Yasmine Krid, multilingual psychologist specializing in interculturalism, based in Cork, agreed to answer our questions concerning her career, her arrival in Ireland, her profession and her approach..
Lepetitjournal.com: Can you summarize your journey for us?
Yasmine Krid: I grew up in Algeria and, at the age of 20, I fled the civil war and I was fortunate enough to "go on living" in France.
History has definitely linked me to France, because I was born there. Life wanted my mother to give birth to me during a routine visit to her parents in the Lyon region (there was no need for a visa to come to France at the time, I am getting a bit old here !).
I landed in Lille in 1996 … in Lille because there were no other flights available from Algiers (it was the gradual resumption of flights to France after the tragic hijacking).
The first winter in France was exceptionally tough, I remember a night with a good -14 … I got used to it quickly and then nothing beats being able to walk on the street, go to college, be an independent woman without being afraid of having your head cut off at every turn.
For 20 years, I have been able to study, work, travel, love, create … Exile, even chosen, imposes its share of mourning, separation, disillusionment and harsh choices, but it was out of the question for me to sell off the chance that life offered me to evolve in complete freedom and security. I could only honor this gift.
When I was a teenager in Algeria, I remember my interest in Irish music initiated by the cinema, it never left me. In France, I had access to more Celtic culture and my interest in it grew.
In 2005, I was finally able to make my first trip to Ireland and I remember that when I left Dublin airport towards Athlone, everything seemed new and familiar at the same time, as if I recognized a place where I had never been. The meeting with the Irish confirmed the idea that I was home. I then returned to Ireland at least once a year and on one of my trips, the meeting with my husband who is from Cork closed the circle, I have now been living in Cork for almost 4 years.
Why did you choose this job?
From a very young age, I have had an interest in how people feel and as soon as I could, I started looking, reading to understand.
My personal experience of living in a country in post-colonial identity crisis and civil war fueled my interest in everything that could help to better live in the present and to "repair" what is repairable. In France and thanks to my university career, I discovered approaches to psychology that I never suspected and especially that when we live in a safe environment, there are existential questions that are invited anyway. I mean that even without apparent tragedy, the notions of freedom, responsibility, meaningfulness, isolation are still there.
And precisely, these are essential concepts for me and thanks to my job, I am at the heart of what makes sense in my life.
The icing on the cake is that it’s very rewarding to see people suffer less, enjoy their lives better, be in line with their values and their choices. It is a partnership that challenges, at each stage, we are rarely in the comfort zone, but what a human adventure!
How was your arrival in Ireland?
Thanks to my knowledge of the country and my spouse who was from the region, my arrival was natural. Having already had to leave a country leaving friends and possessions behind me, I was very enthusiastic and confident. We are resilient beings and my freedom and security were in my suitcases, with me.
What happens during a consultation ?
I offer consultations in French or English, depending on the first language of my patients. I like to work in the exchange and I like to say that I am not a silent shrink who watches people talk. Sometimes the first session can be intimidating, but I'm there to help find front doors, and soon people realize they are safe and in good hands. Benevolence is the watchword. It doesn’t prevent tackling what is angry, on the contrary, it allows it. And then I must say that we laugh a lot, humor is a great catalyst for these people and for me.
I share with the people who consult me my knowledge and my expertise acquired since I set foot in this field. I also use my personal experience, we always do with what we are. Emotions and what to do with them play an important role in my approach. So when at the end of a successful couple therapy I was once told, "You have been our Heart Krid," mine smiled.
My practice has changed by being here: there is like a “question accelerator” because we are expatriates, the patient and me. And then the Irish relaxation was right with certain French protocols and that is not to displease me. I offer an infusion to my patients upon their arrival and since an Irish patient hugged me before leaving and another took off her shoes during the session, I love the "real" even more . I can say that since 2003, the year when I opened my practice in the Toulouse region after having finished my studies, I have evolved with my discipline which is less dogmatic and more pragmatic and the people who consult me are doing it well, everyone is happy.
This pandemic is the "double kiss kool effect" for us expatriates
Do expatriates encounter specific difficulties?
Indeed, I note that people who have left France for more than a year of experience and capitalization in call centers are confronted with specific themes. There is often an important personal reason, not necessarily tragic or traumatic, to stay away from "home" for a long time. Often, we are not satisfied with having fled what we did not like or lived badly. Once installed, you have to love what is within our reach and the comparison with what we miss from what we have left is an obstacle. As long as the question arises like this: "Here I miss things but I like others, there it is the same", we are at an impasse. In short, it is a matter of choosing one's renouncements and gratifications and integrating lack as part of life.
It goes without saying that the intercultural differences are surprising, because Ireland is not very far from France, we expect more of a culture shock when settling in China. However, when interculturalism goes beyond the misunderstanding of local culinary tastes, notions like the relationship to work and hierarchy, relational standards and legislation for example are destabilizing. Expatriation tests our certainties about what is good or bad.
What are your tips for making the most of this pandemic period?
This pandemic is the "double Kiss Kool effect" for us expatriates. More than ever, we are faced with our choices and what they imply. I said above that expatriation accelerates the questioning, I add that the expatriation pandemic does the same thing. We are trying to regain some control over what happens to us through the instructions and precautions that we follow, but our freedom has taken a huge hit. Since we have no choice, we must accompany the wave that carries us, adjust so as not to hurt ourselves or others. It is essential to adapt your routine and accept the imperfection of your execution.
We cannot set too many dates for our projects, everything is in abeyance, but that does not prevent us from harboring dreams and remembering what we have achieved since confinement.
After all, no longer being afraid of our finiteness should be beneficial for the future. The feeling of helplessness and the acceptance of what is necessary, when they are lacking, is a great source of suffering. You have to "live with", in the proper sense.
We all had precise plans and presto, we learn to live without it and it works, we are strong anyway!
I see that the people I was already accompanying before confinement are in a rather calm state of mind. There is of course the frustration and annoyance that is expressed, but overall, these people are already wondering and find an opportunity to test their resilience, imagination and adaptation.
For others, the start was turbulent and highlighted issues that had been brewing for a while. This is normal, we are put to the test and our usual defense mechanisms are defeated. Our resistance is lessened, but this only masked what had to be exposed and confronted. It is an advance, certainly painful, but beneficial for knowledge and self-realization. Only, you have to be careful not to isolate yourself, not to be alone with your anxiety and fears so that the experience is transformed. More than ever, the social bond and learning (which we oppose to our comfort zone) are saving.
What are your plans ?
For the moment, I do not set any date or deadline, but I would like to be able to travel again and perhaps live closer to the sea. I took advantage of this confinement to put myself on bass, I no longer have that to progress, haha!
At the professional level, I can't wait to organize my art therapy workshops.
I think about what I could offer to the French community in Ireland and which would lead me to move across the country.
And then I would like to offer interventions to companies for their French employees, something to cushion the cultural shock at work and outside.
I am currently very busy with my online consultations due to confinement, but I will come back to this!
Phone. : 089 705 68 56
Interview by Valérie David-McGonnell