Living in a bordered country can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be that way forever

As something special, I offer body therapy for Ukrainians settling either temporarily or permanently in Denmark, their children, and their Danish family members.

After living in the country for almost 15 years, I have experienced many times what it means to be an emigrant and the mental and psychological adaptation challenges associated with it.

One might think: “How difficult can it be? You come to a lovely, open-minded, and safe country with many opportunities. Just learn the language, culture, and get started!” Get started being a Dane :). But life shows that it doesn’t work quite according to that scenario. It’s not “just like that.”

Changing countries can be very demanding, and the reactions sneak in, first after a few years, after the initial wave of euphoria has subsided. Suddenly, some things come up that you didn’t think would be so difficult. This primarily concerns mental aspects, but over time, the unresolved mental challenges manifest in the body in the form of pain, tension, and illnesses.

In my experience, there are primarily two challenges that arise. The first is the formation of a new identity for the immigrant. It can be a demanding and even painful process, especially since most of us come here as adults and already formed individuals. The second challenge is life in a mixed family. Of course, love can do a lot, and it is a prerequisite for a successful family life. But as reality shows, love can sometimes be crushed by adaptation challenges. Although the cultural difference may not be significant, it is still there, and sometimes it can manifest in unexpected ways.

On a personal level

I had experienced both of these challenges myself, and there was a period when everything was so bad that I had to seek help from a therapist. It helped tremendously! But I found that therapy in a foreign language, even if you master the language almost as well as your mother tongue, has many limitations!

No matter how many years and how well you speak a foreign language, the brain will continue to use a lot of energy to formulate speech. Pronunciation, in particular, requires a lot of energy, even though we may not always notice it. So there is always a certain degree of effort present. On the other hand, when attending therapy, it requires a greater degree of physical and mental relaxation. You have to try to let go and let thoughts and experiences flow freely. This is especially true for body-based therapy, such as Psychomotor therapy. So here arises a conflict – you have to make an effort to speak a foreign language, and you have to let go to receive therapy. It’s different when receiving therapy in your native language. Speaking it doesn’t require effort because the process is automated and deeply rooted in the body and brain. So here, you can both speak and receive therapy while in a relaxed state.

Family members can also have difficulties

The children growing up in mixed families have a few more burdens than we might think, whether they were born in Denmark or moved to the country with us. We don’t want them to lose our original culture and connection to grandparents and other family members in the country of origin. At the same time, we also want them to be well-integrated into Danish society. But reconciling these two things in a small person can be quite demanding at times.

Danish spouses and perhaps their relatives could also benefit from some conversations. This could help them understand their partner/family member better on a transcultural level and avoid many misunderstandings. This can strengthen love and relationships between each other.


If you experience major or minor challenges of any kind being a foreigner in Denmark or a family member of one, you are very welcome to contact me and book a time.