August 3rd, 2021

// The ‘Oliver Sacks of Law’ Shares 5 Riveting Case Stories of Clients Impacted by Chronic Loneliness

The ‘Oliver Sacks of Law’ Shares 5 Riveting Case Stories of Clients Impacted by Chronic Loneliness

Boston, MA, August 3, 2021 — The pandemic more than proved the importance of interpersonal connections. But even those with active social lives can feel profound loneliness. Why?

Social psychologist turned lawyer J. W. Freiberg deftly explores the very real pain of chronic loneliness in his new book, Surrounded By Others and Yet So Alone, the award-winning follow-up to his acclaimed book, Four Seasons of Loneliness, which discussed one side of the loneliness coin: the devastation caused by isolation. 

“The other half of chronically lonely people aren’t alone in the world,” Freiberg said. “It’s just that their relationships are so compromised, unfulfilling and un-soothing that they feel just as alone as totally isolated persons do.”

In Surrounded By Others and Yet So Alone, Freiberg turns to his trademark storytelling voice to relate five unique, deeply human tales from his law practice, this time to illustrate five “modes of misconnection” that can cause individuals to lead lives mired in chronic loneliness, despite being surrounded by mates, children, friends, colleagues, neighbors and teammates: 

• “The Girl Who Inherited France” illustrates what relationship instability feels like to a young child who loses her mother — and then almost loses her father; 

• “Three Souls Caught in a Spider’s Web” describes what happens when people are in a relationship for entirely different reasons; 

• “The Woman Who Was Never There” explores the explosive consequences of a fraudulent representation; 

• “The Boy Who Was Older Than His Parents” reveals what can happen when parents are too busy with other matters to really invest themselves in parenting; and 

• “Bread Should Not Taste like Kleenex” spotlights the difficult topic of spousal abuse.

Thought-provoking, moving and intriguing, Surrounded By Others and Yet So Alone is a vivid exploration into a world where “lonely” and “alone” are not one and the same. 

About the Author

J. W. Freiberg holds a Ph.D. from UCLA and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Surrounded By Others and Yet So Alone is part of his award-winning trilogy exploring the profound impacts of loneliness that also includes Four Seasons of Loneliness and Growing Up Lonely. He is also the author of Critical Sociology: European Perspectives; and The French Press. He served as Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston University before leaving academic life to attend law school. Freiberg practiced law at the crossroads of law and psychiatry, serving as General Counsel to many of Boston's largest, most prominent children's social service agencies, over a dozen adoption agencies, and scores of psychiatry, psychology and social work clinical practices. The case story format which Freiberg often uses earned him the label, “the Oliver Sacks of law.” He is a member in good standing of the Massachusetts bar and the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He serves as a Justice of the Peace for Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, near their children.

For more information, please visit

Surrounded by Others and Yet So Alone: A Lawyer’s Case Stories of Love, Loneliness, and Litigation 

Publisher: Philia Books, Ltd.

ISBN-10: ‎0997589949 

ISBN-13: ‎978-0997589948 

Available from



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