The Lone Twin by Joan Woodward

Twins hold fascination for people. We are intrigued by their closeness. But what happens when twins are separated, especially by death? Twin mortality is high, but it is not uncommon for a lone twin’s loss at any age to go unmarked. They need extra help and support to take them through the loss of their “other half”. The loss of a twin can be devastating to the survivor.

Working as an attachment therapist, Joan Woodward uses John Bowlby’s theories as her conceptual base. She suggests that the highly significant attachment that twin frequently make with each other may begin for twins before birth. She takes the reader through their closeness and on to the experience of death and bereavement. The book includes parental attitudes to the surviving twin, the surviving twin’s guilt, the ability to cope and the effect of loss in childhood and adulthood. Of particular interest, perhaps, are those who lost their twin at birth. Throughout, the book is illustrated by words of surviving twins: affecting accounts of bereavement.

This is an important and rare book for many professionals -counsellors, psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists and teachers -who come into contact with bereaved twins and yet have little understanding of the dynamics of twinship and twin loss. Written in jargon-free language, it is also for the twins themselves, their families, parents and friends.

This book gives lone twins the chance for the first time. to have their voices heard, and professionals the opportunity to develop more effective ways of supporting them.

Joan Woodward, herself a lone twin, is a psychotherapist based in Birmingham, England. She is a founder of the Lone Twin Network, an organisation that enables lone twins to contact each other and share their experiences.