The chances of meeting someone outside your own particular cultural, religious, and/or ethnic contexts have never been greater than they are now, in a world connected in so many different ways. These experiences, of loving people who may be quite dissimilar to you, can make your life infinitely richer and more rewarding. It can also generate controversy and complexity that at times threatens to overwhelm you. You may feel torn in so many directions you wonder if there’s any way to feel whole. And as you try to make your own path through this, it can feel very, very lonely at times.
Some of the challenges that you may face in such situations include:
- Discovering and balancing diverging values within relationships
- coping with family objections, judgment, and rejection
- managing competing family and cultural demands and expectations
- surviving experiences such as estrangement, ostracism, and marginalization
- excavating your own racism, prejudice, and biases
- wrestling with concerns about assimilation
- addressing conflicting theologies
- undertaking significant commitments, such as travel/relocation, language learning, and/or conversion
- figuring out how to sustain and develop your own identity
- determining how to parent, and what values you want to transmit to any children
This is hardly an exhaustive list, and if you are in such a relationship, you can probably add very specific items to it. If you feel that you could really use some help making sense of all this, and aren’t finding such help easily (or at all) among family and friends, you can benefit from consulting a qualified professional.
My background includes extensive education in religion and culture, but more importantly, I have deep, lived experience of interfaith, intercultural, and interethnic relationship. I grew up in a white, European Canadian, Christian context and married an Indo-Canadian Muslim man—over intense family opposition—25 years ago. As a result, I have faced evolving and lifelong challenges which have pushed me to develop a range of tools, skills, perspectives, and coping mechanisms—and which ultimately steered me into the degrees I’ve acquired and the work I do now as a psychotherapist. None of this is hypothetical for me; I understand what is at stake. I bring decades of experience and education to providing therapy for these issues. I can help you navigate your challenges with skill and sensitivity.
Some examples of the types of experiences I help individuals navigate:
- an unapproved marriage
- a relationship or pregnancy outside wedlock
- sexual orientation or gender identity that is considered unacceptable by group members
- religious or cultural choices that do not accord with prevailing attitudes
- reproductive choices that are not supported
- choices about conversion that others oppose
- conflicting values within or beyond the relationship (e.g., sectarian differences)
- anxiety and fear about making difficult choices
If you feel drawn to working with someone who can confidently face these questions in therapy, please contact me today for your free and confidential 20-minute video consultation.
Note: I do not treat couples. My focus is on helping individuals do their own work.