Treating Adult Third Culture Kids: Guidance for University Counseling Centers

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Judith Fox

Second Advisor

Hale Martin

Third Advisor

Melissa Parks


Third culture kid, TCK, Adult third culture kid, ATCK, Third culture, Global nomad, Expatriate


The aim of this paper is to inform US American University Counseling Centers (UCCs) and their clinicians in treating Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK) university students. ATCKs not only have unique mental health needs, but they also face challenges that interfere with successfully transitioning into and through university. There are resources dedicated to helping ATCKs with navigating their transition into university life, and also resources dedicated to understanding ATCKs from a psychological perspective. What is missing from the literature are resources dedicated to helping larger university systems accommodate in order to support the needs and retention of ATCKs. There is utility in specifically targeting UCCs, as they attend to the mental health needs of university students. If UCCs can assist with identifying and treating ATCKs, the population will be better equipped to reach their full potential as university students and to utilize the specialized skillset they have gained from a globally mobile childhood.

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


44 pgs

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