These losses are usually profound, involving as they do so many of life's anchors and stabilisers. The typically involve losses of status, family roots, financial certainty, losses of support systems, losses of language, losses of identity, losses of friendships, losses of things known and self-evident, losses of cultural identities and certainties, losses of self-image and the like, and often the loss of the feeling that ‘I have a place in the world”.
When considering immigration, not only are the losses attendant upon immigration so catastrophic, but immigrants have to contend with the culture shock which arises from shifts from one cultural milieu to another. This culture shock is one of the major factors to have to take into account in immigration and an awareness of this phenomenon and active working towards recognising it and coping with it is one of the most important areas of immigration work.
So, there are losses and there is culture shock as well. I have dealt with culture shock more fully in the site.
It is in this area that transition counselling and transition coaching becomes so important. Counselling is important in order to deal with the feelings which emerge in all migrants - and in all the members of a migrating family. Fears, losses, grief all need to be spoken about and dealt with. Ignoring such emotions or burying them in the hope that 'things will sort themselves out' merely postpones the inevitable imperative - that of making sense of a change that often can be catastrophic. It is not for nothing that emigration is considered one of the most profound stressors, akin to death or divorce.
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