My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem. But they don’t really know me. –Garry Shandling
The quote by this well-known comedian helps to highlight the two-way process of understanding what others and we bring to intimacy.
The fact that you used to close people off entirely is likely to be something you’ll want to understand. The reasons for this will most likely yield important information in unraveling your current situation.
I have a bias about how I believe the change you want can happen. One type of therapy is designed in such a way that it typically works better than others. Group therapy, an interactive process for people struggling with different needs and transitions, may be something you’d want to look into. This is more than a support group; this is a dynamic group where the interaction between the members is part of the healing process. But this is not a one-shot deal. You may have to go six to ten times before you will be able to assess the impact it is having, and possibly longer to achieve true change. The reason I am so swayed by group therapy is because the process itself is the intervention. More than individual, group allows for greater therapeutic contact with more people (at a more affordable rate.) Whatever your interpersonal dynamics are the six to ten people in the group, as well as the facilitator or co-facilitator, will shine some light on your interpersonal process.
Imagine trying on a new shirt and pants and going in front of one mirror, then imagine going in front of several multi-angle mirrors with six or more views. What you get is a more detailed and useful perspective with the multiview mirrors. This is the difference between individual and group therapy. Both will help, but group work will give you more feedback about how you are in the world.
The fact that you notice a pattern to the interactions in your behavior is a good thing because it means you have been assessing the common denominator — the lack of connectivity. Group therapy is likely to provide insight on the nature and dynamics of your experiences. Chances are good that, as a student, your university will have a therapy group you can join.
Wishing you patience and peace,