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The Reconnection of Jaycee and Her Mom

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A psychologist gives her perspective.

Jaycee Dugard

Dr. Michelle Golland: Hope and courage! These are the two words that come to my mind while watching the statement made by Tina Dugard, Jaycee's aunt, regarding the reunification and reconnection of Jaycee and her mom, Terry Probyn. I am extremely hopeful for Jaycee and her daughters. As a clinical psychologist, it was clear to me that the family is doing everything right in regards to beginning the healing process for Jaycee and her daughters. This is a time for joy, love, and connecting. We know there will be time for sharing of the horrific moments we all can only assume Jaycee experienced during her 18-year captivity. Now is the time for honoring her courage and holding the greatest of hope for her and her daughters' future.

What is key now is for Jaycee to be in control of her life and her future. This is control and power she has not experienced since she was age 11. There will be many therapists and many hours of recovery, but for now, loving and joyous moments are what need to be surrounding this family. The description of Terry braiding Jaycee's hair for the first time in 18 years brought tears to my eyes as a mother. I can only imagine what Terry must have been feeling when she touched her daughter's face for the first time after so long.

Hearing Tina, Jaycee's aunt, describe how strong and resilient her niece was and the fact that she had educated her daughters as best she could told me as a clinician she was able to truly compartmentalize her two worlds, the one before abduction and the one after. The way Jaycee opened her arms to her aunt and recognized her and hugged her made me think how she had to keep alive inside of her the love and connection with her family all these years. I can only assume that love gave her strength to survive the best way she could under such frightening circumstances. Jaycee's Aunt Tina said it best: "The horrible scary thing happened 18 years ago, and continued to happen for the last 18 years. The darkness and despair have lifted."

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