Ildikó Erdélyi, Zsolt Káldy: Perdita – a special case of identity disorder

The child who has been extruded from the family is called Perdita after Shakespeare`s The Winter`s Tale. We call the disorder that emerges during the development of identity the phenomenon of perdita. It manifests itself in the lack of childhood memories, in bonding problems, social isolation and in  symptoms of anxiety. This phenomenon produces a so-called perdita personality. In most cases adolescents that were raised in foster homes from before the age of 4 can be ranked here. Characteristics of their behaviour are the need for autonomy and dependence at the same time, which results in ambivalent emotional and social functioning. From the point of view of recalling memories we created two perdita groups: the group of those with lack of memories and the group of those with re-colored memories. The third group is the control group, of those with living memories (not perdita group). The treatment of the perditas is becoming a more and more important task. According to our experiences the treatment can be the most effective in peer groups where the majority has living memories. Another possibility to provide treatment to perditas is the application of various art-therapeutic methods.

Key words: foster home – perdita phenomenon – perdita personality – narrative of life history – group therapy – creation

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