Making the decision to leave one’s home to make a new life in another country is not an easy one. In today’s context of worldwide migration and globalization, individuals, families and communities affected by immigration and acculturation have unique needs. Adapting to and coping with a new culture can be stressful and can cause anxiety – particularly if you don’t speak the language. Although every circumstance is unique, some immigrants or refugees may have also experienced trauma on their journey – in addition to significant culture shock. If you are an immigrant struggling with adapting to life in a new community, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s immigration/acculturation specialists today.

Meet the specialists

I'm an immigrant from Greece and the Middle East who is now naturalized in the United States. As someone who identifies as racially ambiguous, I'm passionate about serving immigrant communities and addressing cross-cultural dynamics. I know firsthand how branching out while maintaining a connection to your culture can feel impossible. In therapy, I will work with you through a culturally-humble and culturally-affirming lens to help you navigate these challenging dynamics.

— Anny Papatheodorou, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Lafayette, CA

As an immigrant, I can relate to your experience. I have worked with immigrants and their families through all of my training. I look forward to hearing your immigration and acculturation story. I continue to stay on top of immigrant and racial issues in our country so that I can help individuals from various races and religions as they navigate through their racial identity, immigration story, and the challenges that they face.

— Liliana Ramos, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA

Many of my clients are first- or second-generation immigrants, some of whom experience stress related to cultural differences between their current and former homes. I respect clients’ decisions to find ways to honor aspects of both cultures. I am against the idea of treating white, American values as “normal” and anything else as a problem. I am also a descendant of immigrants and have the lived experience of being separated from ethnic traditions by past generations who chose to assimilate.

— Matt Bouse, Therapist in Ann Arbor, MI

Picking up and leaving everything you have ever known to move to a different country is harder than what most people think. It can take many years to build the life that you want and many more years managing the expectations from those back home. Those expectations are heavy. On top of it, you are juggling the expectations of an adopted country and what it means to be a success here. Let me be of support; I have over ten years of experience working with immigrants and their families living.

— Tara Genovese, Clinical Social Worker

As an immigrant, I understand first hand the challenges one faces around acculturation and assimilation. Going through the immigration process can be scary and the pressure from the society along with family pressure can result in stress while feeling like you don't quite fit in. As your therapist, we will delve deeper around the challenges you face and assist you in feeling confident with yourself and finding healthy ways to cope with potential anxiety that can arise.

— Avni Panchal, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

Words like "home", "culture", and "mother tongue" can feel tender to those whose roots have been uprooted. No matter how recently or remotely one emigrated, the process of belonging is always underway. Transnationality can reveal it's complexity with each life cycle, adding a special kind of heart tug during events such as: death of relatives, birth of a child, loss of a friendship, a move, marriage, divorce, medical diagnosis, etc. I am here for you!

— Silvia Gozzini, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in PORTLAND, OR

Maybe you are a first-generation college student who is struggling to navigate this new process and the educational system by yourself. Is it difficult for your parents or family members to understand what you are going through, leaving you feeling alone and overwhelmed? Do you feel conflict or tension with family over differing culture and/or values? I encourage you to reach out for a free consultation to see if we are a good fit.

— Elizabeth Munoz, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

I have a specific interest in working with immigrants and children of immigrants.

— Olivia Smith, Psychotherapist in Chicago, IL

I immigrated to the United States from India 28 years ago. It was rough in the beginning. Learning a new lifestyle, a new culture on top of the isolation from family was overwhelming. It was almost like starting over once again; going back to school, raising a family, working hard to plant yourself, and thrive. It is not easy. Sometimes you wish, you had the mental and financial support. Someone to hold your hand and say," It will work out." I can be that person for you.

— Amita Khare, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Gold River, CA

I am a bilingual therapist fluently in English and Mandarin. I am familiar with culturally competent therapy and service. Born and raised in Taiwan, I have worked and clinically trained in the U.S in various Asian mental health setting including hospital outpatient department, community mental health clinic, school-based mental health services, and private practice. As an Asian American psychotherapist, I naturally connect with immigration and acculturation issues that clients experience.

— Suzie Wu, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Berkeley, CA

As an internal student and immigrant from Taiwan almost two decades, I have a deep understanding about the struggle of trying to survive, fit in, or/and adapt to another (dominant) culture and the impact of acculturation. Other than my personal experiences, I've had additional trainings in cultural competency and worked with diverse populations. With cross cultural sensitivity, I create a safe place for clients to explore their internal and external experiences, so that they can heal and grow.

— Juei-Chen Chao, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

I grew up in a small North Carolina town in the 70s and 80s. My parents are immigrants from India, and in this little town, my family was markedly different from the other families around us. Becoming acculturated was difficult. Still is. I have worked hard to notice how I've abandoned certain parts of me or struggled to accept parts of me that I weren't accepted by those around me. I look forward to helping you on your journey and bringing my training and expertise in this area to our work.

— Annu Sood, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

As an immigrant from Taiwan. I understand the many difficulties adjusting to the new environment and learning a new language. As well as the feeling of uncertainties the future has in store for you. I take a nonjudgmental stance and strive to make you feel like you belong.

— Serena Hsieh, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Arcadia, CA

As a first-generation daughter of Middle-Eastern parents, I have experienced the challenges that I, as well as my parents and various family members, have had to face. I understand the feeling of balancing two cultures who are often very different from each other. I understand the frustration of not feeling like your two selves can ever exist as one. I hope to offer you support and understanding and am happy to share my won experiences when they may be helpful.

— Monique Mouchamel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Northridge,

Our identities are informed by values, experiences, the cultural and immediate contexts we live in. The circumstances and age of migration, and need for belonging and acceptance compounds adjustment to indigenous cultures and the host culture at home, school /workplace, and the community. This can impact mental health (anxiety, depression, displacement, confusion). Using mind-body approaches, I explore ways you interact with multiple contexts, and systemic factors that impact your mental health.

— Lavanya Devdas, Psychologist in Doylestown, PA