"Third Culture" (3CK) or "Trans-Culture Kids" (TCK)

  • Were you raised in a different country and feel caught between two cultures?
  • Do you feel like you have nowhere to call home?  Do you long to feel rooted, or find yourself wandering restlessly?
  • Do you have to make sense of conflicting values between cultures and family/social expectations?
  • Does the sound of a foreign language make you smile?
  • Do you find yourself lonely and misunderstood, with your best friends scattered about the globe?
  • Are you struggling with feelings of depression, substance misuse, adjustment challenges?
  • Do you wish you could talk with a professional who actually "gets it"?

Trans-Culture Kids (TCKs) have spent a significant part of their developmental years outside the parents' culture.  They are children of diplomats, missionary kids, military kids, children of business families and NGOs, and they have a hard time answering the question, "where are you from." They tend to build relationships to all of their cultures, assimilating experiences of each culture into their lives, while not having full ownership in any.  They often experience severe stress from relocation, have a worldview that sets them apart from others, and they may feel foreign, incomplete, and misunderstood.  It can take years to adapt to their chosen county, and when adjustment problems impact their wellbeing, expert professional support can be invaluable.   

Counseling from a therapist with knowledge of these challenges and expertise treating adjustment problems and mental health disorders can provide essential support for someone living in a foreign county, or who is adjusting to the challenges of repatriation.  Counseling from a therapist who has first hand experience of being a TCK can be invaluable.  As an American raised overseas, and having worked through the difficulties of repatriation, I am both professionally and personally aware of the complexities and adjustment issues of being a TCK.

Mental health counseling can help with the following adjustment challenges:

  • grief and loss, poor sense of belonging
  • feeling misunderstood and alone, with a "foreign" perspective from others
  • culture shock
  • homesickness, depression, thoughts of suicide
  • anxiety, sleeping difficulties
  • substance abuse
  • difficulty finding a sense of direction
  • history of neglect, or emotional, physical, sexual abuse
  • challenges relating to your own ethnic group or culture

When signs of significant adjustment problems are present, it is important for TCK's to access professional therapeutic help and support.