Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Lois Bushong!
Lois is a licensed marriage and family therapist living in the state of Indiana in the United States. She is originally from the US, but grew up in Central America (mainly in Honduras) as part of a missionary family, and she also spent 10 years working in Honduras as an adult. Having grown up as a Third Culture Kid (or TCK) herself, Lois has specialized in working with TCKs, adult TCKs, and intercultural couples.
Lois is also the author of the book, Belonging Everywhere and Nowhere: Insights into Counseling the Globally Mobile, which is how I first came across her work. In addition to her therapy practice, she also offers services as a consultant and coach for TCKs and others navigating this intercultural space.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
• About Lois’ experiences growing up as a TCK missionary kid in Central America and how she came to want to help other TCKs find their true sense of belonging.
• How frequent moves can lead some TCKs to experience unresolved grief, which can lead to some difficulties as they get older.
• How parents and other adults can help TCKs make room for both positive and negative emotional reactions to their experiences growing up abroad and allow them to work through and process grief.
• How many TCKs find their true sense of belonging with other TCKs. Continue reading
Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Kate Berger, MSc!
Kate is a child and adolescent psychologist based in Amsterdam. Her private practice is called the Expat Kids Club, and — as the name would suggest — she specializes in working with expat and Third Culture Kids and their families. She is originally from New York, completed her bachelors degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC, and then moved to the Netherlands to continue her studies at Leiden University, where she received her masters degree in child and adolescent psychology. Kate’s own experience of living abroad has shaped her interest in working with young people in this intercultural space. Kate not only works with expat kids and their families in Amsterdam, but she also does consulting and outreach worldwide on issues relevant to the community of expat families.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
• Some of the common struggles that Kate sees expat kids struggling with in her practice.
• How the stress of relocation impacts kids’ emotion regulation skills and ability to plan and make decisions (and a bit of brain science behind this).
• What parents can expect as their kids adapt to a new culture and how to know when it’s time to seek outside help.
• How parents can help prepare their kids for an overseas move by creating an emotional language and modeling their own ability to reflect on and articulate their emotions.
• Some of the real gifts that an expat life can offer kids and some of the strengths that expat kids tend to develop through their experiences. Continue reading
Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Josh Sandoz!
Josh is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) currently living and working in Seattle Washington (in the US), where he specializes in working with expats, repatriated expats, and Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Josh not only works with TCKs, but he actually is an adult TCK himself! Born in South Korea to foreign missionary parents, he grew up as part of a highly international community. He has worked for Interaction International – an organization geared toward TCKs and internationally mobile families – where he provided transition seminars for adolescent TCKs before becoming a therapist. Josh is also the person behind the International Therapist Directory, a wonderful website that he created as a way to help people around the world locate therapists who speak their own language and who are sensitive to some of the unique needs of people living abroad.
What you’ll learn in this episode:
• About Josh’s story of growing up in a highly international community and his continued involvement in working with globally mobile individuals and families as a therapist.
• What is a “Third Culture Kid” (TCK) and what are some of the characteristics of the TCK experience?
• Some of the common struggles — as well as gifts — of TCKs (and why it’s sometimes hard to think of these in a binary way).
• How parents raising children abroad can support their TCKs and help them develop emotional resilience as they grow up in and between cultures. Continue reading
As August winds down, the start of the new school year here in France is just around the corner.
Are you feeling ready for the rentrée?
Whether you’re starting at a new school — perhaps even in a new country — or whether you’re going back to the same school this fall, the rentrée can be a time of both excitement and some anxiety. Between academics, extra-curricular activities, social challenges, and family pressures, many teens feel stretched thin and stressed out.
On top of all that, the teen years are full of their own challenges: figuring out who you are, clarifying what’s important to you, exploring new relationships, and renegotiating relationships with family members as you gain maturity and independence. These are exciting but challenging times, and all of the changes can send you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of yourself.
How can you start the year off right to ensure that you don’t get bogged down with stress or emotional upset? Here are some tips to keep in mind to start your school year off on the right foot! Continue reading
In the last several posts in this Cultural Adjustment Series, we’ve looked at the phenomenon of culture shock, the phases of cultural adjustment, and the experience of moving home after a time abroad.
In today’s post, we’ll take a closer look at how culture shock and cultural adjustment have a unique impact on kids and teens and how you can help your child prepare for or adapt to an international move.
Culture Shock for Kids & Teens
While some of the things we’ve discussed in the previous articles may also apply to kids and teens who move abroad (such as the various manifestations of stress) their experiences can also be quite different from those of their parents.
For one thing, adults are generally in charge of making the decision to move abroad. Even if they are under pressure or have mixed feelings about it, most of the time, they can ultimately say yes or no to an opportunity. Continue reading