On Loneliness: Therapeutic growth and the capacity for solitude
With Lesley Caldwell, Dr Richard Gipps and Dr Akshi Singh
Recorded Saturday 18 January 2020
“I’ll never attain any degree of freedom till I’ve learnt to disagree with people—to stand alone—to face up to human loneliness.”
Marion Milner (1927)
Why is it that some people never experience the emotion of loneliness, while others feel excruciating anxiety in solitude? This talk attempts to understand aspects of an individual’s psyche that predisposes them towards either tendency.READ MORE...
It will consider aloneness as a source of vulnerability, but also a necessary retreat for reflection and creativity. Our theoretical starting point is that the capacity to be alone is engendered in childhood by the consistent, repeated presence of being with another. This internalisation of “good objects” embeds a sense of the continuation of that intersubjective relationship when the other is absent, and protects the psyche at times of solitude throughout life.
When the “other” has not been installed as loving and safe internal object, what can a therapy relationship provide to counter that deficit? Our speakers consider if terrifying states of loneliness can be ultimately transformed into an inner sanctuary that the client can use as a resource for reflection, rest and creativity. We hear how the depressed, anxious and even the psychotic can re-experience solitude as a resource when they discover that they are loveable; when they know that they can safely return to the presence of others.
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