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Depressed and Lacking Friends

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, I used to be a member of a cult (which I will not name). After leaving the cult, I quickly became lonely, as all my friends were members of it. I feel extremely lonely and depressed because I have no friends, and at the age of 29, never had a girlfriend or even went out on a date. I am currently on medication for depression and am seeing a therapist weekly, but it is awkward to talk to her about these things because she is a female. I have no idea how to even begin dealing with these things but they make me feel like a complete loser. I’m in college, but it is extremely awkward to make friends with kids so much younger than me. What should I do? Thank you in advance.

I’m curious about how long you were a member of a cult. Were you born into the cult and are now just leaving? Were you a member for a few years, few months, etc.? I’m also wondering about the main function of the cult and what types of relationships you formed with other members. That information would’ve helped me to better understand your social situation.

Given that all of your friends remain members of the cult, it makes sense that you would feel lonely. It takes time to re-establish new relationships. It may simply be a matter of time before you meet new people with whom you can connect. You did not mention how long you’ve been out of the cult. Without more information about your past circumstances, it is difficult for me to comprehensively answer your inquiry.

The best place to deal with these issues is in therapy; however, you are reluctant to discuss these matters with your therapist because she is female. I’m wondering why that is a problem for you? It would not be so for your therapist. It would be difficult for any therapist to properly assist their client when he or she is withholding important information. Under certain circumstances, it would be better for a female client to see a female therapist or a male client see a male therapist. However, under other circumstances the reverse would be true. Your therapist is trained to know which approach would be best but of course that means that you have to inform her of your feelings and you should.

When clients are not fully forthcoming, it can hinder therapeutic progress. During your next therapy session you should make a concerted effort to be honest with your therapist. Tell her everything you’re feeling. If you can’t move past the fact that she’s a female and it is hindering therapy, then you may want to try a male therapist. You might feel more comfortable. I hope this helps. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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