The Psychology of Solitude Publication date : October 15, 2009
Gérard Macqueron is a medical psychiatrist, working notably at Hôpital Sainte-Anne, in Paris. He is the author of La Timidité, comment la surmonter (“Guide pour s’aider soi-même”, 2004) and Guide de la psychologie de la vie quotidienne (under the editorship of Christophe André, 2008).
Do you lack friends? Do you fail to establish satisfactory affective relations? Does intimacy perturb you? Are you bored? Do you have a feeling of emptiness, of uselessness? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may be suffering from intolerance to solitude — i.e. the prospect of facing yourself is unbearable.
This book explains different forms of solitude — social, affective, internal — and shows why some of us suffer from them more than others. The result of innate factors and deep-rooted unmet childhood needs, the painful feeling of solitude is maintained in later life by the use of inappropriate strategies, particularly of avoidance (an overly busy schedule, evasion via the internet).
Yet knowing how to be alone and at peace with oneself is the key to psychic fulfilment: it favours self-discovery and the acceptance of one’s limitations, and it ultimately allows us to act as more responsible and mature human beings, freed from cravings for attachment or from the desire to fill a void.
This book proposes effective solutions to strike a balance between personal fulfilment and an enriching social and emotional life. It tells us how to be at peace with ourselves, and happier with others.
• Psychic suffering in all its forms (depression, permanent dissatisfaction, difficulties with relationships, addictive disorders) often masks deep anxieties about being alone.
• A groundbreaking essay on the psychology of solitude.
• A practical, concrete and effective programme whose usefulness has been corroborated in psychotherapy.