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Representation of Paul of Thebes, known in the Catholic and Coptic Church as the first saint to live a secluded life

Seclusion is the act of secluding (i.e. isolating from society), the state of being secluded, or a place that facilitates it (a secluded place). A person, couple, or larger group may go to a secluded place for privacy or peace and quiet. The seclusion of an individual is called solitude.

Restrictions on the seclusion of a man and a woman[edit]

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, may be forbidden to be together in a house, a bathroom, or a secluded place. 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[edit]

Seclusion may be used as a control tactic in psychological 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 them.

In relation to administering medications, seclusion is a tactic devised for non-compliant patients. Methods used to restrict the freedom of such patients include medication (including chemical restraint), physical restraint, and behavioral therapy.[1]

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. When it is otherwise used, it may be considered a form of solitary confinement. 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.[2]

To prevent contagious disease transmission self-isolation is used as a public health measure.


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Jean Morrissey; Jenm; Brian Keogh; Louise Doyle (2008). Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. Dekker. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7171-4459-4.