Ask the Psychologist Issue #15: What are the Psychological Effects of Depriving Someone the Ability to be Involved with Others?
Recently, a person asked me, if her child was lacking the normal relationship with her friends at school and elsewhere, could it result in depression.
As I mentioned in Issue 3 of, Ask The Psychologist;
“Symptoms of being confined to your home and isolated from work and your community and general paranoia, can be exactly the same”.
There are various behaviors that can occur when a person is deprived of meeting higher psychological needs i.e. Involvement with others.
As mentioned in previous issues, there are basic and higher psychological that are inherent in all human beings, which we attempt to meet every day in one-way or another.
Higher Human Psychological Needs (Common in all human beings.), I.E, 1. Love and Belonging (Family and friends) 2. Self Worth and Achievement (work, school, etc.), 3. Freedom (Do and go where you want) and 4. Fun (Learning new information, general pleasures, etc.). The lower Basic Human Needs are food, clothing and shelter.
Therefore, if a person, who is having to stay at home for short periods of time, can focus on meeting their basic and higher needs each day, in a healthy manner, life becomes temporarily easier to endure. A few examples of things to do can be, call friends and family regularly (Involvement/belonging), go to youtube and do an exercise program, telework and school work (Self worth/Achievement), play games with others in the home or on the computer (Fun), create meals, gardening, home repairs/cleaning (Freedom), etc. But all of the above is no substitute for being in the general community interacting with others.
We must remember that all human beings are social beings, and limiting social interaction for extended periods of time, can be stressful and lead to psychological painful experiences. This loss may result in undesirable behavior, in attempting to meet our higher psychological needs normally.
Depression is a common behavior to choose to dull the psychological pain of the loss of normal every day involvement with others. We realize that many eons’ ago, human beings banded together in groups in order to survive. This involvement trait, extending over thousands of years, became a genetic trait in all human beings, unless one has a genetic defect, to simply survive,
Therefore if one is deprived from meeting their genetic inherent needs, there is no telling what behaviors may occur. It is important for all people and the government to understand the above, so alternative ways of helping people meet both basic and higher level needs can be accomplished. Social isolation is not a good alternative. There are many better ways, if people are given the freedom to create alternative safe choices. In my book, Invisible Scars, I discuss how POW’s continued to meet their psychological needs, even though they were isolated much of the time. We can all learn something from these Heroes.
Bart P. Billings,Ph.D.
COL SCNG-SC, Military Medical Directorate (Ret.)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist CA PSY 7656
Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist CA LMFT 4888
—Director/Founder International Military & Civilian Combat Stress Conference
—Initial Enlisted Ranks and Retired as Medical Service Corps Officer with a total of 34 years in US Army
—Recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Award from Citizens Commission on Human Rights International & The University Of Scranton “Frank O’Hara Award” in 2016.
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