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The basics of using Mindfulness to treat Third Culture Kids

For those of you who do not yet know what mindfulness is, it is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention into the present moment. This can be achieved through various mindfulness practices such as traditional meditation, mindfulness walks, mindfulness movements as well as simple breathing exercises.

We at Cross Culture Therapy see mindfulness as the perfect tool to alleviate the day-to-day stress some Third Culture Kids experience, whereas we use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to focus on mid and long term stress reduction. Even though the problems commonly associated with Third Culture Kids, such as identity issues and feeling of homelessness are more deep rooted in the psyche of the individual and perhaps more suited to long-term treatment, mindfulness can be used as a quick relief or a “reset” at times when the symptoms of these problems are too prevalent in our daily lives.


Cross Culture Therapy weaves mindfulness exercises into its therapy sessions, using them as short breaks between topics. This would usually take the form of quick breathing exercises or in what we like to call a “body scan” where the client closes their eyes and concentrates on specific parts of their body. We also use guided meditations that last for about a minute. At the end of the first few sessions we teach our clients new ways of practicing mindfulness so that they can make it a part of their daily routine.

Common examples of mindfulness exercises are; traditional meditation exercises, mindfulness walks and mindfulness movements. Traditional meditation has the practitioner in a sitting position with closed eyes and a straight back. The practitioner controls their breath, feeling their diaphragm slowly rise and slowly sink, their chest slowly expand and slowly shrink with every breath they take and a cool stream of fresh air flow into their nostrils and the old, warm air gushing out. Mindfulness walks are traditionally done barefoot with the pacing of each step synchronized with the breathing pattern of the practitioner. Mindfulness movements are a defined set of movements designed to activate the practitioner’s body. They are also done synchronized to the breathing pattern of the practitioner.  


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