Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 74 Issue 4 (December 2001), Pages 419-553

Existential loneliness: A review of the concept, its psychosocial precipitants and psychotherapeutic implications for HIV‐infected women (pages 539-553)

While many of the most urgent psychological issues that women with HIV infection are forced to deal with are existential in nature, and therefore shared by humankind, the assault on their physical and psychological being may trigger these issues in large amounts and may overwhelm their defensive structure. Existential loneliness may be an important existential issue that arises for these women and needs to be given equal consideration alongside other forms of loneliness. In this paper, we review the concept of existential loneliness, discuss methods to measure the concept, delineate some central psychosocial precipitants of existential loneliness among HIV‐infected women, and discuss psychotherapeutic implications. We conclude that incorporating an existential philosophical perspective into one's particular therapeutic stance may be especially appropriate with this population.

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