Loneliness and Isolation
Loneliness – the sense of being cut-off emotionally from others, experiencing the absence of another with whom an intimate attachment has been formed, or of lacking a social network of friends, family or community – affects practically all of us at times in our lives. It is extremely common in our society, with the recent Jo Cox commission on loneliness revealing that almost three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely and that more than half of those have never spoken to anyone about how they feel. However loneliness is of course an issue which can and does affect people of all ages. People usually experience loneliness either because they do not see or talk to others often enough, or because they do not feel understood and cared for by those they do talk to. Often, access to other people is not itself enough to overcome loneliness. We can even be admired or spend a large amount of time in others’ company and yet still feel that we are not understood or cannot express ourselves. Sometimes we might simply feel that there is a discrepancy between what we have and what we want from our relationships.
Isolation is an absence of social contact, which can be a product of emotional withdrawal from the lives of others or because of certain life circumstances. Both loneliness and isolation are more likely to exist alongside mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
The therapeutic setting can provide a reliable and supportive point of human contact which can be helpful in and of itself for people experiencing loneliness. It can also help people work towards obtaining more secure and understanding relationships with those around them, and advise people on other support networks available to deal with loneliness.
If you are struggling with loneliness or isolation then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Portland Practice in Harley Steet, London and arrange a consultation with our mental health professionals here.
For further information on external charities and organisations visit our Support page.