When overwhelm becomes emotional with expat counselor Karen Rigatti in Milan


We talk to Karen Rigatti, an English-speaking professional and expat counselor based in Milan. She works mainly with expats helping them develop more effective communication and coping strategies. Her own experience of cultural adaptation and intercultural relationships has shaped the areas of focus in her practice.

In this video, Karen talks about her own relocation experience when she moved to Milan in 2008, the importance of learning Italian to manage daily life and how important it is for pregnant couples and new parents to navigate the emotional and psychological shifts of becoming new parents abroad.

Looking for an expat counselor? Find out more about Karen’s counseling services via her website here.

[0:40] MumAbroad: Moving to a new country can be very straightforward, equally it can be quite an overwhelming experience. How can people asses if they just need to be more organised, maybe get help from a relocation company, or decide they actually need some professional help with readjustments?

Karen Rigatti: First of all, I’ve never heard of a straightforward international move! I haven’t moved to that country yet.

But I think we’re talking about the difference between logistics and emotional overwhelm. A move can feel overwhelming, but if it’s a question of needing to be pointed in the right direction, a relocation company can help. But if it feels as though managing the day-to-day is just too much, simple things make you feel you’re coming undone, everything is really a struggle emotionally, then it looks like perhaps that may have tipped over from being overwhelmed logistically and being overwhelmed emotionally and counselling can be helpful. 

Often emotional overwhelm isn’t about having too much to do, it’s about not knowing where to start. If you were handed a nice tidy list of things 1 to 1,000 and told you need to do these one after the other, you might be overwhelmed with the amount, but not unclear about the strategy. A counsellor can help you create that action point and of course manage the emotional aspects as well. 

You can find more information on living in or relocating to Spain, Italy, France and Germany with a family on our website.

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