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WHY AND HOW TO TALK ABOUT LONELINESS

Author:

Eric Schoenmakers

Eric C. Schoenmakers, PhD, is a researcher at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. His research focuses on (coping with) loneliness and social aspects of ageing., NL
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Abstract

This paper discusses why talking about loneliness is important, what topics should be talked about and offers points of attention for bringing up the topic of loneliness. There are three reasons why talking about loneliness is important. First, conversation is the only way to assess loneliness at the individual level. Second, conversations help gathering rich information about an individual’s loneliness and thus are essential in determining appropriate follow-up action. Third, conversation helps individuals in structuring their thoughts, which results in more agency for the lonely individual. Four topic areas to discuss regarding loneliness are specified, i.e. how loneliness feels,
what causes loneliness, what consequences of loneliness are, and how loneliness is addressed. Furthermore, three points of attention for bringing up the topic of loneliness are presented, i.e. how loneliness influences the ability to build and maintain relationships, that loneliness should not be a taboo, but an everyday topic to discuss, and the possible pitfall of talking about easy solutions. As talking about loneliness is important, developing, implementing and evaluating training to talk about loneliness is an important step for future development. 
 
 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.646
How to Cite: Schoenmakers, E., 2020. WHY AND HOW TO TALK ABOUT LONELINESS. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice, 29(4), pp.4–18. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.646
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Published on 07 Jul 2020.
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