Third Culture Kids

Third Culture Kids are known by many names: cultural hybrids, international sojourners, global nomads, and cultural chameleons. They are the children of diplomats, military personnel, missionary families, and international business people. Or simply a product of a family that had moved around the world. A Third Culture Kid is a person who has spent a significant portion of their life outside their parents' culture. Such a person builds relationships to multiple cultures, while not having full ownership of any. This bestows immense benefits, cultural adaptability, increased tolerance, and a broadened worldview. However, these may also come at a cost. 

Sometimes highly mobile individuals may lack a sense of belonging, feel restless, have conflicted loyalties, and defused identities. Although masters of geographic transitions, Third Culture Kids may experience unresolved grief, continually looking toward their next move. I focus my psychotherapy practice in helping support children, adolescents, and adults navigate the Third Culture Kid experience. My work is largely informed by my own research into the developmental impact of a highly mobile upbringing.   

 

Research

Gorman, I., Koval, S., Cultural Hybridity: Self-Monitoring and Ethnic Identity Commitment in Third Culture Kids. Poster presentation at the Association for Psychological Science in 2014, San Francisco, CA.