Category Archives: Psychology

Rupture without Repair

Sadly, in my work with adult twins, I encounter some pairs whose relationship collapsed due to an inability to resolve competition and conflict. In many instances, the primary sticking points are perceived and real inequities among the twins. For example, who is wealthier, who has the bigger house, who has the happier marriage, who has the more successful children, or who is more physically attractive? Of course, different-age siblings might confront similar issues; however, with same-age siblings, the stakes are […]

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Did You Hear What I Said?

I recently read an article in the New York Times called “You’re Not Listening. Here’s Why.” that resonated with me. It states that we do not listen attentively to the people with whom we are most intimate because we assume that we know what they will say and consequently how we will respond. Over the years, my husband often expressed frustration with me for that very reason, contending that I listen more attentively to my patients than to him. Admittedly, […]

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The Quick Fix: A Simplistic Solution

A father of thirteen-year-old identical twin boys contacted me about one of his sons. He and his wife decided to send the boys to different middle schools to give them the individual experiences that both were lacking up to that point. However, after more than four months at their respective schools, one son was thriving while the other was not. Tom loved school, felt engaged and energized, and enthusiastically shared what he was learning when his parents picked him up […]

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Defining Motherhood Your Way

When assessing a case of postpartum depression, I focus on the woman’s state of mind before, during, and after she gives birth. By talking with many new moms, I have found that the blues are attributable to disappointed expectations and overwhelming responsibilities related to childcare, work demands, partnership challenges, and household chores. A common feature of depressive episodes is a pervasive feeling of inadequacy. This can happen when we are adjusting to novel situations besides parenthood, such as going away […]

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Pathological Accommodation

When I first read about a psychological process called pathological accommodation during my psychoanalytic training, I was struck by how it might also be useful in understanding some aspects of twin relationships. The concept originated out of the work of psychoanalyst Dr. Bernard Brandchaft. Dr. Shelley Doctors, another prominent psychoanalyst, describes how to understand this dynamic in terms of the mother-infant dyad: A person, likely from infancy onward, learns essentially to erase him- or herself in order to have a […]

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