Many of the clients I work with talk about experiencing loneliness. Some say that the therapeutic space is the only place they feel safe enough to admit that they feel lonely.

Mother Teresa once said that loneliness is the biggest poverty in the Western world. She was commenting on the reality that people died in their homes in New York and it may be months before they are discovered. These are people who have no one in their lives to notice that they are missing.

I have suffered times of feeling intensely lonely and have struggled with feeling ashamed of such feelings. Others have told me that they feel a similar shame. Why is it so shameful for many of us to speak about loneliness and to admit to feeling lonely. I know for me it is something to do with feeling as though I couldn’t speak about my emotions with my family growing up. I also saw the loneliness that existed between my father and mother in their middle-class marriage, a common scenario. There was silence around the loneliness and longing for connection.

I am now a lot better at admitting to feeling lonely to some close friends and family, yet it is still a work in progress. I am trying to learn not to feel ashamed at such feelings.

Author Johann Hari says this when he talks about the real drivers behind drug addiction. He claims that addiction is a symptom of disconnected, lonely lives rather than our brains just getting hooked on the drug itself. He says “Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love, but we have created an environment and a culture that cuts us off from connection or offers only the parody through the internet. We need now to talk about social recovery, how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation that is sinking on us like a thick fog. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is a human connection.”

I find that for myself, making an authentic and real connection with another is what eases the pain of loneliness. I wonder, how it is for you?


Clinician, Lecturer, Group Facilitator, Educator and Supervisor in Education, Social Services and Mental Health.

You may also like


  • Keiko
    December 20, 2015 at 4:36 am

    I have to express some ariepciatpon to the writer for rescuing me from such a scenario. Because of searching through the the net and getting opinions which were not helpful, I was thinking my entire life was done. Living minus the strategies to the problems you have resolved as a result of your good short article is a serious case, and ones which could have negatively damaged my career if I had not discovered the blog. Your primary training and kindness in playing with all the stuff was excellent. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a subject like this. I’m able to now look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for the professional and result oriented guide. I won’t be reluctant to recommend your web site to anyone who would like tips about this area.

    • rosmlewis
      Rosalind Lewis
      December 20, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Hi Keiko,
      Thank you for your feedback. Not sure that I have resolved the problems of loneliness, but it is a good thing to normalise these experiences I think, so none of us think we are the only ones that feel like this sometimes 🙂



Sign-up now for the amiworthit.com newsletter and get advice on how to say a resounding YES to the question "am I worth it?"

About me

Rosalind Lewis

Rosalind Lewis

Professionally I have 33 years experience as a Clinician, Lecturer, Group Facilitator, Educator and Supervisor in Education, Social Services and Mental Health. I currently live in Melbourne, Australia and work in Mental Health. I have a particular interest in supporting and empowering women and men to be all they can be, by assisting the discovery of tools that help them find strength to transform difficulties into opportunities, enriching their lives both personally and professionally. I am a New Zealand Registered Psychotherapist with PBANZ, member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists and have a Masters of Health Science (Psychotherapy) First Class Honours. My research thesis was about the long term consequences of intimate partner violence for women. I am influenced and informed by both my professional experiences and my own personal journey, which has involved many challenges and celebrations along the way.