Online Counseling for International Students

Turn the Challenges You’re Facing into an Opportunity for Self-Discovery and a Brighter Future

Online Counseling for International Students in San Francisco, CA - Lindsay Durgan, LMFTIf you’re an international student who arrived in the United States full of excitement, dreams and aspirations, only to find things haven’t gone the way you planned or hoped … I get it.

Of course, there are always the typical stressors of educational life: homework, exams, internships, finances, and family and social issues are always part of the student experience.

But international students often face additional difficulties, such as language barriers, culture shock, prejudice, and living far away from friends, families, and the support systems they’ve come to rely on.

Additionally, many international students feel pressure to succeed academically, either because of their cultural backgrounds or the financial sacrifices their families have made to help them study abroad.

And students from some cultures aren’t familiar or comfortable with talking about their feelings or asking for help, either because they believe their families won’t approve or because they’ve been taught that seeking help is a sign of weakness or failure.

Given all of this, it should come as little surprise that studying and living abroad can be extremely hard on international students’ mental and emotional health and wellness.

But it doesn’t have to be this way …

If you’re one of the million international students currently enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities – including the 125,000 enrolled just in California – and you’re struggling with acclimatization, or any sort of mental, emotional, social or behavioral health and wellness challenges … you’re far from alone.

And help is available!

How Counseling & Therapy Can Help International Students

A lot of international students feel they should just “tough it out,” try harder, and hope everything works out for the best. But hope isn’t really a strategy. And when you’re already overworked and stressed out, working harder isn’t likely to be much of an option.

Something’s got to change, but what?

Whom can you talk with who not only understands what you’re going through but can actually help?!?

Even if you’re comfortable talking with friends and family members about the issues you’re facing, these people have their own expectations, needs, and biases, which means they can’t be truly objective about your situation.

Only professional counseling and therapy can provide you a confidential, safe, nonjudgmental space in which to explore your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors and create the change you seek.

If you want to do more than just survive and hope … if you want to thrive and create positive, lasting change in your relationships and your life, then you need to create the time and space to objectively explore who you are and what you need to feel happy and fulfilled.

Professional counseling and therapy can help you:

  • Acclimate to Western culture and society, including helping you not only understand some of the dizzying array of American customs around personal space, eye contact, and body language, but also different accents, idioms, and slang, so you can communicate more confidently and effectively with instructors and peers;
  • Navigate family expectations and relationships, including helping you cope with feelings of isolation, loneliness, and homesickness, have difficult conversations, and achieve independence while staying emotionally connected with family, even if you come from a more hierarchical, authoritarian, top-down family system;
  • Effectively deal with any type of discrimination, including prejudice, harassment, or any type of verbal or physical abuse that’s traumatizing, leaves you feeling unwelcome and unsafe in your new home, and negatively affects your mental, emotional, and physical health;
  • Overcome anxiety, stress and depression, whether those feelings are about making the right personal, educational, or career-related choices, the relationships you’ve left behind or the new ones you’re struggling to create, or about supporting yourself financially and becoming successful;
  • Create fulfilling relationships with friends, professors, bosses, colleagues, and peers, so you feel genuinely supported and cared for;
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-esteem, work through any feelings you may have about being an “impostor” or “not good enough,” and learn to truly value, appreciate and love who you are, as you are;
  • Develop and connect with support networks; and
  • Better understand your Self, get clear about what YOU value, believe, and want most out of life, and learn how to move forward and achieve YOUR goals at a pace that’s right for you.

As a professional counselor, psychotherapist, and family therapist who’s traveled extensively and experienced cross-cultural shock over and over – including during my time as an international exchange student in China, as well as when providing cross-cultural counseling for foreign students in Japan for five years – I’m here to let you know that …

Despite what anyone tells you, you don’t need to have it all figured out.

What many people don’t want to admit or face (including our friends, parents, and mentors) is that life is a continuous process of growth and change.

Once you realize and embrace that fact, everything else becomes much easier, more rewarding, and fun.

This is what counseling and therapy are all about: learning to embrace change, discover who you really are, and create the relationships and life you desire and deserve.

Are Counseling & Therapy Right for You?

Like all major life transitions, becoming an international student in the United States can be a transformative journey that’s as daunting as it is rewarding. It’s an experience that can leave you feeling vulnerable and lost as you’re forced to reevaluate your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and beliefs – whether those thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and beliefs are yours or someone else’s and whether they’ve been helping you or not.

The good news is that this is also an ideal time to learn more about yourself and decide what you want most out of life.

My job as a psychotherapist is to help you explore your values and beliefs and align your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with who you really are, so you can let go of any unnecessary tension, cope with and move past anxiety and depression, communicate more effectively with others, and create a more authentic, successful, and joyous life.

And counseling and therapy don’t have to take a long time …

You decide on your goals for our work together, and we’ll figure out the most effective and efficient ways of achieving them.

Plus, the online, virtual counseling and tele-therapy services I offer can be done at any time and location that’s convenient for you!

Of course, whether to seek counseling for international students or therapy is entirely up to you. You always have a choice …

But why keep struggling, trying to “tough it out” and do it all on your own, alone, when you can ask for and get the help you need and deserve.

Acknowledging you need some help and asking for it is a sign of strength, and I commend you for your self-awareness and courage, as you look for ways to turn your current struggles into an opportunity to grow and lay the foundations for a bright future.

If you’re ready and willing to explore who you are, better understand your Self, and make sure you’re on the right path for you no matter where you call home, I encourage you to contact me today at 415-990-9976 or with any questions you have. I look forward to meeting you and helping you create the relationships and life you love.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Lindsay Durgan, LMFT – Licensed Counselor & Therapist providing Online Counseling for International Students in San Francisco, California

What Clients and Colleagues Have to Say

“Working with Lindsay has profoundly impacted my life for the better, and I can’t speak of her highly enough! Her compassion and understanding of intersectionality has helped me to navigate the world as an autistic nonbinary person of colour, most notably by providing me with tools and strategies I’ve been able to employ to mitigate the symptoms of my social anxiety. Lindsay has been there to support me through the most difficult times in my life with her empathy and level-headed guidance; and I can say with certainty that her exemplary quality of care is consistent in every session, whether face-to-face or virtual.”

– Senior college student (non-binary)
San Francisco, CA