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She once chastised her fellow therapists for withdrawing from emotionally unreachable patients rather than risk being contaminated by them.The uncanny specter of loneliness “touches on our own possibility of loneliness,” she said.
The lonely get sicker than the non-lonely, because they don’t have people to take care of them; they don’t have social support.
To the degree that loneliness has been treated as a matter of public concern in the past, it has generally been seen as a social problem—the product of an excessively conformist culture or of a breakdown in social norms. , the UCLA Loneliness Scale, asks 20 questions that run variations on the theme of closeness—“How often do you feel close to people? As many as 30 percent of Americans don’t feel close to people at a given time.
In a way, these discoveries are as consequential as the germ theory of disease.
Just as we once knew that infectious diseases killed, but didn’t know that germs spread them, we’ve known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how.
“We evade it and feel guilty.”Her 1959 essay, “On Loneliness,” is considered a founding document in a fast-growing area of scientific research you might call loneliness studies.
College Essays Loneliness
Over the past half-century, academic psychologists have largely abandoned psychoanalysis and made themselves over as biologists.” And at that, the woman’s “facial expression loosened up as though in great relief and gratitude, and her fingers opened.”Fromm-Reichmann would later become world-famous as the dumpy little therapist mistaken for a housekeeper by a new patient, a severely disturbed schizophrenic girl named Joanne Greenberg.Fromm-Reichmann cured Greenberg, who had been deemed incurable.Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack.They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you.This is true, and alarming, although as we learn more about loneliness, we’ll also be better able to treat it. Women are lonelier than men (though unmarried men are lonelier than unmarried women).But to me, what’s most momentous about the new biology of loneliness is that it offers concrete proof, obtained through the best empirical means, that the poets and bluesmen and movie directors who for centuries have deplored the ravages of lonesomeness on both body and soul were right all along. African Americans are lonelier than whites (though single African American women are less lonely than Hispanic and white women).Fromm-Reichmann even distinguished “real loneliness” from mourning, since the well-adjusted eventually get over that, and from depression, which may be a symptom of loneliness but is rarely the cause.Loneliness, she said—and this will surprise no one—is the want of intimacy.ometime in the late ’50s, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann sat down to write an essay about a subject that had been mostly overlooked by other psychoanalysts up to that point. She was not sure, she wrote, “what inner forces” made her struggle with the problem of loneliness, though she had a notion.It might have been the young female catatonic patient who began to communicate only when Fromm-Reichmann asked her how lonely she was.