“Two-times Lottie: how symbiotic twin relationships define lives” [Actual title: Das doppelte Lottchen, Lebensprägung auf der Basis von symbiotischen Zwillingsbeziehungen] was the title of Anke Sommer’s diploma thesis on the topic of twin and symbiosis research, completed in 1994. Based on the research findings included in the thesis, Anke Sommer integrated this knowledge into her work on interpersonal relationships.

Hardly anyone undergoes such strong individualisation processes as identical twins. It’s inevitable: from the moment of conception, an identical twin is never alone. Identical twins are often not perceived as individuals by the people around them. Multiples face the same situation: they may experience sibling issues in concentrated form.

Anke Sommer, owner of INSTITUT SOMMERINSTITUT SOMMER is not only the name of our company, but also the expression of the approach we take towards the requests we receive. Read more here.... Read more, is herself an identical twin and therefore has direct experience of the difficulties, needs, emotions, and desires that can emerge in twin relationships. She knows of the special need for closeness, the fact that closeness is taken for granted, and the potential it contains. She is familiar with the questions, challenges and unintentional ‘mistakes’ made by carers, teachers and even parents, that occur in the twins’/ multiples’ world due to lack of knowledge.

Twins are a relatively rare phenomenon. About one in 40 births worldwide is a twin birth. Twins are descended from the same genetic parents and are conceived on the same day; also, they are usually born on the same day. The word ‘twin’ is derived from the word ‘two’; in colloquial terms, it means that ‘there are two of them’. There are two types of twins: identical and fraternal twins. Identical twins develop from a single fertilised egg. Their special feature is that they share the same hereditary disposition and the same genetic make-up. As they grow, however, the twins nevertheless develop in different directions, because their divergent experiences mark them in distinct ways. The differences are also noticeable in their appearance. The more divergent the life paths chosen by the twins, the greater the differences between them. That explains the fact that different genes will be activated at birth even in twins that are genetically identical. Fraternal twins occur when two egg cells are fertilised by two different sperm in one cycle. There are two other ways in which twins may be conceived, but they are very rare.

The term ‘multiples’ refers to twins as well as triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, etc., that is, all the children who are conceived by the same genetic parents and born at the same time. The multiples are defined by their numbers: the word ‘triplet’ comes from ‘triple’ while ‘quadruplet’ and ‘quintuplet’ are derived from the Latin words for four and five, etc. Hence the origin of the terms for multiple births.

You can read Anke Sommer’s Coaching Blog on twin relationships here.