Why Twins Prefer a Therapist Who is a Twin

Most twins who are looking for a therapist hope to find one who is a twin. It is important that nontwins and therapists understand why this is the case. Growing up as a twin is a very different experience than growing up as a singleton–whether you are an identical or a fraternal twin. The bottom line is that twins have grown up with their twin by their side for most of their life, for better or worse. The twin connection is a complicated one because it involves extreme degrees of ambivalence not likely encountered in singleton sibling relationships.

A female twin in her early 50s who contacted me for a referral to a therapist who is a twin was adamant that a nontwin would not understand her particular situation. She described a long-term involvement with her sister that reflected considerable unresolved issues with overdependence and passivity. This woman had a few visits with nontwin therapists, but she did not feel understood by either of them. After finding a therapist who was a twin, she immediately felt connected and safe.

It is not uncommon for many of us to look for like-minded clinicians to help us through difficulties. Twins feel more comfortable talking about issues with another twin than with a nontwin. There is a tacit understanding and acceptance regarding intimacy and separateness. Many people–parents, therapists, and nontwins alike–have limited understanding about the intricate emotional trajectories that twins navigate as they develop.

Do you gravitate toward other twins or other families with twins?

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