We live in a connected society, where once we only communicated by voice or letter now we have email, Skype, Zoom, facetime, mobile, SMS, and a myriad of apps that allow us to share our lives with anyone and everyone, and yet news articles and surveys report that the instance of loneliness and isolation are on the increase.
How is it that with the plethora of ways to keep in contact more people are acknowledging that they are feeling isolated and lonely?
Counselling for loneliness will explore what feeling ‘connected’ means to you how you can foster that in others and in yourself, to re-connect.
Coping with feeling lonely and isolated
No two situations are ever the same, counselling for loneliness seeks to find ways for you to reconnect with those around you and to reconnect with yourself. Working with a therapist you can explore how your feelings of loneliness and isolation have developed and how they make you feel.
Who is coping with loneliness and isolation?
When we talk about lonely or isolated people, who do we mean?
The classic image of a lonely person is the older adult whose children have left home and moved away, perhaps whose partner or close friends have died and they are living an isolated existence rarely going out. Or perhaps the chronically ill person who is prevented from engaging in society as a result of their health condition.
These are classic stereotypes of who the lonely or isolated person is.
But loneliness is not necessarily about living a life where you don’t come into contact with people, far from it. Here are some less obvious examples of someone who is lonely and isolated.
- Loneliness in a relationship – when you have lost your connection with your partner. You may be living together but you feel lonely and isolated and not connected to them.
- Loneliness and feeling isolated following a relationship break up.
- Loneliness in your work life – being in an office team and working along aside your fellow team members but you may not feel part of the team, you may even be suffering bullying or harassment and so suffering the feeling of isolation on a daily basis. Or it may be loneliness as a result of being the boss.
- New parent – either a stay at home mum or dad. You may have taken on the role of child carer and be suffering from feeling isolated and disconnected from your friends and work colleagues.
- Carer for a partner or family member – perhaps your partner needs constant care and attention you have had to give up work and perhaps you have lost your social life. Isolation and loneliness can easily be a result of being the full time carer.
- Loneliness and feeling isolated when the kids leave home, the so called ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’
Feeling lonely or being alone?
Being alone is very different from feeling lonely or isolated. The paradox is that one person can choose to live in the centre of a city, meet many people every day, have access to cafes, galleries, community groups and work colleagues and yet feel lonely and isolated and another person can choose to live in a rural location and exist on a day to day basis where they see very few or no others and yet still feel connected and part of society.
We can all choose to want to be alone at points in our lives. Seeking solitude and quiet to relax, contemplate or meditate is a very natural and healthy choice. Loneliness and Isolation are not choices that we make but symptoms of losing connection with others that we once felt connected to. It’s about the quality of the connections we make.
More than this feeling lonely or isolated can also be a symptom of losing a connection with ‘ourselves’.
Loneliness, isolation and mental health
There is a strong link between those who suffer from chronic mental health conditions and incidents of loneliness.
It isn’t so much that loneliness causes a mental health condition but that the mental health condition often isolates the sufferer and causes them to withdraw thus leading to loneliness, which then impacts further on their mental health, and so the cycle continues.
Counselling for loneliness and isolation: Reconnecting with those around us
In counselling for loneliness we talk about how to make a connection with others or reconnecting with others, but in fact what we aim to achieve is helping you find out what it is you seek in others so that you are making meaningful connections with others. Meaningful connections are those that resonate in you, conversations or ways of being with others that reflect your values, ideas and interests and therefore the time spent is valued by you.
Loneliness is a pernicious condition that can eat away at our self-esteem, confidence and self-worth and cause us to feel anxious and depressed about who we are and where we fit into society.
How Can Counselling for Loneliness Help?
It can be hard to admit that we are lonely, many people see it as a failing in themselves … I am lonely therefore I must be unpopular. Counselling for loneliness will explore what this feeling of loneliness means for you for example you may have a great relationship, a good work life and supportive friends and yet still feel that you are unconnected.
Counselling will explore what feeling ‘connected’ means to you how you can foster that in others and in yourself to re connect.
There are many different causes for feeling lonely, isolated or disconnected. Your therapy might focus on some practical solutions to your loneliness as well as work on your sense of self-worth and perhaps your reason for being. Some form of existential therapy might be appropriate in your counselling sessions.
Counselling for coping with loneliness and isolation
Take the first step to overcoming feelings of isolation, many of the therapists at City Therapy Rooms work with loneliness and existentialism, take a look at the City Therapists profiles and break the cycle and reconnect.
© Brian Cotsen