Guest Blogger: Expert Psychological Care for Expats Around the World

This guest post is written by Susan Bernstein, Co-Founder and Director of The Truman Group which provides US and western expats access to quality psychological care. I thought their services would be of special interest to many of my readers who live outside their home country and may have found it difficult to find effective therapy.

Who Is the Truman Group?

Photo of Susan Bernstein of The Truman Group
Susan Bernstein
Sean Truman and I co-founded the Truman Group about three years ago. Sean grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, the son of a UN diplomat and an international school teacher. He eventually made his way back to the States where he received a PhD in clinical psychology and was a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow at Yale University’s School of Medicine, where he worked both at the Child Study Center and in the Department of Psychiatry. He found his way to St. Paul, Minnesota where he opened a psychotherapy practice.

The Difficulty for Expats Finding a Therapist They Trust

He was surprised to find, after some time that a number of patients wanted to continue working with him after having been relocated overseas for work. Despite the fact these patients were living in major cities, they said they couldn’t find a therapist they felt comfortable seeing.

Sean realized that if these patients were having difficulty finding therapists, there must be many other people who, whether due to language or cultural barriers, privacy issues in tight-knit expat communities or an actual lack of qualified therapists, might be having similar difficulty finding good care.


Patients Around the World

I have a background in strategy and program design and after Sean explained his view of the problem to me, I was intrigued. We formed this group to solve the problem of finding high quality psychological care regardless of where people live.

It’s been three years now and we have treated patients living everywhere from major cities to rural areas. We have provided care to retirees, corporate executives, missionaries, aid workers in NGOs, diplomats, international school teachers, trailing spouses and adolescent youth. Patients often tell us they would have gone without care if they had not found out about our services.

Our Criteria for Selecting Therapists

I’m really proud of the group we have built. We have an extremely skilled, compassionate and experienced clinical staff, all of whom are US-based, trained and licensed. We set a high bar in terms of inviting therapists to join us, and we have turned away many more practitioners than we accept. Everyone in the group has either a PhD in clinical psychology, has decades of clinical experience, or has lived or traveled extensively overseas, and many satisfy all three conditions.

The ultimate test we use to determine whether we want someone to join the group is asking the question: Would I send my own friends and family to see this person? After we have met with a practitioner a number of times and are satisfied they would provide the level of care and compassion we seek to deliver, we invite them to join the practice. 

Photo of Sean Truman of The Truman Group
Sean Truman
How the Process Works

Sean meets by phone or Skype with everyone who contacts us to determine whether we can provide appropriate care to them. If we can, he matches them with one of the practitioners in our group whose experience and style he thinks would fit best (and, if not, we’ll work to find them appropriate alternate care). Patients then meet with their therapists via Skype or by phone. Our therapists meet regularly as a group to discuss the issues surrounding how to deliver the highest quality care with this special expat lens.

Types of Problems We Treat

At this point, three years in, I can say that we have treated people literally from all corners of the globe. Patients find us through the Internet, through word of mouth referrals and through the State Department, which has come to know our work. Our patients see us for many of the same reasons someone would see a therapist in the US: for anxiety, stress and depression, substance abuse, relationship challenges, coping with grief and, for some, the challenges of living in areas torn by strife.

The Rewards and Challenges

It has been tremendously rewarding speaking to patients and knowing we are delivering good care. I think in particular about the many life experiences our patients are going through, and the fact that they are doing so without the benefit of having their usual network of friends and family to turn to. We have provided support for many people across the world experiencing challenges in their life and I know, from speaking with them that we have been of help.

The greatest challenge for us has been trying to make ourselves known to a far-flung community of expats living all over the world. It’s been a challenge I enjoy though. As someone who is used to living overseas, it feels right to have one part of my mind focused outside of the US.

For more information about the Truman Group visit their site: http://www.truman-group.com

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sean Truman, email him at struman@truman-group.com or call him at +1-651-964-0224. An initial consultation is free.

About the author:
Susan is originally from NY, lived for many years in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and now resides in St. Paul, MN. She has lived in Japan, Italy and the UK, and has traveled extensively across Europe and Asia.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy that I came across this post and had a chance to go through the same.

    ReplyDelete

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