Psychological counselling to aid and development workers

When working abroad, we leave part of our identity, our belonging to social groups and communities, beyond. We are thrown back to the core of our being, with our inner values, belief systems, attitudes and traits laid bare open. On the good side, this entails the opportunity to invent ourselves from scratch, to jettison disliked behavior and replace it with healthier behavior. However, it could also happen that sorrow and uncertainties come up and require our attention and energy. I want to support you before, during and after a mission for you to remain in a positive and healthy balance concerning your physical and mental experience and learn how to regulate yourself in order to maintain that balance.

Meine Tätigkeiten im Einzelnen

During the preparation phase, we develop together a toolkit with tools that help you to meet the personal and professional challenges ahead and to adapt to the environment abroad. More precisely, the preparation contains a diagnosis of your coping strategies with stress and crisis, an explanation of body, brain and soul reactions to stress and trauma, the identification of personal stress markers and techniques for a healthy self-care and self-regulation. If wanted, counselling sessions can be extended to family members.

Potential content:

Basic knowledge: Reactions of body and brain to stress and trauma

Diagnosis of coping strategies in case of stress and/or crisis

Resource profile: Strengths, weaknesses, techniques for healthy self-regulation

Set-up of a coping kit

Working through private or job-related conflicts

Counselling sessions with family members

Need for psychological counselling can emerge from a work overload, conflicts with colleagues, conflicts with family members, confrontation with life-threatening events, disease, unhealthy coping strategies (i.e. substance abuse etc.), sleeping problems etc.


Psychological relief sessions

Support in acute crisis

Support with respect to the preparation of challenging meetings with superiors or colleagues

Malfunctioning relationships or threatening events can throw each of us off track. If the psychological strain becomes too much to handle, we tend to compensate inner pain and fear in unhealthy ways, for example by working long hours, drinking too much or having many random sex partners which may set in motion a vicious circle that eventually may lead to a complete loss of balance burnout or an incapacity to work. In such a case it is crucial to reestablish physical and psychological safety and security and stop the negative dynamic with professional help from an outsider if inner strength is not sufficient anymore. It may even be useful in such a situation to take a big decision concerning a potential work break and/or return to the home country.


Psychological relief sessions

Preparation of conversations with superiors, HR

Support regarding big decisions

Relatives who join their partners or parents working abroad face specific challenges, for example when a partner does not find a likewise attractive job or when kids find it difficult to handle frequent relocation. In these cases, counselling sessions can help ease the strain and support family members to articulate their needs towards their partner or parents and find ways to meet them.

Disagreements are hardly evitable when humans work together. When they turn in to heated conflicts though, they may use up much of our time and energy which we then lack for other things. In interdisciplinary and interculturally diverse work teams, the likelihood for misunderstanding and conflict is even higher. Coaching sessions can help identify the roots of conflict and develop steps towards more understanding and cooperation.

Potential contents:

Working through conflicts with colleagues

Support concerning structuring and facilitation of team meetings and workshops

Preparation of important meetings

Thoe who have lived abroad the “reverse culture shock”. We come back to what is supposed to be ‘home’, but we find ourselves in bewilderment. Our family and friends do not recognise or appreciate the leaps of personal development we have undergone, thereby fostering a fallback in to old patterns of thinking and behavior. The integration of our private and professional experiences is a big task because coming back home , we have once more left behind our social belonging to groups and communities (colleagues, ex-pats etc.) and need to reestablish our (former) social identity, yet in a new way. Counselling sessions can support the integration process and stabilise you in this transition period.

Potential contents:

Support regarding the integration of experiences in to one’s own biography

Support with respect to the development of new personal and professional goals

Support with the acclimatisation to the new, old home