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The Benefits of Exposing Yourself to Childhood Memories of Displacement

An important aspect of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy is the practice of exposing oneself to traumatic experiences. Whether you are someone who has experienced a tragic event such as the death of a family member or an assault, or a Third Culture Kid who has experienced loss and feelings of displacement several times throughout the course of their childhood, the practice of exposure will teach the individual to accept the discomfort that they are experiencing so that they can stop trying to control their feelings.

The process of exposure in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy typically begins with a brief meditative exercise. When the patient is relaxed, the therapist will encourage the patient to recall the tragic event. With eyes closed, the patient will explain to the therapist what is happening. The therapist will stop the patient at a certain moment and ask the patient to explain how they feel and how that certain feeling manifests itself in their body (i.e. burning sensation in the chest, heart palpitations, sharp pain etc). The therapist will then encourage the patient to hold onto the feeling for a prolonged period of time and will ask the patient to continue describing the feeling in more detail. The intended outcome with this type of therapy is for the patient to feel at ease with the way that the event has affected them. With repeated sessions and practice at home, the feelings associated with the event will eventually subdue.

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The feelings of loss associated with moving from one country to another (the loss of a culture, the loss of an identity, the loss of a relationship) can also be treated with Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. By encouraging the Third Culture Kid or Adult Third Culture Kid to relive their feelings of displacement or loss, we teach the TCK or ATCK to accept and live with it, rather than run away from it. A Third Culture Kid may, for example, come to a therapist to discuss the grief they feel at having left a beloved family pet behind when moving to a different country. The therapist would encourage the TCK to relive the moment they last saw the pet and to explain how the feeling manifested itself in their body (i.e. feeling hollow, pain in the heart etc). The therapist would then help the Third Culture Kid to hold that feeling inside of them until they stop resisting it. This will allow the TCK to accept what has happened and move on.

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.

What We Do!

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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