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Seclusion is the act of secluding, i.e. shutting out or keeping apart from society, or the state of being secluded, or a place that facilitates it (a secluded place). A person, a couple, or a larger group may go to a secluded place for privacy, or because the place is quiet. Seclusion of a single person is also called solitude.
Restrictions on the seclusion of a man and a woman
In some cases where there are legal, religious or social restrictions on two people having physical intimacy, there may be restrictions on being together in a secluded place. For example, under traditional schools of sharia or Islamic law, a man and a woman who are not married and not mahram, being together in a house, a room, a bathroom, or a secluded place, may be forbidden. A man and woman could be in a secluded area for work purposes, just talking, or anything that does not allow them to pass their limits. See also yichud—a similar rule in Judaism.
As a therapy
Seclusion may be used as a control tactic in psychiatric treatment settings. Seclusion of an agitated person in a quiet room free of stimulation may help de-escalate a situation which may be dangerous to the agitated person or those around him.
In relation to administering medications, seclusion is a tactic devised for those unwilling to proceed with instructions. Patients who are secluded due to aggressive behaviour should not be restrained to seclusion nor medication to calm them instead restraint measures should be taken into consideration. Other measures, such as behavioural therapy, should be considered when assessing the care of the patient.
Seclusion must only be used in the best interest of the patient, it must only be used as a last resort method, and it must not be prolonged as a form of punishment on the patient. In Ireland, The Mental Health Commission governs seclusion in psychiatric institutions. The act states that people can only be placed in seclusion if
- it prevents them from hurting themselves and/or others
- and it complies with the rules set out by the Commission.
People can go into voluntary seclusion to enjoy peace and quiet and possibly to pray.
In the film The Sound of Music, the character Maria went into seclusion to pray when she came back to the abbey, because she needed time alone after the baroness told her that Captain Von Trapp was in love with Maria, and Maria was going to be a nun.
- David M. Stoff; James Breiling; Jack D. Maser (1997). Handbook of antisocial behavior: David M. Stoff, James Breiling, and Jack D. Maser, editors. John Wiley and Sons. p. 448. ISBN 978-0-471-12452-8. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- Jean Morrissey; Jenm; Brian Keogh; Louise Doyle (2008). Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. Dekker. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7171-4459-4.
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