Expatriates experiencing emotional distress and a call for globally oriented psychotherapy receive an increased focus in the research agendas. That one may better understand how expatriates may be helped in times of distress, the insight in their actual psychotherapy experience may serve as a valuable avenue. The aim of this qualitative study was to illuminate the lived experience of psychotherapy and the meaning that expatriates attributed to these experiences within their expatriate context. Semi-structured interviews were utilized for the data collection and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed for data analysis. The following themes emerged from the expatriates’ narratives about their psychotherapy experience: “The recognition of the expatriate complexity,” “Personal growth vs Dependency,” “Endurance vs Change,” “The globally minded therapist,” and “Language makes or breaks.” The overall common psychotherapy experience was expatriates’ considerable need to get the recognition of their expatriate complexity in a global context. Findings are discussed in relation to the existing expatriate and multicultural counselling literature taking into account the importance of cultural aspects in mental health treatment. The current study presents a unique and important contribution in the field of expatriate mental health as it highlights the psychotherapy experience that can be valuable for professionals in various settings offering psychological support.
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Expatriates, Psychotherapy Experience, Emotional Distress, Global Work Experience
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.
Recommended APA Citation
Filipic Sterle, M., Verhofstadt, L. L., Bell, P., & De Mol, J. (2018). In Search of the Recognition of Expatriate Complexity: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Psychotherapy Experience. The Qualitative Report, 23(12), 2936-2952. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol23/iss12/4