Category Archives: Psychology

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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“I Don’t Know You”

Feeling embarrassed about one’s family members is not uncommon. In fact, at certain stages of development, this is expectable and acceptable. For example, many adolescents go through a period when they do not want to be seen with their parents or associated with them in any way. This is a rite of passage on the way to becoming separate and independent. Some individuals also feel embarrassed by their siblings sometimes, for many different reasons unique to their relationship and family […]

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Why Didn’t She Get It?

I was three-quarters of the way through a presentation on twins to a group of psychotherapists when a woman in the audience raised her hand. Based on the information I had shared thus far, she said that she did not understand how a twin relationship was distinct from that between siblings who are close in age. As an example, she noted that siblings close in age may react similarly when the older sibling leaves for college, causing the younger sibling […]

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Estrangement Can Make You Feel Like a Twinless Twin

When we hear about a twinless twin, we likely associate that description with someone whose twin has passed away. Nonetheless, some people who are estranged from their same-age sibling can also feel like twinless twins even though their sibling is still very much alive. Since much of my work revolves around twin pairs who struggle to reconnect or who must come to terms with being estranged, it feels apt to acknowledge that one can feel like a twinless twin when […]

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