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Propaganda Of The Past – Third Culture Kids, Childhood Memories & Attachment To Place

To suddenly be hit by a vivid memory as you are going through the motions of the present day, can be a wonderful thing. A respite from the seriousness of adulthood, if you will. Usually, the memory would have been triggered by something that had occured in the present, and moved from the depths of your mind into its forefront, sending the present moment the other way. Being presented with the opportunity to once again experience the simplicity of the past whilst the realities of the present day become little more than background fodder, is something few people would pass up.

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For most of us, all of our memories will be centered around one place, usually a house or a neighborhood. For those who have moved around a lot within the same country, the set of memories can still be viewed in the same cultural context. For the few who have grown up in a country different to that of the passport country of their birth parents (Third Culture Kids), recalling childhood memories can lead to a conflict of desires. The feeling of nostalgia that so often accompanies a childhood memory can be assigned to the location that the memory occurred in rather than the event itself. This feeling of nostalgia will then be juxtaposed to the present and a comparison of the past location and present location will become inevitable. A second conflict will then ensue, wherein the holder of the memory feels a desire to relive it, but is met with the reality that doing so is impossible; the place has changed, the context is different due to obligations or financial constraints and the people who the memory is shared with are not available.

In cases where a person has been brought up in several countries, childhood memories may present a conflict of competing attachments. A fond memory of something that happened whilst living in Hong Kong may be followed by an equally fond memory of something that happened whilst living in Gambia. Reliving the memories will cause the holder of those memories to want to visit those countries again, but at the same time the holder is faced with the reality that visiting both during the same holiday may be impossible and would therefore be forced to choose between the two and delay visiting the other until it has once again become logistically and financially possible, which may be several years away.

This has been a simple showcase of how memories can evoke strong urges within Third Culture Kids, which when met with other urges (such as the desire to set roots or a conflicting memory) or with realities (such as logistical and financial constraints or obligations causing the reliving of those memories to be impossible) lead to inner-conflict.

Philip Andersson

Life Coach

Cross Culture Therapy


Philip Andersson – Life Coach

Philip Andersson is a life-coach who is currently studying to become a psychotherapist. He treats people suffering from depression, phobias and anxiety. Having been raised in Hong Kong and having lived in England and Japan as an adult, Philip also treats people who are overcome with feelings of displacement and rudderlessness associated with a global-nomad lifestyle such as Third Culture Kids, Cross Culture Kids, Migrants and Asylum Seekers.

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Cross Culture Therapy offers 1-on-1 online therapy sessions to people suffering from depression, phobia, anxiety as well as to people who suffer from displacement issues associated with a globally nomadic lifestyle (i.e.Third Culture Kids – people who have grown up in a culture different to their parent’s passport culture – and Cross Culture Kids) Our sessions are conducted via Skype for a duration of 50-minutes and can be purchased in packs of 1-session, 3-sessions or 5-sessions. If you are interested in purchasing a session, click on the Book A Session tab on our menu or click here.

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