A few thoughts on Acculturation

PsynamoBirdsAcculturation is effectively the process by which we learn about another culture and how we fit into it without necessarily losing our own cultural identity or adopting that of the new culture completely.

We can see this happening on a multitude of playing fields in life from moving countries, companies, schools or just neighbourhoods. Those who are unable to go through this process for themselves may more frequently than not, develop issues of lowered mood, lowered positive outlook, impoverished social or industrial relations and even on down the line to poor self-esteem.

This can be difficult to deal with if we are truly unable to fully identify where we stand in our own lives in contrast to a new culture we may find ourselves in, for whatever reason, and where members of the new culture stand in relation to our beliefs, expectations and upbringing. For example, it is not a far-fetched scenario to observe what are termed ‘trailing spouses’ either adapt to a new life in Hong Kong and thrive with their family or to become depressed and develop a desire to return to home or even just a previous location where they may have been more comfortable.

When we examine those who transition from one company to another, we find that the culture within one organisation can contrast sharply with that of another, even when they are a part of the same industry. For example, some banks have a very open-door policy on maternity and paternity leave, imported from their home culture, in contrast to others who may go for the minimum that the law requires and even have it endemic in their culture that work from home is the norm even during this period of time.

When we look at schools, we can have an equally broad array of expectations emanating from everything from homework policy, range of tolerance of aggressiveness levels of teachers to levels of expectations of involvement of parents in either the classroom of groups such as Parent Teacher Associations.

Until we take the time to be open-minded and observe the culture we are entering into and do our research about what to expect, we cannot prepare ourselves nor can we respond as freely as we should be able to if we are caught unawares and lack the resilience or even self-esteem initially to observe, absorb and involve ourselves meaningfully in whatever acculturation process we may find ourselves in.

Below are some seemingly simple but effective ideas to help you or someone you know enjoy their acculturation process no matter which new culture they may immerse or find themselves immersed in. Happy hunting! …

Five Tips for…Settling-In to a New Culture

1. Eat the local food: enjoy what they do and learn to appreciate the local produce, where it was grown, why it grows there, how the recipes developed according to food preparation rituals, codes or availability of materials.

2. Attend a local festival: nothing immerses you more into a culture than participating, as you are able or allowed to do so, in local festivals or community practices. This gives you the opportunity to appreciate how they dress, communicate with each other, what they hold dear to their heart and might just be fun.

3. Learn the public transport system: this might not be easy in some locations as if we are not able to read the language, our ability to move through bustling train stations may be misguided. Still, having the courage to persevere and understand how the systems function and even basic symbols, if the written language is not familiar to you, can ensure you do not stay at home, frozen with worry about getting lost or remain reliant upon expensive taxi services in the long run.

4. Volunteer: yes, even if you don’t speak the same language, finding a way to help others can help you put everything in perspective and give you good insight into the full range of sociodemographics in your community. As an expat, one may feel privileged and enjoy that feeling, but understanding where you can fit in can also be a rewarding experience.

5. Make friends: this may be easier written than done as not every culture makes friends in the same way or even values making new ones. Seeking out opportunities to share who you are and welcome learning about others is a key way that we can appreciate how we will assimilate into a new environment. If not working, this may be the key way we will be able to find our own worth, especially if only one member of the family is working and/or children are at school and are thus afforded that semi-automatic avenue to integration.

There are many more ways and everyone is different, see what works for you given your new surroundings and be brave, reach out into the unknown and enjoy.

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Psynamo Celebrates the International Day of Friendship Saturday 30th June 2016

The team at Psynamo believe that friendships are important and celebrate the United Nations International Day of Friendship today, 30th June 2016.

Friendship can be many things, whether established in person, online or even by old fashioned methods such as penpal letter writing. Whatever way you have made friends and communicate, take a moment to let your friends know you appreciate them and enjoy making new ones.

Read more for yourself here on the United Nations website.


Hopefully you can spend some time celebrating your friends, learning how to make new ones or just aim to appreciate family who you consider a friend.

Best wishes to you and your friends from the team at Psynamo!


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Psynamo Celebrates the UN World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development May 21st 2016

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development … and Coaching

On May 21 the United Nations is celebrating cultural diversity on a special day with a cumbrous name. They are advertising 10 things to do to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (http://www.un.org/en/events/culturaldiversityday/tenthings.shtml)

Included are small steps like listening to music, visiting exhibits of other cultures in a musem or watching a movie originating in a foreign culture. All easily done and we have a choice to participate, to take action, even to like what we hear and see or not.

When living with people from other cultures we sometimes feel we have little choice. We have to play by “their” rules. Sometimes not the cultural difference, but the need to adjust our behaviour makes us feel like losing control and identity. We do not like giving up choice and relate it to cultural diversity.

To me, this is a misconception, because even in adjusting my behaviour and adapting to something new, I actually increase the options that I have. I may not be enthusiastic about all new choices, but nevertheless, my range is widened. Most of us experience this very directly once we return to our home country, people and place. There we do not see expanded options and we sense less diversity.

Wishing you joy in experiencing the daily challenges of living cross-culturally, on the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Developmen and the remaining days of the year!

Jutta Depner

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Psynamo Celebrates Brain Awareness Week 2016


The team at Psynamo support the amazing efforts of the Dana Foundation in the US each year during International Brain Awareness Week (BAW). This year BAW is being celebrated this week! All week long, all over the world, researchers, teachers, doctors and professionals in related fields are going out of their way to share news about the brain, how to keep it healthy, what new research reveals our brains and more.

Psynamo team member,  Scarlett Mattoli, has been supporting this important endeavour for nearly 17 years by organising events, talks, workshops, literature and more in the UK, US, Europe and for the last 11 years in Hong Kong. She gives regular brain chats to schools, parent groups, corporates and teachers to help everyone learn what the brain is made of what it does for us and how best to take care of it.

To learn more about events that might be happening in your home town in the world, check out the Dana website


Be sure to organise an event if you can or arrange one with Psynamo. Good brain health is important all year round, not just this week, and we are always delighted to share whenever we can.

Have a great week and take care of your brain!

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Psynamo Celebrates International Women’s Day 2016

We hope you have all had an opportunity to recognise this special day in the calendar in one way or another. A number of organisation world-wide are hosting events, talks and workshops to empower women and girls to become the best they can be as well as to support those who are unable to speak for themselves, for what ever reason.

We celebrate women in every walk of life, mother, daughter, grandmother, aunt, friend, wife, sister and all of the roles we take on in our lives. Celebrate someone you love today and be sure to do something where you can to encourage the development of others around you who may not be capable of doing so for themselves.


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First Aid in Homeopathy : Yulia Cherniakov

In our everyday life accidents happen all the time: at home, on the playground, on the road. Most of the time we cannot predict or prevent them, but we have to deal with their consequences. There is a huge range of trauma’s degree, starting with something minor, when we can still fully function and ending with being totally knocked off into the bed with a long period of rehabilitation.

Nearly always trauma will be accompanied by fear, shock and physical pain. Sometimes, even after many years after the accident our body carries the memory of what has happened.

There is great homeopathic remedy for these cases, called Arnica. It is prepared from the plant Arnica Montana, which grows on the mountain slopes of the Andes. The plant itself was used for hundreds of years in folk medicine in the cases of injuries. According to the stories, many terrible falls happened in those mountains, and people there were gathering Arnica, pouring boiling water on the plant, giving the infusion to drink to the injured men, with astonishing results.

Arnica is the king of traumatic stress remedies. Homeopaths use it in injuries of the muscles, fractures of the bones, haemorrhage due to mechanical injuries.

One of the most characteristic features of Arnica is intense sensitiveness due to excessive pain. The person is in constant dread of people approaching him, fearing that they may touch him. “I am am not sick; I do not need a doctor” – will say the person that may be seriously injured, but just tries to avoid any physical contact and check-up.

The patent feels sore, weak and bruised all over, as if beaten. His whole body aches and pains. It is because of this that he dislikes lying down; everything on which he lies seems hard and uncomfortable. He constantly keeps on changing from side to side and from bed to bed in search of a soft place. He can lie on one part only for a little while, and then he must get off that part to the other side.

As an example, Arnica will very often take all the soreness out of a sprained ankle and permit the person in a few days to go walking about, to the surprise of everybody. The black and blue appearance of sprained joints will go away in a surprisingly short time, the soreness will disappear, and he will be able to manipulate that joint with unexpected ease.

Arnica is not only a remedy for the ill – effects of injury but also for the effects of overexertion. We know in this highly competitive society, every person specialises in the use of some particular organ; a typist or pianist has to continuously use his fingers, a singer his vocal cords, a trumpeter his lungs, an athlete limbs, a proof reader his eyes and so on. Therefore all these person can have relief from taking remedy Arnica when they suffer due to the overexertion of particular limbs and organs.

What is important to stress, is that if you’ve broken your arm you would still have to go to the doctor to fix it. But taking Arnica will help you to reduce significantly the need in pain killers and speed the healing process.

By Yulia Cherniakov, Reiki Master and Homeopathic Practitioner

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Supporting Families in Transition

10 inspirations for a happy family relocation. By Jutta Depner

Naturally, each move is different. Yet, still, there are some activities to support success through novelty and challenges that every relocation brings:

1. Appreciate what you left…

  • What are you grateful for?
  • How will you positively discontinue relationships and places?
  • Some relations will last – how do you expect them to change?

2. Study your family’s identity…

  • Who are you here and now?
  • What motivated you to move?
  • Which changes do you expect as a family?

3. Build a new home…

  • What does “home spice” smell like for you?
  • What can you improve compared to your previous home?
  • What is soul food? Enjoy it occasionally as a treat. Explore new tastes and textures as additions to family food.

4. Be creative – monitor your development…

  • With pictures, mind maps, emoticons on graphs, through music or annual photo books.
  • Express your experiences in extraordinary ways and review from time to time to get amazed about your development.

5. Stay special to each other…

  • Keep up family rituals.
  • Celebrate your personal events.
  • Create the family language by adapting from the new local language in a way that only you will understand.

6. “Show and Tell”

  • Share your experiences: your likes and dislikes, what you love to incorporate and what you will never get used to.
  • Vent in the intimacy of your family and invite each other to the positive sides.

7. Find new friends…

  • It takes time to establish friendships. Actively manage the process: use the recommendations friends gave to you, become a member of a church, in clubs, school PTA and try it out. In case you don’t feel at ease – let go lightly and start at a different place.

8. Give time…

  • To each member of the family team with different speeds and new rhythms and habits.
  • To find your ways around; even small achievements can take long in the beginning.
  • To your body, it needs to adjust to new food, new sounds and smells and a new micro-climate.

9. Embrace surprise…

  • You make a friend on your very first day – wonderful!
  • The more people there are on board, the bigger the chances for challenging surprises. Most are going to settle over time. If not, there are people and organisations who will support you. No need to hesitate, open up to external help.

10. Profit from your base back home…

Friends and family will help and be compassionate. However, they cannot see the whole picture and especially family, may worry more than you like them to in case you include them in every struggle.

Invite them to come and visit. Especially kids will be proud to guide through your new life physically an you will experience together how much you have already achieved.

Want to know more? Call to chat with Jutta today…

+852 2789 9907

Psynamo Limited

1201 Car Po Commercial Building

18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace

Central, Hong Kong



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