Group therapy for English-speaking participants in Barcelona

Would you like to work on your difficulties with other people that come from abroad?

Settling in a foreign city can be extremely challenging: new language, new culture, new customs and the huge effort to build up a new social network, sometimes from scratch.

These group sessions are aimed to work on your issues with other English-speaking participants that might be experiencing the same and that can really relate to what you are going through. It is specifically beneficial to those who tend to isolate, work remotely or have difficulties in their communication with others.

The group meets on a weekly basis in the evening in a centric office in Barcelona, starts in Fall and ends in June.

What will you gain from this group?

· Awareness of yourself and blind spots

· Insight on how you relate to others and why

· Communication skills and other ways of dealing with people in a safe environment

· Trust others

· Deep understanding of human nature and group dynamics

· Emotional intelligence

For any information on available vacant places, do not hesitate asking.

Workshop: How to deal with emotions in times of uncertainty

From confinement, the reality of working from home is much more like a race of psychological obstacles than a forced vacation: dealing with uncertainty, fear of the consequences of confinement, wage constraints, attending to housework, self and family care ... and continuing with your work as if nothing had happened.

The current situation forces us to simultaniously exercise the role of employee, father / mother, son, cook, school teacher and caregiver... which inevitably affects our mental balance and our performance as an employee.

The workshop How to deal with emotions in times of uncertainty was born with the aim of putting mental order in this chaos, offer techniques to reduce anxiety and lighten the psychological pressure to work with less mental weight..

It is an online but interactive training that allows employees to share how they feel, work on their emotions and acquire psychological tools.

Workshop Features:

  • Duration: 2.5h online
  • Workshop adapted to the concerns of the participants through a previous questionnaire.
  • Psychological strategies are taught to detect irrational thoughts and adapt them to reality.
  • During the workshop all the participants apply the learned strategies adjusting their own concerns. This decreases anxiety and increases the feeling of control.

More than the 80 employees who have done it highlight that it has helped them to get to know each other better, stop the chain of negative thoughts and act more closely to reality, all of which reinforces their resilience and equips them better to deal with highly uncertain situations

Common concerns about Coronavirus

The Covid-19 has turned our world upside down without previous warning.

The current uncertainty to which we are subjected to plus the forced lockdown can generate significant psychological instability that can interfere with our wellbeing. Specifically, the state of confinement places us in an uncomfortable position of little control. This threat activates primitive fears and a strong sense of submission to external circumstances that can arise important anxiety. It places us in a regressive place from which we may feel that we cannot make use of our adult resources, like deciding and acting accordingly.

Some of the most common concerns at the moment are:

  • Am I infected?
  • What happens if I got it, what happens to me and my family?
  • Will my family members be safe?
  • What will happen to my work situation?
  • I have a relative infected with the coronavirus. I can't see him and suffer because of that.
  • I juggle my job responsibilities and caring for my family. I am more stressed than ever and I'm going crazy.
  • I have a hard time focusing on my work tasks.
  • I feel stressed and anxious and am not sure how to handle it.

Feelings of confusion, stress, loss and anxiety are absolutely normal given the current circumstances. However, if these affects our wellbeing or erodes our relationships, they must be addressed.

How does psychological support help during confinement?

We all go through difficulties in life that can be handled with our own resources. However, when these difficulties pile up, we can feel overwhelmed and anxious.

Psychological support during lockdown can help to:

  • understand how we feel,
  • understand why we feel that way,
  • implement mechanisms so that these emotions do not become overwhelming or have side effects on our personal relationships.

Also, received in early stages can prevent the development of serious mental health problems.

What's more, psychological support is strongly recommended for those who have experienced mental difficulties in the past, as the current situation can only add more stress and increase existing mental instability.

Job insecurity among young adults

The difficulty to find a job, despite many years of college studies and the job insecurity in Spain, are an increasing reality among young adults. Moreover, the prolonged frustration derived from not finding a decent job can lead to anxiety, stress and depression (in students) and hopelessness in their parents.

In this short interview in the television program "It's Happening" -EITB- you will find:

  • Some helpful tips to deal with this reality.
  • What HR recruiters value in graduate inexperienced students.
  • Tips on how parents can support their children throughout the job search.

I hope you find it useful.

Click here to view video

Previous risk factors that increase the cultural shock

"Why do some foreign college students find it hard to adjust when they study abroad?"

While there is no magic recipe to prevent the struggle that a student who is temporarily in Barcelona will go through, ​​after talking with more than 450 foreign university students, I have observed that they share some previous common factors that hinder their adjustment to a foreign country . Among them:

  • In the past, they have had difficulty adapting to new contexts (eg. they've struggled to adjust to a new school, to a change of residence, transitioning from high school to college, etc.).
  • They have experienced anxiety when being exposed to changes.
  • It is the first time they are so far from their families and usually struggle when they do so.
  • In social situations they usually feel terribly anxious and can't avoid being continuously self-centred. Such anxiety tends to increase especially in new social situations.
  • They fear big cities.
  • They suffer anxiety when things are not under control.

How can we take these factors into account to help students adjust successfully?

While these previous factors do not act as a universal law, which always occurs in any context, they indicate past patterns that can be probability repeated while abroad. So if the universities that host foreign students, Study Abroad Programs, teachers and students themselves have them in mind, they may be alert, act more quickly and provide sooner the support they need to successfully adapt to this adventure of studying abroad.

Myths about anxiety

"I am anxious, when I lay down to sleep I cannot stop mulling things over, my heart beats so fast it seems to jump out of my chest, I am running out of air and am sure will suffer a heart attack ...".

Often, life situations places us out of our comfort zone and confronts us with our own resources. It is common to think that by aging we learn to have things under control and that the experience of going through many situations is an antidote to suffering and anxiety.

Anxiety, due to its disabling and annoying symptoms, is seen as the bad cop, and is often closely related to the next prejudices:

• Anxiety is the enemy to fight against.


As any painful, disturbing and inexplicable feeling, our first natural reaction is to try to get rid of it. However, if we take advantage of it and read between the lines, anxiety can be taken as a sign of alarm. It can be a useful source of information that reveals that something is not working properly, that there are situations that fracture our balance. It might be the reflect of pending internal conflicts.

• Sure there is a way of controlling anxiety through my thoughts!

Another extended believe I hear frequently is the statement "sure there is a way to control anxiety through controlling my thoughts"… as if there were a magic phrase, a mental trick (for instance to draw a blank) or a talisman that as a plaster can avoid such discomfort. Unfortunately, the rational control is not always able to fight emotionally based issues.

In these cases, the best way to reduce anxiety and prevent future episodes, is to find its origin to understand where it steams from, confront it and find a better outlet (accept what it going on, take action, etc.). Only by confronting the underlying issue, anxiety can be eradicated.

I came to Spain to study, but I don't adjust to it

Once upon a time there was a foreign student who had chosen Barcelona to continue his Degree. He has now been three weeks and so far the experience has turn out to be totally different as he expected: he has little in common with his American fellows and he is not enjoying the experience as he had imagined. The days are long, but the nights when he stays in, are never ending. He wonders what to do with his life and and why he does feel so reckless. "Why have I failed?"He asks himself.

He is confused, unable to think clearly, overwhelmed by anxiety, homesick and starts to consider going back home. But he would walk off with his tail between his legs and one more failure under his belt.

At this point, consulting a psychologist is always a wise decision, why?:

A psychologist specialist in this type of situations (cultural adjustment and associated feelings), has a particular knowledge that can help you make up your mind and provides the necessary dose of reality needed in this cases.

  • Achieving a pursued job, starting a relationship, living abroad... are unique experiences which unfortunately also produce a lot of anxiety. The brain is not used to newness and therefore puts on its guard, triggering a stress response similar to the one our predecessors felt in front of a threatening a lion.
    The therapist will help you identify those situations (external and internal) that are generating more stress than necessary and hindering the adjustment process.
  • Sometimes you carry on difficulties that are awaken by this new adjusting experience. Surely it is not the first time ypu have issues adapting to new places and people.
    The therapist helps you detecting repeating patterns, to see where they come from and how to change them.
  • While this experience is not as easy as expected, it can be a great opportunity to know and reflect on yourselves. Probably, you will not have the chance to do this "inner journey" once you get back to the U.S. and to your busy life.

Study abroad can be a great chance to experience another culture, but above all, to travel to the most important place imaginable... to travel to your inner world. A trip that, by no means, you should not miss.