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Miller, J. (1992). A Child Losing and Finding Her Objects: An Unusual Therapeutic Intervention in the Nursery School. J. Child Psychother., 18(1):101-114.

(1992). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 18(1):101-114

A Child Losing and Finding Her Objects: An Unusual Therapeutic Intervention in the Nursery School

Jill Miller

Carmen, a healthy, attractive child, began attending the Centre's Nursery School when she was 3 years old. The family was well known to the staff, who were aware that Carmen had not lived with her mother for some time. The family had made a trip abroad to relatives when Carmen was 15 months of age and had abruptly left her there, in the care of an aunt. The reason given was that only two plane reservations were available, too few to include Carmen. Her mother planned to collect her three months later, but did not make the trip. When Carmen was 23 months she was visited by her mother with the idea of returning to England, but her mother again left without her. Twenty months after being left the first time, at the age of 3, the mother visited again. This time she brought Carmen back to England with her. Once here Carmen cried each night at bedtime: “I want to go home”. She soon began to call her mother “Mummy”, but continued to call her aunt “Mummy” as well. Two weeks afer her arrival Carmen entered our Nursery School.

We were later to learn that these were not the only dramatic separations between mother and child. The details were unclear; however sometime during Carmen's first year she lived with her aunt in another country for six months. Until the time of entry into the Nursery, it seems Carmen had lived with her mother for only 9 months of her life, during which she saw her mother on weekends, being cared for during the week by someone else.

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