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Archives for Loneliness


The Aftermath of the Isla Vista Massacre: What Can Be Learned

The tragedy in Isla Vista has left my precious Santa Barbara community—and the nation—reeling. The senseless violence, claiming the lives of innocent young people, has stimulated many different conversations…Conversations about mental illness, about more stringent gun control laws, about violence against women, about inappropriate parenting and the rise of narcissism.

No one, myself included, wants to accept that we are utterly powerless, and that the rising tide of mass murders cannot be stopped. We should all...
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Depressed? 6 Tips to Help Find Your Soul

Ashley burst into tears within a few moments of sitting down in my office. "I don't know why I'm crying. I have a loving husband and two precious children. I work out a lot and I eat well--at least most of the time. I have really great girlfriends although I never get enough time with them. I just don't know who I am any I don't know where I lost myself."

It didn't take long...
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We Are Only As Sick as Our Secrets

"Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also--if you love them enough."  -George Washington Carver

I've been a psychotherapist for over thirty years. I have long ago lost count of...
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Unhappy Relationships and Depression Go Hand in Hand

"What is the opposite of two? A lonely me. A lonely you." -Richard Wilbur

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." -Friedrich Nietzsche

The TV ads would have all of us believe that the best cure for depression is the latest and greatest medication. First it was Prozac and now it's Pristiq and Abilify. Although medication is a life saver for many, for others the side effects are...
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7 Warning Signs Of a Troubled Marriage

I've been counseling couples and families for over three decades and one thing stands out. Most people wait too long before they reach out for too long. Problems that might have been solved in five to ten sessions become crises that break up perfectly good relationships.

Since only a precious few learned the necessary skills to weather the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, it is easy to slip into negative patterns of relating--either...
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The Bond–or Bondage–of Intimacy

1. Do you spend time alone on a regular basis? When you are alone, are you comfortable or do you get anxious?

2. When your partner wants to spend time alone, do you feel rejected, scared or unloved?

3. Do you get jealous or upset when your partner spends time with other friends or family members?

4. Are you afraid that when your partner is out of sight, you are no longer in his or her thoughts?

Autonomy is the...

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Why Are We Becoming More Lonely?

"All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?"
-from the song, Eleanor Rigby, written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, released  in 1966.

Being lonely is not just painful, it is a major contributor to a host of health problems including depression, sleep problems, obesity, and dementia. The importance of social networks--increasing our time spent with family and friends rather than being alone--is so well documented that both the medical and psychological communities are realizing it has the same relevance to health and longevity as things like not smoking or getting regular exercise.

In another well-known Beatles song, we seem to get by so much better "with a little help from our friends."

Although there have always been lonely people in the world, their numbers are growing. In 2010, the American Association of Retired Persons conducted a survey of 3000 adults over 45 years old. A little over one-third admitted to being lonely compared to twenty percent only a decade earlier.

Some groups were shockingly hard hit. Half of those never married were lonely. Forty-three percent of adults aged 43-49 were lonely. Other prominent researchers estimate roughly 20 percent of Americans are unhappy due to loneliness. That's 60 million people in America alone.
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