Nr 21  2009 sid. 168–180


-Ange Widdershoven-Zervaki och Stelios Christogiorgos


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Marie-Ange Widdershoven-Zervaki är privatpraktiserande psykolog och psykoterapeut, verksam i Aten, Grekland. Hon är grekisk delegat för barn- och ungdomssektionen inom EFPP.
Stelios Christogiorgos är psykiatriker och psykoterapeut, Department of Child Psychiatry Athens University Medical School, 'Agia Sofia' Children’s Hospital. Båda är även handledare och lärare vid The Hellenic Institute for psychoanalytic psychotherapy. I artikeln beskrivs psykoterapi med en 10-årig adopterad flicka. Artikeln är en förkortad version av en tidigare publicerad artikel i den grekiska tidskriften Child and Adolescent, Mental health and Psychotherapy. Tidskriften har gett sitt medgivande till publicering.

This paper describes the therapy process of an adopted ten year old girl, with difficulties in attachment, who had developed psychopathological symptoms in her behavior. The primary symptom in this case was the girl’s identification with a dog, her trying to feel and behave like a dog, resulting in communication difficulties with her environment. In the therapeutic process it was found that her pathological behavior appeared over time as a resistance to adoption and consequent separation anxiety. Separation anxiety and fear of abandonment induced her to adopt the behavior of a dog, because in her fantasy “little puppies are given away to foster families after they are born, because the mother dog can’t look after them”. The same behavior was enacted in the transference and any threat to the continuity of the therapy was experienced as a trauma. After two and a half years of intensive psychotherapy she could overcome her early separation anxiety and her attachment difficulties and she was able to use reality to correct her fantasies.


When she started psychotherapy, Wendy was a 10 year’s old adopted girl, with psychopathological symptoms, difficulties in identification and problems with her sexuality and her aggression. The most striking of her symptoms was that for the last four years she repeatedly insisted on acting like a dog and at that moment she appeared to completely identify with being a dog. She walked on all fours, went down on her knees, barked, disappeared from home and came back without saying a word. She got lost and stayed outside all day playing with homeless dogs.

She behaved in this way when she felt anxious, especially when she felt fear of abandonment or of separation. Her anxiousness was related to difficulties in attachment and to the fact that she was adopted and separated from her birth mother at a very young age. She had developed severe symptoms of separation anxiety every time she had to cope with a new situation, with a change in environment and with the fantasy or threat of being abandoned.




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