Social isolation can be described as the state of separation, where though an individual may belong to a social network that functions appropriately, is physically separated from them. Over time, the individual might develop depression or mental health concerns. For instance, if an individual relocates to a remote area away from people, the person may with time experience loneliness or social anxiety.
No individual is an island, and since humans are inter-dependent beings, we are always encouraged to mingle with others. Therapy can help individuals build the needed social skills and measure up to the standard of the society by connecting with others.
To find out if you are living in loneliness or you are socially isolated, try and answer these questions:
- How often do you feel left out?
- How often are you affected by lack of companionship?
- How often do you intentionally isolate yourself from people or social gatherings?
Therapists often can guide you in answering these questions, and the more reason they do so is to be able to understand the intensity of your social isolation and hitherto know the kind of treatment that can be given to you. This is the more reason you should always seek professional counselling services from licensed therapists. If you ever need a recommendation, I will recommend online counselling agencies like BetterHelp.
The early signs of social isolation include you frequently justifying the reasons why you have to be alone. Also, you quickly get annoyed at the people in your social network at the slightest thing and actually desire to be alone rather than associating with them, or you spend your solitude unproductively. Sometimes it is good to be alone since you get the chance to reflect on the things happening in your life, re-strategize and enjoy some mental peace.
It is highly possible for an individual though might have people around, will live in solitude and that can be due to various reasons such as shame, fear, or not being welcomed in the society. Your mental health must be your priority, so here can three ways you can use therapy to help yourself overcome social isolation.
1. Address your social needs
When addressing silent killers, social isolation cannot be overlooked. It can slowly entrap you into loneliness and the earlier it is treated, the better your life becomes. Often when you speak to a therapist about your social isolation and how it affects you, they try and make you understand how important it is to be around people, and get socially involved in the things that happen in the society. Every individual needs to have a relationship with others, and this relationship can help reduce emotional concerns. Thus, whenever you seek therapeutic services, this can help you effectively address your social needs.
2. Discover internal healing
Being around people doesn’t solve your social isolation issues. There are times when though an individual has a lot of people around still feels lonely. A professional therapist seeks to address this issue by helping you reach that part of your brain where internal healing can occur. As they spend time with you and help you solve some prevalent problems, with time, you will find the inner peace you desire and eventually will be able to overcome your social isolation.
3. Focus on the needs and feelings of others
When you seek therapy, it helps to shift the focus from you to others. Professional therapists will make you understand why, as part of dealing with your social isolation, you need to relate well with people. As much as there is the need for you to feel socially connected, others feel the same too. But it is more fulfilling and rewarding to focus more on others in your quest to overcome your social isolation.
Also, this helps because you will no longer be left all by yourself to have unwanted thoughts. Your therapist will be half-way through helping you overcome your social isolation because once you start connecting with people, you will naturally draw closer to them and engage in more activities socially without anyone forcing you to.
In dealing with isolation, some professional therapist platforms such as BetterHelp, also make their clients understand how intimacy can help them overcome isolation by correctly understanding Erik Erikson’s stages of development. For instance, Erik Erikson describes intimacy as finding one’s self while losing one’s self in another person. It requires a commitment to another person, and if the person fails to develop an intimate relationship in early adulthood, isolation results.
This isolation if not checked can affect your mental health. Once therapists succeed in making you understand how having a connection with people can push you out of your social isolation, and give you the mental freedom you deserve, you only have to wait for your therapist to declare you healed.