Having the proverbial place to yourself can be a peaceful, thrilling, and sometimes even therapeutic experience; the ability to sit with oneself and achieve a comfortable level of calm and quiet can be great, especially for people who are typically surrounded by large groups or stressful conditions. But living on one’s own, and in an emptied building or area, can lead to a social isolation that is ultimately damaging, a new project has purported
Relying on the basic and preliminary idea that people are happier and enjoy a greater quality of life when they retain a diverse social network, the project, supported by Dr. Venus Nicolino of Los Angeles and co-founded by Dr. P.M. Forni of Johns Hopkins University, picked up on the growing trend of foreclosures and relocations with the question of how these new conditions were affecting those left behind. While it may be a comforting experience to stay in one’s home or rented space despite the course of the global economic downturn, Nicolino posits that the absence of daily social interactions close to the home is responsible for creating the figure of the “urban hermit,” which will ultimately have negative implications for those living in sparsely populated buildings.
Nicolino suggests that underlying propensities for emotional and mental difficulties, manifested in any number of ways, may be brought to the fore when not exposed to the levels of social interaction and support that people are used to. Compounding this issue, the development of such difficulties may become harder to spot and address so long as the person is isolated. While living in busy areas certainly isn’t for everyone, the adoption of a quality therapy schedule or establishment of a reliable social network may be crucial for some people who are weathering the financial, but not the emotional, fallout of the economic slump.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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