Jeannette Favre, Catherine Jousselme

A Twin and Unique Enjoying Being a Twin Publication date : January 26, 2012

Jeannette Favre is a social worker whose particular concern is identity-deprivation due to incarceration.
Catherine Jousselme is a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Paris-Sud University and a department head at Fondation Vallée, in Gentilly, near Paris.

When growing up with a twin sister how does a child construct her personality, how does she cope with being constantly taken for her sister, particularly if family and friends tend to heighten the mix-up?
Based on her own memories and on family stories, a woman recounts her experience of growing up as a twin and the difficulties she encountered.
A child psychologist then comments on and explains each key stage of her testimonial (birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood) and the various questions it raises: to what extent should the education of each twin be individualised? Why is it that some parents cannot help calling attention to their twins’ physical resemblance? How do twins relate to their other siblings? What are the mechanisms behind twins’ special relationship? How to encourage each child’s autonomy? How are a twin’s life choices conditioned by the fact of being a twin?

• A woman’s unusual testimonial on the specific difficulties she encountered growing up because of her identity as a twin.
• A balanced view on a sensitive subject: being close to one’s twin is not regarded here as a “phenomenon” to be hindered at all costs.
• In France the estimated twin population is 600,000; the number of twin births per year is estimated at 8,000–10,000.