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Conditions: Detachment

What is emotional detachment?

Emotional detachment refers to an experience and state of being disconnected or disengaged from the feelings of other people.

This can involve either an inability or an unwillingness to get involved in the emotional lives of other people. Emotional detachment is a coping strategy and a protective mechanism which can shied us from stress, hurt, and anxiety but it can also interfere with a person's psychological, social, and emotional wellbeing. Emotional detachment can also develop as a coping mechanism when people are faced with stressful or difficult situations. In other cases, it can be a symptom of a mental health difficulty associated with PTSD, depression, or bipolar disorders.

Emotional detachment can have many different causes. These often include past experiences and psychological difficulties, but it can also be purposeful behaviour that can be used to cope or set boundaries in overwhelming situations. Past abuse, neglect, and trauma or painful relational experiences can all contribute to emotional detachment.

Detachment can become problematic if it becomes an overused pattern of behaviour that affects your ability to form and maintain healthy and meaningful relationships with other people.

When to seek help?

  • You are experiencing ambivalence toward others

  • You are avoiding people, situations, or activities

  • You have difficulty empathising with others

  • You find it hard to open up to others

  • You are feeling disconnected from others, and you are losing touch with people

  • You are losing interest in people and activities

  • You are finding it hard to pay attention to other people

  • You have poor listening skills

  • You prefer to be alone

  • You have problems forming and maintaining relationships

  • You have problems expressing emotions

  • You are struggling to feel positive emotions

Treatment recommendations

Psychotherapy approaches that might be utilised to treat emotional detachment include psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) among others. If you are experiencing emotional detachment that is causing problems in your life and relationships, there are many things that you can do to help reintegrate your emotional connections in your life. Therapy can also help you to identify factors that cause or contribute to your detachment and assist you in practicing mindfulness, strengthening your relationships, and finding ways to be emotionally vulnerable. The chosen treatment would be individually tailored to your needs following a comprehensive assessment process in our service.

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