Christopher Austin Thurber

Counseling and Psychological Services


Harvard University

University of California - Los Angeles


Dr. Christopher Thurber is a board-certified clinical psychologist and an educator, author and father. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1991 and a doctorate in clinical psychology from UCLA in 1997. A dedicated teacher from a young age, he has taught elementary school French, undergraduate courses in psychology, and swimming and sailing to people between the ages of 8 and 80. As a learner, his favorites are woodworking and scuba diving.

During a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Thurber worked with child burn survivors, a population he continues to support through work with the International Association of Burn Camps and the Phoenix Society.

Dr. Thurber has more than 30 years of experience working with schools and camps. He has written numerous book chapters and scholarly articles on leadership, homesickness and youth development. An award-winning contributor to trade journals for independent schools and camps in the U.S., UK and Australia, he has also shared his opinions and expertise on the Today show, Martha StewartCBS Morning News, NPR, Fox and PBS. His research has been featured in Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Smart Money, Parents, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, Family Circle, Men’s Health, The New York Times, The Times of London, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and many local newspapers and magazines.

He has served as a psychologist on the faculty of Phillips Exeter Academy since 1999. Along with his three colleagues in Counseling & Psychological Services, he sees students for psychotherapy and provides training and consultation to faculty. Dr. Thurber also teaches Introduction to Psychology. He and his wife, Simonida, an analytical chemist, live in Exeter with their sons Danilo, born in 2002, and Sava, born in 2004.


Recent Books
Homesickness and Adjustment in University Students (2012)
Homesickness and Children’s Adjustment to Hospitalization: Toward a Preliminary Model (2007)
Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America – Preventing and Treating Homesickness (2007)
Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America – Camp Selection and the Role of Health Care Providers (2007)
Deepening Knowledge of the Variables (2007)
Summer Camp Experiences: Parental Perceptions of Youth Development Outcomes (2007)
Components of Camp Experiences for Positive Youth Development (2007)
Youth Development Outcomes of the Camp Experience: Evidence of Multidimensional Growth (2007)
American Academy of Pediatrics – Preventing and Treating Homesickness (2007)

Recent Newspaper Articles
The New York Times – Phone-Sick at Camp (2016)
The Orange County Register – Summer Camp: More than Fun for Kids (2016)
The Wall Street Journal – Do Parents Play a Role in Homesickness? (2015)
The Wall Street Journal – To Call Mom or Not? New Help for Homesick Students (2015)
ABC News (AP Wire) – Those Tear-Stained Letters Home: How to Handle Homesickness
The Boston Globe – No Ghost Stories at Camp? Now That’s Scary!
The Times of London – Let Kids Do Dumb Stuff (2014)
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Flying Solo (2014)
The Times of London – Why Dumb Stuff Gets the Thumbs-Up (2014)

Recent Magazine Articles
“The Golf Cart:: Behold or Beware?” Camp Business (2016)
“Liked for the Right Reasons” Camp Business (2016)
“Down and Dirty” Camp Business (2016)
“The Problem is Not the Problem” Camp Business WE (2015)
“Woven Programs” Camp Business (2015)
“Demand the Unexpected” Camp Business WE (2016)

Recent Online Articles
Your Child Is Not You - 2016
Six Ways New Staff Get Drunk – 2015
Five Mistakes Directors Make – 2015
Why “Dumb Stuff” Gets the Thumbs-Up – 2014