Isolation is a deliberate or unintended separation from others.  It can be physical, in which a person cuts all contact with friends and family, or it may be psychological, in which a person may feel like they are not connected to their family, peers, or social world.


  • Anxiety in social situations
  • Severe depression may cause a person to avoid social obligations
  • Subclinical depressed mood
  • Excessively low self-esteem
  • Agoraphobia


A person may isolate themselves psychologically by avoiding attachment to others.  This is typically seen as a defense mechanism to avoid discomfort or maintain control over one’s self.  If a person suffers from social anxiety they will isolate themselves to avoid situations that trigger anxiety.  Other anxiety disorders and specific phobias may resemble this behavior as well.  It’s important to note the difference between a person who needs solitude, or healthy alone time, and a person whose isolation is maladaptive.  Introversion can often cause what appears to be unhealthy isolation but is actually normal on a case by case basis.


A mental health professional will be able to distinguish between isolation that is healthy and isolation that is getting in the way of a person’s goals and needs.  If the isolation is deemed maladaptive, psychotherapy will allow the person to become comfortable with their therapist as they look beneath the surface and determine the causes of the behavior before making a plan to overcome the tendency to isolate and replace it with adaptive behaviors that let the person meet their goals.

We Can Help

Open Path’s therapists offer beneficial services that encourage insight, self-reflection, and healthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists provide a supportive environment, aiming for our clients to effectively reach success.

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