Are You An Italian Struggling To Adjust To Life In America?
As Italians, we come from a slower-paced, family-oriented culture that contrasts sharply with the experience of living in America. If you have recently moved from Italy and/or are struggling to adjust to life in LA, I am here to offer support during this transition.
It’s possible you moved here for a job or to be closer to your partner. If the two of you come from vastly different backgrounds, your relationship may be experiencing strain. You may be worried that your values don’t align, creating differences of opinion about finances, family, and day-to-day activities. You could be, quite literally, speaking a different language from your significant other, furthering the isolation you feel here in the States.
It doesn’t help that finding a community is progressively difficult, especially during the pandemic. Between the language barrier and lack of a close-knit culture, you may feel like you have no one to turn to who understands your challenges. It seems to you that American life is solely based on work and material success, rather than leisurely, intimate time with friends and family. And you probably miss the work-life balance you were able to maintain in Italy.
You are not alone in your experience; I, too, struggled in my adjustment to the individualistic culture of America when I first arrived. As an Italian therapist, I can relate to your experience, help you overcome culture-specific hurdles in your relationships, and provide counseling in your language. Together, we can facilitate more meaningful connections in your life.
Why Is Adapting To A New Culture So Difficult?
No matter who you are or where you’re from, moving from one country to another is very challenging. Leaving one’s homeland can be a tremendous loss, often resulting in feelings of grief and devastation in having to leave behind friends, families, hobbies, and an entire way of life. On top of this loss, there are many obstacles that come with adjusting to a completely new lifestyle, forced to adapt to a different language, culture, and value system.
When it comes to Los Angeles, in particular, my non-native clients often describe life here as living in a Hollywood movie: on the surface, the people and scenery are beautiful and alluring—but it’s hard to get to the substance. Sometimes this looks like the experience of meeting a new acquaintance that you really connect with, only to never hear from or see the person again. Oftentimes, however, these cultural challenges are often the most present in the arena of sex and intimacy.
Standards around commitment are different here. We Italians tend to be romantic and serious about our intentions, while Americans might be more inclined to enter partnerships with detachment or the option of separation/divorce in mind. Unsure of how to manage these differing standards, it’s common for intercultural couples to experience bumps in the road.
But Isn’t Therapy For Pazzi?
Unfortunately, the mental health stigma is pervasive in Italy, preventing many of us from seeking guidance. In America, going to therapy for any issue—including anxiety, depression, and relationship challenges—has been relatively normalized. Still, Italians tend to maintain the misconception that mental health support is for those who are unwell or unstable.
Furthermore, it’s very difficult to find a culturally competent therapist who understands the nuances of Italian culture. There aren’t many of us practicing in the States, and it’s rather rare to find a native Italian psychologist who can counsel you in your mother language. With a language barrier present, it can be harder to relay emotions, experiences, symptoms, fears, and goals.
I am here to help you feel less far away from home. At Century City Counseling, I am pleased to offer bilingual therapeutic services in both English and Italian.
I Am An Italian Therapist Invested In Your Healing And Resilience
My goal as an Italian therapist is to offer reliable, effective services to couples, families, and individuals throughout LA and California so that they can live their best lives in a foreign environment. As an Italian-speaking clinician, I can guarantee a precise understanding and support of my fellow Italians, as I myself encountered a lot of the same struggles when I emigrated to America years ago.
What To Expect
My approach to therapy is based on the model of Solution Focused Psychotherapy. This model consists of a set number of meetings (between 8 to 12 on average), oriented around goals that we will collaborate on together. As opposed to the why behind the problem—which is the focus of many long-term counseling approaches—Solution Focused Psychotherapy is concerned with how to fix it. Because I come from the same Italian culture as you, I will be able to curate more specific solutions for you based on shared struggles and common values.
By the end of our time together, you will feel empowered to face life challenges confidently. Not only will you have a stronger sense of self, you will also be given tools that can help you adapt to life in the US more effectively. Therapy allows you to access your innate wisdom and resources so that you can feel competent in the face of adversity. This will translate to your daily life, work, and relationships. Within your marriage or partnership, in particular, our work together will allow both of you to celebrate—rather than repel—your differences.
By learning to see the big picture and not just the small details, you can embrace the unique opportunities that life as an expat affords you. Working with a therapist who will identify with and relate to your Italian background can provide you with meaningful connection, affirmation, and support—allowing you to adjust your idea of what it means to be “successful” in this country.
Maybe You’re Still Unsure About Counseling…
My Italian friends and family will think I am crazy for seeing a therapist.
Unfortunately, Italian culture tends to view mental health services in a depreciative way. But it’s important to understand that not every mental health issue is severe. Regardless of severity, help exists for a wide spectrum of symptoms.
All of us have life stressors and struggles. There is nothing wrong with seeking support, and many people in therapy are there for common issues involving stress, anxiety, and relationship issues.
Why is it beneficial to have therapy in my native language?
Many of my Italian clients find it easier to process their experiences in their mother language. Oftentimes, these clients feel limited by English or struggle to fully express themselves. Working with an Italian therapist gives them an opportunity to feel more open, relaxed, and authentic in the therapeutic space.
Is my intercultural relationship doomed?
Absolutely not! Each of you has different experiences, values, and perspectives from which you operate, and you just have to learn how to speak one another’s emotional language. As a therapist who moved to LA from Italy and had to navigate my own intercultural relationships, I have an extensive understanding of both Italian and American cultures. I can help you come to a shared understanding about your partnership and develop solutions together.
Find Happiness Away From Home
If you’re an Italian struggling to adjust to life, work, and relationships in America, I am an experienced therapist who speaks your language and understands your perspective. Contact me to find out more about how I can help.
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