The Trailing Spouse: Who are We? Let’s Blog it Out!The Eve ryd ay Exp at Support Cen ter wit hJes sica L. Sco tt-Reid
What’s with the term “Trailing Spouse”?“a person who follows his or her life partner to another citybecause of a work assignment. . . often associated with peopleinvolved in an expatriate assignment but is also used byacademia on domestic assignments”- Wikipedia“Trailing” is not a bad word; it’s true!Term is used in both academic and popular realms.Is gender neutral.
Challenges unique to the trailing spouseBeyond the usual psychological and sociocultural issues facedby expats due to acculturation, recent research has shown thattrailing spouses suffer unique challenges due to additionalchanges in lifestyle: Loss of employment. Loss of community. Loss of purpose. Loss of identity. For more information see: “Adaptation of Trailing Spouses: Does Gender Matter?” by Anne. M Braseby, 2010.
How can writing help? The BasicsWriting can be done by anyone, anywhere, with basic writing skills, minimal tools, and forminimal cost.Writing “holds thoughts still”, allowing reason to play alongside emotion, bringingstructure and organization to chaos. Writing the Mind Alive, the Proprioceptive Method for Finding your Authentic Voice, by L. T. Metcalf and T. SimonWriting can provide proven physical health benefits, such as reduced blood pressure andmuscle tension.“Investigators have now found that writing about traumatic experiences producesimprovements in immune functions, drops in physician visits for illness, and betterperformance at school and work”. Emotion, Disclosure, and Health, by J. W. Pennebaker
Blogging DefinedOnline web logs.Normally counter chronological.Exist within public online environments.Can include pictures and other multimedia, but are mainlymade up of text.Normally personal in nature, expressive, informative, andentertaining.Can be autobiographical or relating to a certain subject; orboth, or neither.
Blogging for CommunityBlogging inserts us into a community of others who share a insimilar interest or circumstance.Blogging within communities helps fight isolation, keeping usconnected to the world regardless of our location. For more information see: Psychotherapy 2.0s MySpace® Blogging as Self- therapy, by L. TanAllows us to receive feedback from others, which can offervalidation, encouragement, new perspectives, & deeperunderstanding of ourselves and our thoughts in relation to others. Being able to read and respond to others’ blogs allows us to “define [our] positions in the context of others’ writing as well as outline [our] own perspectives on particular issues ”. Bookmarking the world: Weblog applications in education; weblogs can be used in classrooms to enhance literacy and critical thinking skills, by J. A. Oravec, 2002
Blogging for the (Re)Creation of SelfResearch has shown that due to public audience, bloggers tend to be more invested in theirwriting than with usual journal or diary writing. For more see: Blogging in the classroom: A preliminary exploration of student attitudes and impact on comprehension, by N. B. Ellison & Y. Wu, 2008.In other words, this deeper awareness of public image can lead to more rereading, editing,rewriting than with typical journal or diary writing.Rereading, reinterpreting, and rewriting encourages deeper reflection, which allows us tosee ourselves and our circumstances, events and other people, in new lights and with newunderstanding. For more see: Reflective Practice, Writing and Professional Development, by G. Bolton.This new understanding helps us to (re)construct a sense of who we are within our newenvironment and lifestyle.Blogging also allows us to become an authority on something, to construct ourselves as aparticular someone.Provides a record of ourselves over time, which can be reflected upon further in the future.