Redefining our Professional Identity and Belonging

Contributed by Daniela Tomer, MA

The International Therapist Directory was born to serve the needs of the internationally mobile, TCK, and expat community. Not surprisingly many of us, as therapists, are part of this internationally mobile community. Many of us believe that our own stories are powerful bridges which can help us better understand our clients experiences. We help our clients to overcome the challenges that frequently come with this lifestyle but as the wise saying goes: ”The shoemaker always goes barefoot.”

When I left Israel as a well-established clinical psychologist I had to reinvent myself in many ways. One experience I was not prepared for was that of losing both my professional identity and professional affiliation. I was still a psychologist but was no longer part of my local professional communities, which I had established over the years through my studies and the years I worked in different institutions. As a result, I was very much on my own in navigating this new professional life in a new country.

Our need to belong is universal and this need is not any different when it comes to our professional life. I was very lucky to find FIGT ( at this time because I wanted to connect with other people who were in a similar position to me. FIGT, for those who don’t know about it, is a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those who work with them. It also promotes cross-sector connections for sharing research and developing best practices, which continue to support the growth, success and well being of people crossing cultures around the world.

Discovering FIGT resulted in an immediate feeling of finding my personal tribe, and it was also the right platform for me to create my professional tribe. With the support and assistance of Dr. Kelli Sanness, Dr. Tami Nelson and Shellee Burroughs, we launched the online FIGT Counseling and Coaching affiliate in 2018. Our affiliate mission is to create a secure place to learn, share, support and encourage each other in our niche, regardless of our geographical location. In many ways we are aiming to create a degree of stability in our globally mobile life; our location might change but our global network will always stay with us.

We were thrilled to accept the invitation of Josh Sandoz to share with you some of our initiatives :

  • We meet once a month for a Zoom online ‘virtual coffee’ session during which we discuss relevant topics.
  • We usually have a guest speaker who is willing to share their knowledge but it is an open non-formal conversation.
  • Previous guest speakers have included Ruth Van Reken and Lois Bushong.
  • These sessions are recorded and can be seen after the event if the time doesn’t fit with your schedule or time zone.
  • We also have a Facebook group where we post different articles, conferences, and questions, which are all related to our specialist areas.
  • Our affiliate is involved in the annual FIGT conference program and as a result, a variety of mental health sessions are provided by presenters who currently work in the globally mobile community.

If you relate to any of this and would like to join the conversation, please subscribe to our mailing list by sending an email to: and join us on Facebook (

We are happy to welcome you to our globally mobile network of mental health professionals.

And if you are interested in presenting at the FIGT conference please see the details here:

We will be happy to meet you in person!

Author: Daniela Tomer, MA

Daniela Tomer is the Co-Founder and Director of GNW Global Nomad’s World. She is an Israeli and Belgian licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Mediator, Coach and Trainer and serves as FIGT- Families in Global Transition Counseling and Coaching affiliate chair.