Psychotherapy for our Diaspora: Educational / Expatriate /Third Culture Kid


Hi, my name is Odette Scott Grimes and I am part of the Expatriate Diaspora. I am also a psychotherapist.

I completed my Master in Counselling with Distinction, Monash University in 2009, under the supervision of Malaysia’s most eminent psychiatrist, who holds a Chair at Harvard, Tan Sri’ Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahadevan. My interest in the human potential flowered with a USA organizational development company, Wilson Learning Worldwide, whose mission statement I internalised: “Helping people and organizations become as much as they can be”. Their interventions were based on Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. I had analysis in Toronto and augmented my Masters with the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society and Institute’s extension programme on Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis. I am a member of the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) and honourary to The Edmund Bergler Society of Toronto. At Olympia College and Integrated Guidance, I counseled many students for education overseas.

What I Do and Why

The therapy I use is psychoanalysis, because it works. It increases in effectiveness long after the therapy has terminated. It is thus eminently portable and suited to the expatriate diaspora experience. I invite you to explore the studies that support these findings of 87% efficacy, from 18 months to 8 years out from end of treatment, by exploring Dr. John Thor Cornelius’ compilation of independent world-wide studies. This compares to normal care with a 13 % efficacy in the same analyses. Dr. Cornelius is an M.D. and professorfreudian counselling couch distance at the University of California at Davis, and an acknowledged authority. and open also his embedded Youtube, the Case for Psychoanalysis, Version 4, in case the link changes.

Even with professionals, the common misconception is that psychoanalysis has no research to support it and pharmacology and various behaviour therapies do. Nothing could be further from the truth, so please read the many studies Dr. Cornelius has compiled.

Other therapies’ effectiveness, including pharmacy intervention, start to diminish within 3 months of end of treatment and 71% have a total relapse in a year, meaning you have to have your therapist and medical doctor on hand, not an easy thing for an expat diaspora. Even if you do not consider yourself as such, the moment you send your child overseas, your family will have Diaspora issues, so I urge you to prepare.

Dr. Cornelius in his website states that: Psychoanalysis is a talking therapy designed to develop deep and lasting psychic change.  It takes a holistic approach, based on the recognition that many fundamental workings of the human mind are unconscious and therefore out of conscious awareness. The treatment involves employing this understanding to explore, work through, and eventually change the way people relate to themselves and others. I use this therapy because it is the most effective and long lasting tool for many forms of mental distress, especially those associated with repetitive feelings or experiences, such as anxiety.

There education Diaspora even if temporary, is anxiety producing.

What I Can Help With in the Diaspora Context

Parenting to Teens and Teen Counselling: I have found that as teens grow to young adults many anxieties take hold, unconscious and conscious. As part of the Expatriate Diaspora they are or will become, they face the outside event of going abroad for education and separation from their families and their foundations.

Disordered Eating and Other Substance Abuse: Dealing with anxiety and emotions is often the underlying key to support a practical programme, one that must be developed in isolation of the usual support group.

Repetitive Destructive Experiences: Identifying the commonality of these repetitive experiences we carry with us, be they manifesting in work, relationships, or everyday life, and building coping strategies.

Identity Transitions peculiar to the expatriate diaspora: Creating order out of the disorder of relocation and being comfortable with who we are.

Relationships: Learning to deal with what we can: ourselves and our unconscious drives.

Personality Disorders: Often a child or other family member is acting out of control or has become avoidant and needs help to recognize the off- target behaviours causing distress to him/herself and others.

What You Can Expect: First Session and Beyond

It takes a great deal of courage to cross the threshold and be open to a stranger about your issues. If the parent has sent a child, the courage required is even more. I follow the SAC standards and they include practices common to therapists:

Confidentiality: Discussion of confidentiality is vital, its limits in the case of harm, and shall ask you acknowledge you understand this pillar of confidentiality.

Expectations: Most therapists will tell you a little about their experience, the therapy they employ, practices during therapy, and the usual outcome expectations and time-frames.

Assessment: Therapists do an assessment before you begin working together. This interview may include your and family history, health, relationship dangers, habits and anything the therapist discovers important.

Presenting Problem: This is therapy-speak for what brought you to therapy. This is your opportunity to talk about what you are having difficulty with.

Goals: You may set goals at the start or later, upon exploration of your underlying and presenting problems.

Time-frame: Short analysis is 40 sessions; a 60 session cure rate, for difficult presenting problems; Dr. Cornelius projects 120 sessions for long term analysis.  There is a school of therapy out of England which combines CBT and analysis that stipulates 20 sessions, often with medical insurance in mind.

Can This Be Understood by my Teenager? We insist on a school curriculum that is investigative rather than rote, because we understand that real learning is dynamic, and must not be memorized but understood, to find application to the real world.  Why would the understanding of our conscious and unconscious processes be any different? Our children learn observation for the cornerstone skill of critical thinking, and apply theoretical knowledge to the practical, and so they can here too.


Counsellors and psychologists who have taken clinical courses, cannot prescribe medications. We can work with doctors prescribing medications as a calming step where indicated in adjunct to psychotherapy.

Contact Details: +6012.208.0678,, Skype: Odette.Grimes

After a Skype/phone-call, you will be invited to my psychotherapy conservancy in Country Heights, Kajang, Malaysia.

Rates, after the initial conversation, are RM 200 per 50 minute hour, at the Country Heights conservancy or on Skype.


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