Feeling lost and lonely in Italy

Just yesterday I got a request from a Chinese customer that was seeking help. “I did have therapy in the past in my own language”, she said, “but now I am living in Italy!”, she exclaimed. How could we not understand her desperation. At this moment living far from home, suffering from nostalgy, not being able to move around in this beautiful country you decided to leave your own family and roots for, is truly a big challenge. It is a little bit like when you are sick as a child, all you want and ask for is mostly your mother. When natural or epidemic disasters happen, you just want to go home.

Home is much more then your elderly home you grew up in. Home is where your cultural background lays, where you speak your own language, where you find your specific sense of humour and where you, if all goes well, you can be truly yourself. Life can bring to great opportunities and challenges, but also to necessities or hope; “I will go to Europe to study, so I might get a better future”, “I always wanted to go to Italy, as it is such a beautiful country” and again “I always wanted to learn the Italian language”. There can be truly millions of reasons someone leaves their country, there are millions of causes why it cannot be so easy, even though it was your desire or necessity to change country.

Talking in another language every day of your life, needing to express yourself in another way, with different sounds, phrase constructions, tones, words etc. can be very interesting but very tiring. Whenever you need to explain emotions, feelings or true pain, the different language can truly became an issue. Therefore I got the call from this wonderful Chinese woman that stated that no one truly understands her, however she tried to explain herself and understand the Italian language very well. Ofcourse this doesn’t depend on Italy, nor on the Italian language, but it can be helpful to have therapists that are able to speak in English and might have gone through the same experience; leaving for whatever reason your home country and start a new life in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but with a complete different culture in terms of language, education, traditions and habits concern.

Where to go, especially during Covid, how to explain ones feelings in the way you get true understanding. This takes an intercultural and interlanguage approach in therapy. Whereas, next to the professionalism and technical knowledge, this helps to empathically listen and reply to the help request. Companies, employers and associations could reach out to international therapists more to offer a service to those in need. There are hundreds of websites where miracles are being promised, but I think it comes to genuinely to try to reach out as a therapist, to those, that really get this particular problem.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Picture of Liesbeth Elsink

Liesbeth Elsink

Psicologa laureata in Psicologia Clinica. Condivido su questo sito opinioni, suggerimenti, consigli, idee e motivazioni collegando il campo della psicologia con le persone.