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Ambrosio, G. (2002). The Analyst at Work: Nina. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(6):1233-1238.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(6):1233-1238

The Analyst at Work: Nina

Giovanna Ambrosio

Nina was in analysis with me for eight years—from age 22 to 30—four times a week. She was born in a small mountain village and came to Rome to study Psychology at the University of Rome. She decided to come into analysis not out of a specific and conscious need, but because she intended to become a psychoanalyst herself after getting her university degree.

Nina has a very strange family background: at the age of one-and-a-half, despite having natural parents, she was given up for adoption to her uncle and aunt (her father's brother and his wife), who were themselves unable to have children. Such a solution was thought up by the grandparents in order to make up for the absence of direct descendants on the side of one of their sons, and for reasons of family inheritance. The decision was taken when the natural mother became pregnant for a second time and Nina's first sister was born, to be followed in the years to come by two more daughters.

The whole family, consisting of the two sets of parents and the four sisters, has always lived together in a big house in their home town. Here, they have all the essential amenities (a bakery, a petrol station, a bar that also sells newspapers…) and this, therefore, represents for them some kind of ‘bubble’ structured in an autarchic way.

Nina, then, found herself in the complex situation of being the eldest of four daughters from her natural parents who had ‘given her up’, whilst at the same time being the only child of the two parents who had adopted her.

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