Who we are ...
We are a non-profit association founded on May 2004, integrated by returned Spanish emigrants and foreigigrants that is located in Barcelona, Spain.
What we offer ...
Psychological support to accompany returned Spanish emigrants and its descendants in their process of the elaboration of mourning and re-integration in the country, thus preventing pathological processes that might result from the traumatic situation of repeated migration.
Psychological support for immigrants of other countries, special protection for women who are victims of violence.
Personal interview to offer information and emotional support.
-Group of Emotional Support, a safe space for them to:
* find the understanding of peers
* exchange experiences and knowledge
* express their feelings related to migration as a vital crisis
* receive and give emotional support
* reinforce their self-esteem
* acquire positive attitudes towards social integration
* learn mechanisms of adaptation (cognitive strategies and creation of social networks)
* re-frame the critical situations they have lived in a positive way
* respect diversity and accept differences
Analysis of the complex reality they face:
* the experience of uprooting
* the adaptation to new forms of thinking and acting
* the conflicts in their personal relationships related to migration
* the resolution of conflicts derived from integration
* the adaptation to the new labour market and the active research of work and accommodation. -
BRIEF HISTORY OF SPANISH MIGRATION
According to the last information of the Electoral Census of Spanish Residents living Abroad (CERA) on October 1, 2008, the population of Spanish residents out of the country reaches 1:233.568 people. The 54,37 % of them lives in Latin America: 670.633 Spanish people who are established mostly in six countries: Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Cuba.
A significant information is that an important economic income entered Spain during those years proceeding from the saving of the emigrants, an amount that overcame the exportation of the country.
Spanish emigrants are returning to Spain
Nowadays Spanish emigrants and their descendants are returning to Spain and this fact requires a social re-accommodation since society has to be prepared to re-incorporate their emigrated citizens.
Since 1973, Spanish emigrants began to return to Spain to an average of 70,000 per year. Departures are limited and for temporary jobs (about 1,000 people a year). The Spanish people living in Europe are mainly in France, Germany and Switzerland. Latin American residents are concentrated mainly in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay.
The returning has been constant throughout the decade of the eighties and nineties. In this decade returnees were 306.182. Since 1999 there has been a sharp increase in the return of Latin American residents.
According to the National Institute of Statistics there have been 227.111 returned people between 1991 and 2001. One of the hypotheses that manages the National Institute of Statistics (INE) about the future of the returned emigrants "is the assumption of an annual flow of foreign inputs constant and equal 35.000 people”. The INE was correct in their forecasts. (Source: Ministry of Labour and Immigration, Yearbook, December 2009).
Currently, the returning migrant profile is changing. If the "natural returned" profile used to refer to emigrants who had reached retirement age, now the phenomenon extends to descendants of the first and second generation. They are individuals whose family origins entitle them to ask their Spanish citizenship.
After the inclusion in 2008 of a clause into the Law of Historical Memory, in order to extend citizenship to the grandchildren of the exiled Spanish migrants, an avalanche of applications was predicted, as the government estimated that worldwide there would be 1.5 million potential beneficiaries. However, the measure has not had the expected impact, as the Ministry of Labour and Immigration recognized. Until June 2009, only 26.000 applications had been approved.
Returned migrants have gone through all this in their first migration and in returning they are repeating the experience because sometimes they are treated as second class citizens, with their rights on their documents, but who actually face the same discrimination as foreign immigrants.
PSYCHOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES IN MIGRATION
The experience of migration, is a heartbreaking and limit experience. Intra-psychic work is needed to process the valuable things that were lost and the new ones that must be incorporated. There is a feeling of losing oneself in the way to find something new.
Seven important losses have to be processed to elaborate mourning:
1. family and friends
2. own language
3. own culture
4. own land
5. previous status
6. the contact with the home group that used to provide identity
7. the fear for physical risks
- reprocessing emotional bonds
- elaboration of mourning for what is lost
- overcoming the loss of the sense of identity
- to face the lack of emotional and social referents
- to endure the lack of recognition and positive reinforcement
- feeling homesickness
- experiencing uprooting
- feelings of helplessness
- fear of poverty
Almost everything that surrounds a person who emigrates changes: from things as basic as food or family and social relationships, the weather, sometimes the language, culture, status. We can say that around a person who migrates few things will be as they were before.
Three types of migratory mourning can be found:
• The simple mourning: the one that occurs in good condition and can be developed and felt without complications.
• The complicated mourning: when there are serious difficulties in the elaboration of sorrow.
• The extreme mourning: it is so problematic that it is not workable without psychotherapeutic help, since it exceeds the adaptive capacities of the subject. This would be the mourning called Ulysses Syndrome.
The Migrant Syndrome with Chronic and Multiple Stress: defining terms, we understand for stress, "a substantial imbalance between perceived environmental demands and response capabilities of the subject." Mourning is a prolonged and intense stress.The Ulysses Syndrome is present in those migrants who were previously healthy but under the migration stressors develop a range of symptoms such as sadness, nervousness, confusion, insomnia and obsessive concern. -
Migration is usually a crisis situation created by external factors that impel people to seek other destinations. As such it is traumatic and dangerous, because it submits people to many losses and suffering, affecting all aspects of their life.
Painting: "Consolation" by Lora Shelley .-
Migrants have to reprocess the emotional bonds established with their country of origin (people, culture, landscapes...), bonds that were formed during the early stages of life and which have played an important role in the structuring of their personality. When leaving their country, migrants must keep those bonds because through them they express their personality and identity as a person and, simultaneously, they must implement new bonds to adapt themselves to the host country.
The less consistent the planning of migration, the more difficult the elaboration of mourning will be.
* The feeling of loss that is always present in a migration and the feeling of helplessness that accompanies it. Migrants go through periods of uprooting and attempted adaptation with mixed results, accompanied by the inevitable homesickness for the loved people, things and bonds left behind.
* The elaboration of the inevitable feelings of ambivalence, idealization and denigration of the things left behind is necessary, as well as for the things they find in the new country.
Migration is an inner tear with a sense of losing oneself in the way to find otherwise. Migration threatens our sense of identity. Changing our place of residence involves entering “uncharted” territory, and new psychological functions must be anticipated. Internal referents must be called upon in order to prevent psychological disorganization.Many complex psychological phenomena occur during migration and integration into a new community and many difficulties have to be faced.
Some of these difficulties are described below.
* Learning what are the procedures of the new community in order to be accepted: adapting to new customs, new codes or social mores, changes in the language, etc.
b. Ambivalent behaviour and ambivalent feelings among family members, felt by the migrants who quit the country and by the people who remain in it. Guilt, hope, anger, sadness. Everything is mixed up.
d. The break-up of the extended family and the experience of losing their roots brings feelings of abandonment, distress and loss of role models.
In the case of migrants who return to their country of origin or who repeat migration, the reprocessing of these feelings is essential because they are re-issued with the new migration.
Maria Carballal Sanchez
Grundtvig Intercultural Workshop
Farnham Castle, UK
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