“What is most personal is most universal.” Carl Rogers
By its very nature loneliness is a solitary and personal experience, yet most people can relate to descriptions of sadness, emptiness, missing, helplessness, anxiety, panic, hopelessness and more.
Missing someone and just wanting to be with them again.
Spending too much time alone. Longing for companionship, conversation, meaningful and loving interactions with others‘the lack of any relationship in which we communicate our real experiencing – and hence our real self – to another.’ Carl Rogers
Feeling like an outsider in a group or community.
Separation from others who have not lived through an ordeal or trauma that has impacted us. There might be a particular event, a long- term situation, or something that is ongoing. This can be lonely for the sufferer, and lonely for loved ones who are struggling to reach out and connect with them.
Feeling low and depressed, becoming immersed in sadness and living with a sense of dread, losing one’s confidence and enthusiasm, feeling irritable, achy and at a distance from one’s self, whilst also lacking the words and the energy to communicate effectively with others.
Feeling dissociated, perhaps with a sense of being absent, maybe going through the motions of day to day living without being emotionally present. This has been described to me as being a body without a soul.
Ignoring, and denying one's inner truth, perhaps deliberately in the hope of being accepted and loved by others. Maybe losing touch with one’s own beliefs and meanings. ‘The estrangement of man from himself, from his experiencing organism.’ Carl Rogers
With loneliness there is an absence of connection. Connection with others, connection with one’s self and sometimes both.
How can counselling help?
Counselling is all about building connections
It begins with someone sitting in the room with you. They are beside you in an emotional sense and this creates a space for change and allows the quality and intensity of loneliness to shift.
When you share your experiences of loneliness with a person who is genuinely attentive, respectful and accepting towards you it can transform. Central to person-centred therapy is the intention to understand, as closely as we can how things are from the client’s point of view. In a non-judgmental and non-directive atmosphere, there is space and safety to explore one’s self and one’s experiences.
As you share your perspective and feel understood and accepted the healing connection between client and counsellor can grow, and your connection with your inner self can deepen.
Loneliness can be explored with new possibilities emerging. Various nuances of your loneliness may be recognized and considered. You might change your view of loneliness and understand it in a fresh way.
Carl Rogers (1995) A Way of Being