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Your Spanish Psychologist.

Your Spanish Psychologist to help you in your adjustment to Spain. Spanish Psychology in English language

How children may feel and react when they move abroad.
Saturday, April 25, 2009


       Parents moving internationally will face many questions from their kids.  Where will they go to school? What kinds of food will they encounter? Will they be the only ones of their ethnicity? How will they make new friends?
      Moving to a new community can be an exciting but sometimes difficult event for a child and a family, depending on the circumstances For example, different issues are raised if the move is due to a parent's promotion rather than divorce, death, or change of family income. Similarly, a child's ability to cope is different if the family is in the military and moving is a necessary and repeated part of life compared to a family moving only once. The logistics of the move also influence a child's adjustment; moving across town is far less complicated than a move across the country, or to another different one. For many moving is a positive experience, as it brings the opportunity to develop new friendships, pursue new interests, increase social confidence, and learn important lessons about adapting to change. If parents are positive about the move, children will have an easier time adjusting. Following is a guide for managing the different issues facing parents and children when they move.
      When children enter new environments, they express their feelings in various ways, some of which can signify that they are not adjusting well. Typical trouble signs include: changes in reading ability, attention span, eating habits (weight loss or gain), enthusiasm, energy levels, quarrelsome behaviour and unreasonable fears. Uncharacteristics behaviours will usually disappear as children settle in, but if not, parents should seek the advice of a pediatrician or a counselor.


      Age Matters

      A child's age and general personality affect how the child will deal with moving. Some children adapt easily to new situations; others may need more time to make a gradual adjustment.
      Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are not able to comprehend the meaning of the move or complex explanations. They are affected more by the reactions and availability of their caretakers. They do best when things are predictable; thus keeping to a routine with familiar things and people eases the transition for them. Avoid making other changes at the same time as the move, such as toilet training or transfer to a new bed, so as not to overwhelm and confuse a young child.
      Children in kindergarten or first grade may be vulnerable because they are in the process of separating from their parents and adjusting to new authority figures and social relationships. They may temporarily regress to behaviors typical of an earlier stage and become more dependent on their parents.
      School-age children are likely to be concerned about fitting in with new peers and dealing with different academic demands. Their general personality and social style may influence their ease in adjustment. They may also be better able to tolerate the new kid jitters if a sibling will be at the same school.
      Teens will be able to understand the nuances of the decision to move, but may also be resistant to change. At a time when they are establishing important relationships outside of the family, they may feel the move threatens their evolving identity. Thus the move can be disruptive to the stability they have already established with a core group of friends or with an athletic or academic path they are pursuing.
      Some children will actually thrive in the new environment depending on the circumstances of the move, an accepting peer group, and a supportive mentoring adult network.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009


 A “transiente proffesional”  is someone who moves , from time to time, from the country where they live and work in. This kind of people may be executives of a company, diplomats, university professors , employees of international organisms...


The main caracteristic of transitori workers is that they know, from the begining (the moment they arrive to a new country) that they are not going to live there forever. They know they are staying there only for a period of time. And when they move again, it will happen the same.


            So, since this point of view of life, they can´t allow themself to feel as belonging to a country, to a group of friends, to a house with it´s neighbohood, to a differents places where they enjoy...They can´t organize their lifes in a stable way.


            In this situaction, most of the proffesionals take their families with them . For all of them international migration is a way of life. Families in transit are different from those who don´t are like that.


            Most of the people who have to live this situations, either deny or minimize the big effort they must make to adjust to the new situation constantly. They must leave what, until now, was their home, their country, their daily transform the new place, until now unknown, into their home, their country, their daily rutin...


If they deny, minimize or keep silent this important information of their reality, this will become as a “symptom”, in all members of the family or in someone, which will be the “designated patient”. In this case, the family has the sensation that the adjustment is very easy. The “problematic” member (the rebellious teenager, the histerical woman..)is the one who assumes the difficulty of the adjustment and the one that shows the whole problem of the family. In the end the “problem” is just the own member.


Normaly the father is the one who has the oppotunity to work abroad. In this situation, all the family could be happy, hopping to change their lifes in a better way, earning much more money, learning a new languaje, getting to know a new culture...but they don´t know, and even think, about the problems about their adjustment.


The proffesional has been chosen because of his skills and has been trained to do his job in the perfect way in the destination country.  But he hasn´t been trained for the real adjustment to his new life there. And the company hasn´t taken into account neither his familiar situation, nor his wife labour situation. Most of the failures of this kind of people in their new jobs are due to the adjustments problems of their families, and mainly, of their wifes.


Probably his wife is a woman who had study at the university and had her own job in her country. So, now, she must resign her proffesional development.


Most of these families are organized in the new destination as traditional families. While the man works and does everything related to the external of the house, the woman remains at home, taking care of it and the children. And, of course, she, may be, doesn´t like this way of life. She can fell like going to a contradiction, between what she wanted and what she is doing. So in this situation we can´t consider that these women are neurotic because they react in a jealous, envious or destructive way.


The most important characteristic this families need is flexibility. The more capacity they have to change their roles and relations between them, inside the family, (in view of this situational stress), the easier they will be able to adjust. Each one of them will leave many roles that they had in their former community, as members of a familiar extensive group, of a work group, of a friends group...


Only a good relationship with oneself, a good family cohesion, the acceptance and elaboration of losses.... will allow them to integrate easily the different countries, periods of time, the past and present groups of people...In this way, it will be possible to reorganize an consolidate the sense of identity, correspondent to whom they really are, in spite of all the changes they have lived.

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The culture shock.
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Living in a foreing country is very challenging. In the first year, almost everyone experiences “culture shock”  in some degree. This term refers to the feelings and reactions people have when,at the beggining, they are spending a long period of time in a very different culture from theirs own. In this situation people feel like displaced. They may go trought periods of frustation, adjustment and even depression. Many of them,who experience it, don´t even realize that they are sufferig from it. All they know is that everything is very difficult in their new home.

If you are experiencing culture shock you can be surprised worrying and complaining about all aspects of life (food, weather, people..). You may worry about minor ailments and pains. People in this situation often become frustated and angry over minor problems, and some even refuse to learn the languaje. Overall, they feel helpless and homesick.

 Culture shock is caused by unfamiliarity with the new country, by nor being able to speak the new language fluently or understand the many new idioms, and by nor knowing how to behave in an unfamiliar culture.


Most people go through similar stages of cultural adjustment although the stages be longer or shorter for different people. The stages are the following ones:


1) The honeymoon stage: During the first stage the foreigner often feels excited, with enthusiasm. Everything is new and interesting. The foreigner usually is very positive about the culture  and  overwhelmed with impressions. He/She probably finds the culture exotic and is fascinated by it. Natives are friendly and helpful and the future looks promising. As a foreigner you will probably experience a lot of attention from people around you. In this situation you wont confront the culture.


People in this stage are delightful to work with, but in their enthusiasm to please, they frequently nod or smile to indicate understanding when in fact they didn't understand at all. When their misunderstandings mount up, they are likely to experience the second stage of cultural adjustment.


 2) The hostility stage. In this stage the individual begins to interact with the culture and finds the behaviour of the people inusual and unpredictable. He /she begins to dislike the culture, to criticize it and reacts to the behaviours. School, languaje, shopping, working, dealing with the climate...everything is difficult. Things that were simple back home require more effort in the new country. It seems hard to make friends and, at this point, foreigners may begin to think that local people are unfriendly. Homesickness begins, and along with it complaints about the new country.

This is the stage in which you suffer the “culture shock”.  At this moment you may feel anxiety, frustation, anger and sometimes depression. You may feel lonely and begin to withdraw... Sleep patterns may be disrupted.

People may be upset because, although they had study and spoken the new language in their country, at the end they realize they can´t deal with it as well as they thought.


You can react to this frustation by rejecting the new environment. And you can think that the problems are caused because of you (“ I don´t know how to do it”) or because of them (“If i feel bad is because they are not trying to help me”). Some of the hostilities are translated excessive fear and mistrust into fits of anger over minor frustration, of the host country population, frequent  lack of interest, lack of motivation, and, at worst, complete withdrawal.


This is a painful, difficult stage, but it does not last. As each situation is "figured out," there is a sense of relief and accomplishment which leads foreigners to the third stage.


3) The humour stage. Foreigners begin to use the language more fluently, so comunication with locals becomes easier. They start to understand more of the behaviour of the people. Customs and traditions become clearer, and slowly the situation passes from imposible to hopeful. You start to feel more comfortable at the new environment. Minor misunderstanding that were stressful in previous stage, become manegable now.  You may feel more relaxed and regain your sense of humour and, in this situation, you are able to manage easier the complexity of everything.


4) The home stage. Occurs when the foreigner not only retains allegiance to his/her home culture, but also “feels at home” in his/her newly acquired one. He/she enjoys being in the culture and functions easily in it. Even may prefers certains culture behaviours to that of his/her own culture, so may adopt some of them. At the end he/she has successfully adjusted to the norms so should feel proud of him/herself for achieving the ability to live successfully in two cultures.


While some people go through these stages more quickly or more slowly, most people go through all of the stages. Sometimes people experience these stages in a slightly  different order. The most important thing for a newcomer to remember is that cultural  adjustment is both a natural process and a temporary one. Eventually most people feel comfortable in the new culture. People often do not fully understand culture shock until they return home to their country, when they are surprised to see their own country with new eyes.


 Although culture adjustment takes place every time a person moves to another country, with each move the shock usually lessens.


 So, may be you feel that you are suffering one of these situations...If you feel you didn´t get your adjustment to this new culture, you could tell and share with us what is what you find difficult, so, in view of your experience, i will be able to orientate and to advice all of you in your way of your adjustment.



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And...what about my identity???
Monday, January 19, 2009



Going to live abroad implies questioning ones own identity, ones cultural reference. Habits can change when confronted with a new culture, especially when this new culture is very different from your own.


It can be very difficult and even painful to have to accept that you need to change a part of who you are, change a part of your identity.


When people move abroad, they can try to strongly keep their cultural habits and language. It´s easier to do that, especially when you live among many of your fellow compatriots and your languaje is a wide internationally sponken one. This mentality can be reinforced by a certain mistrust and lack of knowledge of the culture and the way of life of the foreing country where you will live.


Although the situation as explained above, seems comfortable and requires little adaptation, it´s rather the opposite. If we don´t make an effort to integrate,  we will make our lives harder and more difficult.


Opening up to the new cultures doesn´t mean we lose a part of our own identity, but the opposite. Our deepest self will never change, we would only modify some aspects of our personality which could make our lives richer and more interesting. In the end, change is for the better and sometimes necessary..


Although it seems logical and absurd, there is no better advice to integration that, simply, wanting and allowing ourselves to do it.


These are the basic steps you should follow when you arrive in Spain:


1)      Although your language is internationally spoken, try to learn Spanish to deal with spanish people. Although it doesn´t seem necessary, it´s essential. Even if they can understand your language, we don´t like people trying and making an effort to come  near our language. For us that would be very impolite, even more when we are demanded to speak in their language when they are living in our country (and not only on holidays).  If you try you will be able to comunicate with spanish people  and, apart from that, they will valorate your effort to get to know us and try to be closer to us. So, in the end, you will be accepted in a nicer way.


2)      Try to make spanish friends. Don´t relate yourself only with people of your same nationality. Spanish people will introduce you in the spanish history and costums, making easier your adaptation.


3)      In the same way, it´s good for you to keep your relationship with friends of your same nationality , but being very carefull not becoming in “ghetos”.


4)      When you need proffesional services (doctor, electricians, hairdressers..)...give an opportunity to Spanish workers. Each one of us have our way of behaving, of working and our time to do it..but all of us are valids!.  We should trust, unless a little bit, in the unknown, trying to ignore the strange of the novelty.


      It´s not neither better nor worst, it´s simply different. But, when we speak about reparing and home visits (by the spanish proffesinal), you should  be cautious and not to get ansious.  Spanish people take their own time, lay on a sofa and.. wait!! Ha, ha!


5)      Let´s talk now about ways of comunication. It´s very good using newspapers, TV channels and TV programs of our country. In this way you will not feel so far away from everything that is happening in your country and from everything you liked and you were used to. But, apart from that, it´s important to integrate all this i have mentioned above with spanish newspapers and tv channels too. In another way, how can we know what is happening in the country we live at the present?. How can we take part in  people conversations about what they watch on Tv?


6)      The same happens with meals . If you live in Costa del Sol, you can feel lucky. There are a lot of  English restaurants there. But, in the end, you have the same problem. So you should alternate sometimes with Spanish food and timetable. You must realize how most of the social meetings with the new Spanish friends group  will take place around a dish, during a dinner or a lunch.. You will also take profit from the very healthy Mediterranean diet.


In summary, the main obstacle to get used to a new country and integrated with its people, can be we ourself.


We should start having couriosity and respecting the new culture, opening our minds to get to know it. In this way, we will find their arms openend. It only implies  to make an effort and to forget the idea of your original culture as the only and better one for us.


Simply, try it!

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The Spanish Personality
Sunday, December 14, 2008

What better way to really get to know the spanish people, then to ‘gossip’ a bit about their way of life and general habits.


            It’s obvious that one can not speak in general that easily, as we all have our own personality. Personalities that can be very different, even more so when we look at people in the different regions of Spain


               But apart from these differences, we can define the Spanish in their social relationships, as extrovert, sociable, friendly,… We can be quite familiar quite fast so don’t feel strange when people present themselves giving you 2 kisses and from that point on act in a familiar way with you, as if you have known eachother for a while already. We like to hugg, take eachother by the arm or give pets on eachothers’ backs. In this respect, when we meet a foreigner, we treat them as ‘one of us’ without really thinking about the possible reaction to our enthusiasm. We try to be as inviting and friendly as possible, trying to make your integration more comfortable and easy.


            We, Spanish people, like to come together with our friends and family mostly in bars, to have breakfast, to have some ‘tapas’ or just to enjoy a few ‘cañas’ (=small cold beers)…and this can get quite noisy! Why do Spanish people talk so loud? Trying to understand the story one of your friends is telling, can be quite a challenge. And when it’s time to pay the bill, it is not common that everyone pays for his own consumptions. Normally everyone pays a ‘round’, inviting the others for a drink, but, of course, in the end everybody  pays ‘una ronda’. And if not, we just divide the bill equally.


            Regarding our social ways, we are not too fond on formalities and when we enter a discussion with someone we don’t know, we tend to say ‘tu’ instead of the more polite and formal ‘usted’. Except when we speak to elderly people or people with a more important social status or professional activity.


            Spanish people are active, they can easily change their minds or future plans, not really constant and therefore a bit unpredictable. We are independent and in some occasions reluctant to collective ideas or propositions. We only agree if we are convinced ourselves. 


             In the way we communicate, we are emotional, inpredictable and spontaneous.


Also real typical are our loud monologues. They occur when 2 friends meet eachother and one asks the other: ‘Hi, how is everything? How are the kids?’ And the other one responds: ‘…and what have you been up to?’ How are you?’ Your family okay?’ Then probably the other one says: ‘I’m fine, thank you,…’ to continue their ‘dialogue of monologues’. ‘Well, my kid is ill with a swollen throat. You should see the poor girl, she has been in bed for days….’ To what the other one responds ‘Uf, well my kid also got the flue! She missed one week of school!’ The other one: ‘If she stays ill like this I’ll have to take her to see a doctor’ while the second one continues: ‘well, I had to wait for 2 hours before they atended us in the doctors’ office!’…. These conversations can go on for a while, with both speaking at the same time. Until one suddenly says: ‘Well I hope everything stays well for you’’, they kiss and go each on their own way. 


Although we have good personal relationships, we sometimes can have a bit of a short and intensive ‘character’. We are very little suspicious, and credulous enough in ourselves if people trust in us.


            We are ‘utopical’. The good development of our imagination makes us very creative, something that is noticeable in Spanish arts.


Spanish people live the present without looking back at the past too much. We love innovation and change.


            We take important decisions fast which can result in some of  them being wrong and irreversible.


But when we’re confronted with serious problems we react with generosity and good improvisation skills.


Regarding the workplace, I won’t say we are the hardest workers in the world but we are not lazy neither!


            Ah! A special detail just occured to me. In general, an average spanish citizen would rather die of hunger than to give in to his ‘keeping up appearances’. Nothing will stop him to get the latest model of cellphones, the newest dvd-player or clothes from important brands…Even if this involves owing money and having debts or reaching the limit of his creditcard. Then he’ll just work a few extra lousy jobs and works 20 hours a day. No big deal.  


            So, if you are a foreigner in Spain, remember that you can get to know us personaly, we’ll take you in with open arms,…You now also know that we can be contradictive and that we love change… just so you are well prepared!











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Your worries's friend.
Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008.

Hello everyboby!!
I have been introduced to all of you by María, my name is Marta and I`m an all life family friend....

I`m 30 years old and I`m from Algeciras (Cádiz). After 10 years living in Madrid where I did my Phsicology studies and I became a "Clinic Psychologist", I return to my home city... Now, María has been so kind to introduce me into your world, so I can be able to know and help all of you with all your worries or adaptation problems in our country.
In about 20 days I`ll be here on line to start helping you in anything you could need, in the meantime I would like you to get in touch with me and tell me about how your life, your feelings and your thoughts are by now; wich kind of adaptation problems you are finding in your daily path in an emotional/phsicological way. 
Helping me to know you I will help you quicker and in the best way I can.
Thanks in advance!!.... and Susan, we are just like this, a bit "lacy" sometimes (je je)....we like to leave everything at last minute!!
Hopping I can give you all my help,
You can find in me a new friend.
See you soon!!!


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Maria de Castro introduces Marta Pardo to the EOS world‏
Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dear All:

Yes, it is me. Maria de Castro and no, I am not a psychologist...

I know Marta Pardo since her very early years ( 4 years old). She is the daughter of a great surgeon and friend of my family and is a very...... beautiful.... Spanish...... psychologist.

As she is starting her profesional career, she came to see me ( I love mentorship) to study some work possibilities in the Family Law field.... then... I realized how helpful and useful she could be by providing some psychological orientation to you, EOS members in your journey to our  lands, our  culture, our society and our idiosincrasy .

I am fully sure that she will be a great "asset" to EyeonSpain.

Welcome in Marta.... just let you know who you are now and think you are among friends.

Best wishes,


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