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Title: Surviving loss of a twin in childhood : a case study
Author: Ward, Siobhan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 2839
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2018
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My research investigates the impact on the survivor of loss of a twin in childhood. Using the qualitative method of thematic analysis applied to a single case, I analyse a published biographical account of surviving this traumatic loss. My findings point to the extreme emotional suffering involved. Among the defences employed to protect the survivor from the anguish of separation and from survival anxiety and guilt, the dead twin is internalised. The trauma and the dead twin are encapsulated in the psyche, unaffected by Time. They are experienced as holes in the psyche and contact with them is avoided. The result can be a half-life for the adult survivor, with a sense of his secret self as wounded, weak, frightened, inhibited, and haunted. This impact of the traumatic loss endures until it is actively mourned and integrated, so far as possible, into the survivor’s life. My findings indicate that external and internal containing objects are needed for this task. It is through mourning that the surviving twin dis-identifies from his dead twin and re-finds the living twin as a life-giving and loving internal object. Through mourning, other containing and protective internal objects are rediscovered and reconfigured. The result is an enlivening of the survivor and a new sense of himself as emotionally capable and contained. In my conclusions regarding the clinical implications of my findings, I suggest that there needs to be recognition of and respect for the survivor’s great sorrow. Above all, treatment needs to be about connectedness and finding a way to the lost good objects. Lastly, I suggest how future research might test the implications of my findings for other kinds of loss of a twin and sibling loss in general.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; HQ The family. Marriage. Women ; PR English literature