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Can Therapy Help Loneliness?

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Honestly, I feel kind of funny anytime I talk about this or am actually honest about my feelings regarding this issue. I think it is partly because people tend to give me the “love yourself,” “you never know when the perfect guy is coming,” “it just isn’t your time yet” speech which inevitably makes me feel like my feelings are invalid.

My issue is that I have never really dated. I’ve never had a boyfriend (and yes, I am definitely heterosexual) or anything remotely like it. I have had few sexual relationships (if I can even call it that) in the past, but there was no real connection and deeper feelings were not allowed and/or definitely not reciprocated. In the last couple of years, I made the decision to not get into those kinds of situations anymore because ultimately, they made me feel worse.

For lack of better words, I feel completely out of place. Shouldn’t I have had some kind of relationship where real feelings were exchanged between myself and another person by now? I don’t need for the man that I am going to marry to come walking through the door and I’m not obsessing over finding ‘Mr. Right’… I just want to feel like a normal young woman who is dating, learning about myself and who I ultimately want by experiencing love and even heartbreak, and able to know (to some degree) that when the time comes for me to want and actively seek real love and companionship that I will be able to. I can’t even fathom myself finding my life partner if I have never gotten the chance to date at all.

While I definitely count all of my blessings and I honestly know that there are great aspects of my life, I still feel surrounded by people who have these experiences and I have no idea what it feels like to be in their shoes. It makes me extremely sad. I totally understand the concept of self validation… but what about external validation? As much as I am able to get up everyday, appreciate and respect myself, and make the most out of the hand that I’ve been dealt… how do I not feel unwanted, unattractive, alone, etc.? I don’t understand why people are allowed and expected to feel happy about being in a relationship but on the other hand, I am not supposed to feel bad about never having been in one. This year as been especially hard on me. I’m 6 months away from my 26th birthday and I feel helpless. I don’t want to feel like the same little lonely girl that I was in high school anymore.

I guess I’m just wondering how therapy can help? I have considered it but like I mentioned previously, I feel very silly about the feelings that I have due to conversations I’ve had with friends and family. Any suggestions?

Can Therapy Help Loneliness?

Answered by on -


Your letter is helpful because you sound very much in touch with your pain. But I do think therapy has something to offer. However, I don’t think it’s individual therapy that will give you what you want. I think this may be the perfect opportunity to join a group. Group therapy doesn’t talk about the issues as much as allows you to experience them directly into group. Many people who come to group therapy are struggling with issues of connection and looking to find an understanding of their isolation.

It is like going into a fitting room where there are several mirrors around you at different angles. You get to see yourself through the lens of other people. These different perspectives give you insight into how you are received by others.

I would also encourage you to engage in some new activities so that you can meet new people. A photography class, an exercise class, something new to learn with new people to meet — this gives you an opportunity to try out your newfound perspective and some group therapy in the real world.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Can Therapy Help Loneliness?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Can Therapy Help Loneliness?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Aug 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.