Maria was an attractive, dark-haired, 10 years old girl whose parents referred her because she had developed a recurring fear that her fateher was going to die.She was also spending a considerable amount of time engaging in ritualistic behaviors,such as tapping objects a certain number of times and arranging her possessions in particular ways.Maria reported that she felt good only when she was completing her rituals.Although she was very intelligent and did superior work in school,Maria became upset if her performance was not the best in the class.She spoke at length about minor problems in the school and perceived herself as a inadequate student.
Although her concerns about school had been present for several years, her fear of her father's death and the ritualistic behaviors at home had a sudden onset after the accidental death of one of her uncles whose funeral she attended.
Maria's mother described herself as a perfectionist and was proud of her accomplishments as manager of the household,but she had a long history of a lack of relationships with other people and was unable to discuss her feelings.She acknowledged that her marriage was not satisfactory and that her husband did not meet her expectations either at home or in his job.
Maria's father was considerably warmer and more friendly than his wife,but he reported episodes of depression that had been increasing in frequency during the last two years and felt that they were related to his dissatisfaction with her job and his marriage.The death of his father had further increased his family responsibilities,responsibilities with which he felt unable to cope.Concern with his own problems seemed to prevent him from acknowledging Maria's problems.His withdrawal from her difficulties was characterized by his stating that "she is just like her mother."
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