us to work through in a meaningful way. Our sessions with Henriette provided us with the overview to enhance safety, joy and surplus. Professional, trustworthy and thorough – Henriette has our warmest recommendation.
- Danish/international family, Odense, Denmark
Challenges when setting up life abroad
When you set up life in a foreign country, there’s an element of losing your competency and your agency in life in the sense that all of the little – and bigger – things you normally do on your backbone have to be re-learnt. Sometimes in a different language, but always in a different culture. Over time, this can be immensely taxing on your emotional and mental health.
Most have great enthusiasm for the practical challenges; but as time goes on, and the honeymoon phase gradually turns into culture shock and feelings of loneliness, doubt and homesickness set in, many begin to wobble emotionally. This is where coaching and counselling prior to expatriation or at the beginning of your expat life can come in helpful – or indeed, whilst you’re going through it.
In my experience, the real challenges are not the practical issues – although annoying and frustrating at the time, most of these turn into funny stories of obstacles you had to overcome to create a life for yourself in your new home country. The heavy challenge consists of creating a meaningful and satisfying life outside of work as well as creating a circle of friends. For many, this continues to be an ever-present task demanding a lot of soul searching, compromise, and despair; and it’s not unusual to begin to feel insecure in one’s identity.
All in all, it’s easily imagined how you as an individual, a trailing spouse or accompanying children as well as a family can feel isolated and lonely with the challenges of expat life. Not only can this lead to physical illness as well as mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and stress; it can also put enormous strain on you as a couple and family when the dynamics change. Furthermore, it might greatly affect your ability to perform at work or in an educational setting.
Typical challenges for individual expats
If you have expatriated on your own, it’s likely you have done so for work or to study. These will keep you busy and hopefully saturate your professional and academic goals and needs. You may also have moved abroad for love and not know anybody besides your partner and need to set everything else up from scratch.
In particular for professionals, it’s not uncommon to experience profound social isolation and loneliness outside of work or the educational setting. Many find it difficult to befriend the locals or even feel part of or understand the working culture; some even express being bypassed for promotions or job opportunities due to being foreign.
Typical challenges for expat couples
It applies to many expat couples, that only one spouse is working and the other one is trailing – hence the term trailing spouse. Traditionally, the trailing spouse has often been female, but it’s becoming more and more common to also see male trailing spouses. If you are used to both working, earning your own money and having your own work identity, it can throw a couple off balance when this dynamic changes.
With only one party working, it puts additional pressure on the working spouse to be successful in providing, but it also means that the trailing spouse is left to set up life all by themselves.
Typical challenges for expat families and children
Raising children multi-culturally is difficult to say the least.
For parents, it’s a question of balancing their own culture(s) with that of their host country/countries as well as understanding that their children will in part grow up with different values, perspectives, and various sources of inspiration for all elements of life.
For children and teenagers, it’s about developing their attachment styles, their sense of identity, general trust, and social belonging. Children accommodate to their surroundings, but it may come at a price of developing a strong, stable sense of self.
How I can help you have a smooth transition
As a three-time expat and a UK trained counsellor, I use my extensive experiences from expat life alongside my psychological knowledge, training, and teaching/coaching skills to support you in your expat journey.
I work with expats individually as well as in couples and families and can help you manage the emotional consequences and challenges in conjunction with preparing for transitions, settling in and making the most of your time in abroad. Where you are in your expat experience doesn’t matter – I can help you deal with the challenges of expat life, such as:
Understanding the different phases of expat life and how these affect you.
How to prepare for and deal with the different phases of expat life.
How to deal with social isolation, loneliness, and homesickness.
The importance of setting up social life – and how to.
How to deal with identity crisis (a common problem, in particular for the trailing spouse).
How to prepare for repatriation (going back to your home country).
Alignment of expectations within the couple/family.
How to deal with the changed dynamics in your family or relationship.
Being far away from friends and family back home.
The concept, challenges and advantages of Third Culture Kids.
How to support children navigating being in a foreign culture.
How to integrate new experiences and learnt cultural values into (family) life.
Particularly for expats in Denmark:
Understanding Danish life and culture.
Understanding Danish workplace culture and values as well as how to adapt/integrate.
How to create a satisfying and meaningful time in Denmark.
- Understanding the values, that the Danish childcare and school systems build on.
Integration of children into Danish or international schools.
Preparing and helping you with these challenges, as well as strengthening your general mindset around global mobility, will greatly enhance your emotional wellbeing. It will enhance your understanding of what the experience is like for yourself and the people closest to you. This will enable you to better support each other when the water rises above your heads and as such, make expat life a better experience, integrate it into your sense of identity and enable you to lead a meaningful, safe and satisfying life abroad.
My packages for international individuals, partners, and families
As all expats and their partners and families have individual stories, dreams, and concerns around expat life and mental health, I offer bespoke packages depending on your needs and wishes.
Sessions are bought as a package or individually. My experience is it works best for all parties to have an agreed number of sessions, the content of which is based on an initial assessment session. It’s always possible to buy more sessions. Below you will find some examples of packages, the number of sessions, structure, and possible content. These are only examples, and the actual number and content of sessions will of course be discussed and agreed upon with you, based on your needs and wishes.
Expat coaching for
3 sessions, 50 minutes each
Price: DKR 2.850
Expat coaching for
4 sessions, 75 minutes each
Price: DKR 5.200
Expat coaching for
4 sessions, 75 minutes each
Price: DKR 5.200*
As a former colleague from the schooling environment, I have seen Henriette as extremely competent. Henriette has always had a caring and professional eye for her students’ wellbeing and has always taken pride in working with relational tasks at the highest level. Students have felt very safe with Henriette: Again and again, I have seen her bring the best out in all of her students academically, emotionally as well as socially.
- Rikke Sonne, AKT responsible/Student Wellbeing Officer at Henriette Hörlucks Skole and Odense International School.
How does it work?
Sessions are set up online as encrypted Zoom calls before and after the move. Individual sessions as well as couple and family sessions can be arranged. It’s my experience that it works well to have a combination of both.
In the initial session, we will clarify what challenges are present for you, your partner and your family. We will outline what goals to work towards in relation to the transition.