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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What can I do to stop me feeling so isolated away from my family and friends?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Rhonda Gibson Long


    I work with clients who have depression and anxiety but also I work with relationship issues, stress, addictions, grief, trauma, low self esteem and sexuality … View Profile

    People move or people come into life's transitions where people come to a place where they feel quite lonely and isolated. That sense of being alone or feeling overwhelmed are the main two reason people come to therapy. What is really difficult for people to do is actually simply make a friend or find someone you feel connected to. This can be someone at work or a next door neighbor or someone that you have some connection with already, and develop that connection so you do not feel so isolated.
    Often that is the hardest thing to do, to reach out. People feel isolated and then they get trapped in a bubble. They find it really difficult to break through that bubble to connect with someone on the outside. It is the fact that they have come to therapy shows that they are prepared to make connections. They are prepared that there is hope there if they can make a connection with me, then they can make connections with other people out there.
    Another thing that keeps people isolated too is the thought that ‘no one is interested in me’, or ‘I am not enough for the world’. This leads to a low self-esteem, and often a therapist can work with people around that. Developing a sense of worth in themselves, through the relationship with the therapist we can focus on their value, and what they are good at and build on that.
    Once this relationship has developed they can then feel ready to reach out and make new relationships in their own immediate environment.
    You would think today with all of the technology, social networking and communications available that isolation would not be so prominent in society. These actually have an overwhelming expectation of how you should be in connecting with others. It seems that everybody else is able to do it except for the person who comes to therapy. They feel they are far too shy and end up feeling even more isolated.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    You don't say why you are away from family and friends. Have you moved away? If so, you may be dealing with the grief of separating from those you love, as well as facting the daunting task of building connections in a new place. Friendships take time to develop - it can be so difficult to take that first step to reach out, and go through the process of finding out which connections will develop into friendship and support. While it is important to reach out, as Rhonda suggests, you may also need to spend some time being with yourself - pay great attention to looking after yourself emotionally, physically and mentally. What are the things you do that bring you joy, that make you feel balanced and centred? This may include making sure you're eating and sleeping well, getting regular exercise, meditating or relaxing, doing something creative - whatever is right for you. Counselling can give you the support and tools to make the positive changes you want.

    If you are isolated from family or friends for a different reason - for example because you are in a relationship with someone who does not like you to spend time with family and friends - it may be important to get the support you need, perhaps through counselling, to change your situation. Internet-based and telephone services such as Lifeline -—Information/Lifeline-Services/Lifeline-Services can be a place to start if it is hard for you to leave your house.

    All the best, Vivienne

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