Expats in India using therapists to deal with culture shock

Published:  3 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, India, Euro, England
Expats arriving in India for upscale postings complete with mansions in new Delhi, chauffeured limos and servants on call are turning to counselling to deal with culture shock.

The phenomenon of culture shock comes as standard for most expats who move to unfamiliar countries, with adjustment periods taking longer or shorter dependent on the individual and the culture of the chosen country. Executives posted to India seem to have a worse time than many, however, as they’re faced with the contrasting reality of India’s poor against their luxury lifestyles.

The syndrome is more real in India than in most other world countries, according to an American counsellor whose job is to help newly-arrived expats get used to their new lives. Maimed beggars, slums, poverty, filth and pollution cause powerful emotions when compared with a western-style life and high salary.

Dhyan Summers came to India from California, and now runs a counselling service for expats heading for permanent negativity due to their inability to cope.Her best advice focuses on learning to find personal comfort levels, but she also states there are no easy answers.

Voluntary work can help, but in the end it’s all about accepting what you can’t change, she says. The anarchy in India is another problem for westerners used to tradesmen arriving on time – or at all- maids and gardeners who either don’t listen or don’t understand and office staff who can’t or won’t fulfil targets.

Online counselling may be the way of the future, according to Summers, who has her own website dealing with other countries as well. Developing nations in Asia provide similar nightmares to those in India, especially for retirees who’ve spent their lives in more ordered climes such as the UK and USA.
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