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Therapy Transcripts: Samuel – Week 5

Before reading this make sure to read Samuel – Week 1 & Samuel – Week 2 & Samuel – Week 3 & Samuel – Week 4

The individual mentioned in the following transcript has been a participant in a seven-week short-form therapy programme. All sessions in this programme have been recorded and transcribed with the participant’s prior consent, for educational purposes. The participant has given his permission to publish the transcripts on this website. All names have been changed and details that could reveal the identity of the participant have been redacted. Participants in this programme have applied through a mediator and have been informed about the programme’s plan and purpose. Sessions conducted via Cross Culture Therapy adhere to strict confidentiality rules and are not handled in this way.

Philip: Hi Samuel.

Samuel: Hi Philip.

Philip: How have you been this week?

Samuel: It’s been an alright week I guess.

Philip: Alright in what way?

Samuel: I’ve been waking up and going to sleep at the right time… I guess that helps. It’s hard otherwise to get a routine going.

Philip: Well, how would you want your days to look?

Samuel: That’s a good question. I think there are two ways I can answer that question.

Philip: Please, tell me.

Samuel: Well, the part of me that is ambitious would love to wake up early and set about doing stuff.

Philip: What kind of stuff?

Samuel: Read the news with the morning coffee. Look for work online. Send out resumes. Cook a good breakfast. Stretch. Work out. All that stuff.

Philip: And what would the other Samuel want to do?

Samuel: Just lay on the couch with Rocket and watch TV all day.

Philip: What do you think these two versions of yourself represent?


Samuel: The first one is the ambitious part of me.

Philip: Maybe the hopeful part of you.

Samuel: I guess you’re right.

Philip: What about the other one?

Samuel: Maybe he’s the part of me that has given up.

Philip: Why do you think these versions of you exist?


Samuel: Well, I guess the lazy one is telling me that I am unhappy.

Philip: Maybe it’s a warning signal.

Samuel: What do you mean?

Philip: Maybe it is telling you that something is wrong. Something has to change.

Samuel: I’ve never thought of it that way.

Philip: And the other version is who you desire to be. The closer you get to it, the closer you are to your goal.

Samuel: So the more that I am the second version of me, the further away I am from my goal?

Philip: Yes.

Samuel: I see.


Philip: Maybe these versions of you aren’t something that happen over night. Maybe you don’t become either version just like that. These versions of you have to come naturally and not be forced.

Samuel: How do you mean?

Philip: Well, if you would wake up tomorrow and go about your day the way you would like to, it wouldn’t mean that everything in your life was sorted out would it?

Samuel: No.

Philip: And if you wake up one day after having a really good spell and have a lazy morning it wouldn’t mean that everything has suddenly fallen apart would it?

Samuel: No.

Philip: But a prolonged period of laziness could, or rather is, a sign of depression. It signifies that something isn’t right. A prolonged period of activity on the other hand, is achieved by having a good foundation. In other words, you are living a satisfying life and this motivates you to maintain it. The satisfaction cannot be superficial. It must be permeate every part of your being.

Samuel: How do I go about building a foundation?

Philip: Through therapy. We can discuss your life and reflect on your desires and together, build a good foundation.


Samuel: Is this done intentionally or unintentionally?

Philip: Intentionally.

Samuel: So where do we begin?

Philip: We’ve already begun. (Laughs). But now you’ve become aware of the process.


Philip: What is concerning you the most at the moment?

Samuel: Well I guess it’s my work situation.

Philip: You don’t like being unemployed.

Samuel: Of course not… but it’s not just about the money.

Philip: What do you mean?

Samuel: I don’t like just lying around doing nothing. I’m not fulfilled… at all.

Philip: Wha-

Samuel: I get anxiety attacks.


Philip: What happens when you get these anxiety attacks?


Samuel: They can come suddenly. The last one happened after I had been sitting on the sofa for a couple of hours watching the TV. I felt my chest get tight and my heart beat faster.

Philip: What did you do?

Samuel: I ran outside. I don’t know why but it felt like the natural thing to do.

Philip: What happened next?

Samuel: It died down after a minute or so and I breathed normally.

Philip: Do you think you will run outside next time you get an anxiety attack?

Samuel: Yeah.

Philip: Try not to. Try sitting with it and see where it goes.

Samuel: Why?

Philip: Anxiety attacks die down whether you do something about them or not. You taking action just reaffirms its power over you. Instead, feel it and wait for it to leave you naturally.


Philip: What would you want to do if you were lying around the house all day as you put it?


Samuel: I want to work.


Samuel: I would want to be productive. Now, I just feel like a waste of space really.


Philip: How would you want to be productive?

Samuel: Work, of course.

Philip: Being productive does not necessarily mean you must work. You could do something else.

Samuel: Like what?

Philip: Clean your house, exercise, help a neighbour.

Samuel: I know. I know. But that wouldn’t be enough to me.

Philip: What would be enough to you?

Samuel: As I said, a job.

Philip: What about in the meantime?

Samuel: I understand what you’re saying Phil. But still…


Philip: I know it’s frustrating. Have you applied to any jobs?

Samuel: There haven’t been any in the area but I applied to one in the next town over.

Philip: What job is it?

Samuel: Garbage collector.

Philip: And how do you feel about being a garbage collector?

Samuel: It’s a start… a restart I guess.

Philip: A beginning to what?


Samuel: I’m not sure really.


Philip: I think that’s where you problem might lie.


Samuel: It’s not like I have a lot of options Phil!

Philip: I know. I know.

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Samuel: I’m stuck here in REDACTED. There’s nothing to do, no job prospects, no new companies coming in. It’s a dying town. And the town over is the same. It feels claustrophobic.

Philip: No wonder you’re having anxiety attacks then.

Samuel: Exactly.

Philip: It seems to me like you feel you have been tricked into being stuck here. Is that true?

Long silence.

Samuel: Maybe.


Samuel: I think a lot of different circumstances brought me to this place and now, I’m left here.

Philip: What are those circumstances?

Samuel: My parents, my family in Brisbane. I think I wanted to get away from them. I think I needed to find a home as well.

Philip: Find a home?

Samuel: I remember that before I moved here I was obsessed with finding a place that I could call home. Not so much a house but a place.

Philip: Is that something you didn’t have before?


Samuel: Definitely.


Samuel: I was so angry at my parents for taking that away from me. But they refused to see it that way. They just thought I should be grateful for the experience.


Samuel: Then I guess I got a bit too focused on finding that home and I committed myself to this place.


Samuel: How are you meant to build a family and have a decent job without staying put, Phil?


Samuel: I hear all these other TCKs talking about how they’re misunderstood and that they feel a need to travel around all the time but they haven’t even tried to stay in one place. They say that no one understands them but they don’t seem to spend a minute trying to understand the people around them!


Philip: And you did. You’ve lived in REDACTED for a long time now.

Samuel: Yes! I put in the hard work of staying put. I made the sacrifices. I chose to have it tougher now so I could have a family, have a good job and so on.

Philip: And now when you don’t have a job and don’t have a family it feels like the sacrifice has been in vain.


Samuel: That’s about right.


Samuel: But it’s not true. I know I am doing the right thing. Sometimes it’s hard doing the right thing.

Philip: So if you had the money to move back to Singapore you wouldn’t do so?

Samuel: Never in a million years!

Philip: Because of work and family?

Samuel: Yes.

Philip: What if you were offered your dream job in Singapore and you somehow were guaranteed to have a family there?

Samuel: I still wouldn’t.

Philip: Why?

Samuel: It’s unstable. Both for me and my future kids.

Philip: In what way?

Samuel: I wouldn’t want them to grow up like I did. Hopping around between thinking I’m Singaporean and thinking I’m Australian. And I wouldn’t want to be dependent on my job just to live in a certain country.

Philip: But now you’re dependent on there being a job you can do in REDACTED. It’s kind of the other way around now isn’t it?

Long Silence.

Samuel: You’re right.

Philip: The urge you have inside you to find a place to call “home” is impeding your ability to live life to its fullest. Just as for many other Third Culture Kids, the urge to move around is impeding their ability to live life to the fullest. I think, going forward, we need to think about what it is your really want to do and design a life that best fits you.


Samuel: I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Philip: Well, let’s start with your work.


Philip: What would you want to do?


Samuel: I’m not sure.

Philip: Didn’t you take construction engineering at University?

Samuel: Yeah.

Philip: What about that?

Samuel: But I didn’t finish the degree.

Philip: I’m asking you what you want not what you can. Let’s worry about can later.

Samuel: I probably wouldn’t want to do it anyway.

Philip: Why not?

Samuel: I think I was in a phase of my life where it just sounded good. It sounded like something respectable and something that wasn’t too outlandish if you know what I mean.

Philip: I see.


Philip: What would you like to do Samuel?


Samuel: I’m not sure.

Philip: What did you enjoy about your last job?

Samuel: Not much… it was very repetitive. I liked the people there.

Philip: I recall you said that you enjoyed teaching the younger workers how to do their job. Is that something you would like to do?

Samuel: What? Teaching?

Philip: Yes.


Samuel: Maybe.

Philip: If so what would you like to teach? What are you good at?


Samuel: I dunno.

Philip: Come on, there must be something you’re good at.

Samuel: I dunno.

Philip: Well what do you like doing?


Samuel: I like playing with Rocket… teaching him new tricks.

Philip: See there we go again with the teaching. It seems like a natural fit.

Samuel: (Laughs).


Philip: I’m afraid we’re out of time Samuel. Hopefully that has given you some food for thought. I’ll see you again next…

The last few minutes of the session covers the booking of following sessions and is therefore not transcribed. Samuel – Week 6, will be published on Saturday April 20th.

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Philip Andersson

Cross Culture Therapy


Stop Chasing Happiness, Let It Come To You.

Happiness can be a tease. The more we chase it, the further away it seems. It all starts with a New Years Resolution to lose weight or to find the perfect person and so, we begin our chase hoping that happiness will find us by the end of the year…

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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