“A SPELLBINDING BOOK”
“I WAS RIVETED”
Told through Freiberg’s unique lens of a social psychologist turned lawyer, Four Seasons of Loneliness explores the fallout of losing the connections so fundamental to mental health. Freiberg practiced law for three decades as general counsel to many of Boston’s principal social service agencies, and to scores of the city’s private clinical practices of psychiatrists, psychologists and licensed independent clinical social workers. In doing so, he was consulted on hundreds of cases involving clients affected by chronic and debilitating loneliness.
Here, in four adapted stories from his law practice, Freiberg reveals how loneliness can impact us in every season of our lives. A fascinating cast of characters emerges: the traumatized teenager forever branded as a sexual predator, the man who spends the prime of his life in solitary confinement in Mao-era China, the truck driver whose self-education isolated him from his community, and the professor at the end of his life who has vast knowledge about the history of love but none to call his own.
Growing Up Lonely is an edited volume presenting the papers presented at the 2018 Symposium on Children and Loneliness organized by Freiberg and held at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for The United States Senate on the Boston waterfront. The symposium, which was attended by more than four hundred mental health professionals was sponsored by The Home for Little Wanderers, the United States’ first children’s social welfare agency, launched in 1799.
The collection reproduces Freiberg’s story that sparked the idea of the symposium, “The Loneliest Boy,” as well as a new paper by Freiberg entitled “Growing Up Lonely: Disconnection and Misconnection in The Lives of Our Children.” The volume also contains papers by Harvard Medical School psychiatry professors Jacqueline Olds, MD, and Richard Schwartz, MD, (co-authors of The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century) and Harvard Medical School instructor and director of Advanced Training at the Jean Baker-Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Amy Banks, MD, author of Wired to Connect: The Surprising Link Between Brain Science and Strong, Healthy Relationships.
In Surrounded By Others and Yet So Alone, Freiberg again turns to his trademark storytelling voice to relate five additional adapted tales from his law practice, this time to illustrate the five “modes of misconnection” that cause individuals to lead lives mired in chronic loneliness, despite the fact that they are surrounded by mates, children, friends, colleagues, neighbors and teammates.
This time the cast of alluring cast of characters whose lives you will follow include a six-year old girl whose mother has just died and who is caught up in custody litigation that will determine if she will also lose her adoring step-father, an attorney involved in disbarment proceedings because of his aberrant manner of practicing criminal defense law, a man who pretended to be a woman and who fooled his common-law husband as to his gender for fully thirty years, a sagacious boy who was determined to learn why his parents could not succeed in making him feel loved, and a master baker whose French bread varied from marvelous to mediocre depending on the status of the spousal abuse to which she was subject in her home.