Depression and Third Culture Kids

The TCK, who is depressed, may not know why they are depressed; all they know is they are miserable.  As therapists walk through the symptoms of depression with the TCK or gives them the Beck Depression Inventory, the client might certainly fit into that diagnosis. But rather than making the TCKs current situation as their only focus, such as what we do when we do Brief Therapy, here are some other areas we, as therapists, might explore.

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How to Spot the TCK in your Counseling Office

I have designed my Client Intake Form with the Adult TCK or the Cross-Cultural Kid in mind. Each of these questions gives me a clue as to their rate of mobility as well as their exposure to various cultures. Each question could result in a long discussion around their global lifestyle. Other clues might be . Their employment with an international agency or an NGO.
2. Some of the symptoms they often check on my Client Intake Form are: restlessness, loss of identity, grief, transitional challenges, relational Issues, depression or anxiety.
3. In answering the question, “Briefly describe your problem” they often give clues to their life as a TCK. An example might be “I struggle with making meaningful friends as people are so superficial”.

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Left Hands (and non-TCKs) are not Overrated

Last week, I had surgery on my left hand which has kept me “handicapped” this week. As I was painfully trying to type on Thursday, I surprisingly realized the value of the “underdog”, my non-dominant hand. When I could once again type, I jotted down why I needed my left hand, even though I had a perfectly capable, right hand.

 Then, my mind launched into the metaphor how this is all like TCKs and those who have not had the privilege of living this lifestyle i.e. non-TCKs. From my perspective as a TCK, I see the TCK as the right hand and the non-TCK as the left hand.

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Mango Trees vs Slippery Trees

“I will see you at the big mango tree down by the front fence”.

Those were the words you wanted to hear from a friend when you needed a listening ear, a confidant or a partner in crime. This is how I want to use my blog, for those private and serious reflections about the life of the Third Culture Kid, the expat and the mental health counselor.

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