I have a special interest in working with international couples — couples that don’t come from the same country. “Most international couples had to work very hard to come together.” An international couple can be an American and someone not from America or they can be two people from other countries who are now in Portland together. The important point is that the two partners come from different cultures.
I really enjoy working with international couples because they grow and change with each other. International couples, especially, have a lot to learn from each other. Most international couples had to work very hard to come together. There are borders to cross, cultural differences to understand, and sometimes languages and dialects to learn.
In my practice, the counseling is basically the same as all my couples counseling. However, I also pay attention to how the couple works to understand each other. If they don’t have the same native language, what language do they speak in? Can both of them understand it equally well? Do they understand each other’s slang or idioms? What do they do when they don’t understand each other’s actions or words? Do they pretend it’s not a problem or do they talk about it?
I have a lot of experience speaking in English with people who speak English as a second language. I am very careful to make sure that everyone in my counseling room understands what we’re talking about. I’m especially careful about this when one partner is a native English speaker like me and the other partner is not.
I know that going into a different culture can be very stressful. A healthy relationship with your partner can make it much easier, and also much more rewarding. If you and your partner are looking for help to feel more connected or to understand each other better, read how to set an appointment and contact me for a consultation session. I look forward to hearing from you.