It is time for some narrative.

As the International Therapist Directory (ITD) continues to grow and expand, currently only in its 15th month of online existence, the addition of a blog component to the site feels like a natural and meaningful way to bring some narrative to what is otherwise a fairly straightforward and focused source of information. It is also loaded with possibility.

Over time, the ITD Blog could become a space for highlighting useful resources for therapists and the internationally mobile community, publishing interviews, offering words of introduction, explanation, and gratitude, or simply providing some written context for the directory itself. Today, however, my aim is to share a brief history of the ITD, a little bit about how this site began and why.

The ITD was born out of equal parts heartache, devotion, resolve, and hope. In my former role as Director of Child and Family Support Services at Interaction International, I received all too many emails from people asking if I knew of a mental health therapist in a certain part of the world who really understood the dynamics of the TCK or international expatriate experiences.

The emails came in from women and men of all ages, individuals concerned either for their own sake or for a son or daughter who were struggling and wanting to meet with a therapist who really “gets it” with respect to the cultural and lifestyle components of living an internationally mobile life. Those who wrote were having a hard time finding a therapist in their location who claimed to have these familiarities, and as I joined them in their search, I too found the hunt to be both painstaking and difficult. Something needed to be done.

As I began to scour the Internet and speak with other experts in the field, I could find nothing like the ITD. Many professionals I spoke with had a short personal list of therapists they knew who acknowledged this kind of proficiency, but nowhere could I find a global listing that was made available to the public, kept well maintained, and designed to be as comprehensive as possible. The more people I talked with, the more I became convinced that a resource like this needed to exist. Additionally, I increasingly noticed the personal energy I felt for such a project and the enjoyment I experienced in taking those exploratory steps. And so, I decided.

It was time to create the International Therapist Directory.

After hundreds of initial emails and conversations, a sufficient number of entries were gathered to warrant the launching of a directory. Just a touch after midnight on August 13, 2009, the opening version of the ITD went live online. Those were very exciting times. In its first year, the resource list was hosted and grew steadily under the Interaction International website, but as I left the organization in August of 2010, the management was gracious enough to release the project to me completely, recognizing the passion and enduring commitment I continue to carry toward developing the ITD as an independent site for months and years to come.

The ITD is still young, but it exists. For the past two years, I have carried it in my heart and mind, in conversation with others and online for the internationally mobile community to begin to utilize. A solid foundation has been built upon which to continue to grow.

In making this beginning, there are many people I wish to thank publicly. However, I count gratitude as important enough to save my thanks for the entire subject of the next ITD Blog entry. For now, consider the door to the narrative portion of the ITD officially… ajar.

3 replies
  1. Libby Stephens
    Libby Stephens says:

    Josh,
    I am so very happy that you have been able to put this site together and that you continue to update it. I have heard so many great things from people that have used it. I have personally directed several families to the site. This has been needed for a long time!

    Keep up the good work, friend!

    Libby

    LibbyStephens.com

  2. Lois Bushong
    Lois Bushong says:

    Josh,
    Thanks so much for taking on the huge project of being the “keeper of the list” of therapists for TCKs. I had a short list and kept getting requests for therapists from around the world, and I did not have the necessary resources for them. Now, I am sending them to your website as it is so much better and keeps getting better and better all the time. You are a life saver and doing an outstanding job!

    I wish you the best on this project and in your own career as a therapist with a huge heart for TCKs.

    Lois

  3. Martin Lynch
    Martin Lynch says:

    I was very excited to learn about this site recently when I was searching for an old colleague of mine, Alexander Makhnach, a psychologist in Moscow. As someone who has lived abroad, and now as a professional in the field, I can appreciate the need for a list of providers and resources to help people wherever they may be, in ways that are appropriate to the individual and the context. I’m eager to expand my own private practice by offering video therapy (online therapy), in particular to English-speaking expats in Russia. Although I live in the United States, I’m happy to be added to your list of providers!

    Best wishes for the future!

    Martin
    http://www.drmlynch.com

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