Being connected to those around us improves the physical and mental health of both us parents and our kids. But many parents lack this sense of community or feel like they have to work incredibly hard to develop one. This is especially true for folks who move around a lot, like families of US Foreign Service Officers. Making new friends and developing a community while constantly starting anew is challenging, exhausting but also rewarding and life-giving.

“Part of developing deep relationships and deep friendships is being able to be yourself in front of people”
– Jodi Harris

Our expert guest today is Jodi Harris (LCSW). Together with her husband and children, she lived abroad in seven countries in fifteen years. As part of Active & Connected Family Therapy, Jodi is helping head up our international team offering therapy to those connected to US embassies abroad and in the States.

“When you can find home inside yourself, you can create a home anywhere”
– Jodi Harris

Jodi is a true expert on the highs and lows of putting yourself out there with new people, being vulnerable, asking for help, and knowing when it’s time to lean into yourself and your family. The strategies she shares for building community resonate with those relocating abroad as well as those who haven’t moved in years.

In this episode on developing community abroad or at home, we discuss:

  • The most important pieces of making friends abroad;
  • Putting yourself out there and playing the yes-game;
  • The importance of really knowing and understanding yourself in order to find likeminded people;
  • Being vulnerable and honest with yourself and others;
  • Acknowledging everyone’s personal preferences in developing community;
  • And much more!

Whether you move a lot or have been living in the same place for years, if you struggle with making new friends and developing community, this episode is for you. You can find our podcast Active and Connected Families wherever you listen to your podcasts, or easily click the links below to listen:

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More about Active & Connected Family Therapy

Active & Connected Family Therapy is a mental health practice serving individuals, families, and our community. Our practice is designed to help people at all stages and from all walks of life by offering therapists and physicians with diverse backgrounds and specialties via face-to-face, walk-and-talk, and telemedicine appointments. Throughout, we are committed to developing strengths-based, authentic, and long-lasting relationships with you and your children. We hope to provide you with the support and insight you need to help your family navigate life’s hard times and joys.

Are you or your child struggling with mental health? We have a team of psychologists and psychiatrists who can help you out. You can learn more about our practice or contact us here.

More about Jodi Harris, LCSW

Jodi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with adults, parents, and teens who are struggling with anxiety, depression, adjustment to life transitions, stress, health issues, and other challenges. She has a particular interest and skillset in supporting people living or working across cultures – including immigrant and migrant communities, individuals seeking refuge from community violence, expats, Foreign Service, military, and third culture kids (TCKs) and their families. She also has direct experience with and special interest in working with families affected by Type 1 Diabetes.

Her route to Virginia has been meandering. Originally from Austin, TX, she has spent 15 years of her adult life living overseas – in seven countries, across four continents. Jodi is bilingual in English and Spanish and is currently seeing clients who live in Texas or Virginia via teletherapy. She’ll be offering face-to-face sessions from the Falls Church.

You can learn more about Jodi here.

Resources and links mentioned in this episode

Disclaimer: Please remember we are real live therapists, however this is a podcast and is not considered a therapy session. Not only because there is no co-pay but also because we can’t speak to your individual experiences. We are here to help you keep raising healthy kids. And remember, if you are an imperfect parent, we are right there with you. If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, please call your local crisis hotline or go to your nearest emergency room.