Psychologists explain why and how to cure 'telephone phobia'

With the pandemic of the new coronavirus, there is more interaction over the phone and calling apps than talking face-to-face, but some people have ' phone phobia ' who are extremely stressed by the phone . Dr. Ilham Sebah , Psychology Teaching Fellow at the Royal Holloway in the United Kingdom, explains why people get phone phobia and how they can overcome it.

Phone call anxiety: why so many of us have it, and how to get over it

Just because you hate the phone doesn't mean you have a phone phobia, but in recent years the number of people who hate the phone has been on the rise. A 2019 survey of British office workers found that 40% of baby boomers born after World War II and in the mid-1960s and 76% of millennials born in the early 1980s and mid-1990s. Answered, 'I feel uneasy when the phone rings.'

Telephone phobia refers to cases in which a specific symptom appears in response to a telephone call, especially among those who dislike telephone calls, and it seems that it is often seen in people with social anxiety disorder . Typical symptoms include feelings such as 'I am late or unable to answer the phone', 'I feel extreme anxiety and tension during and before and after the call', and 'I am obsessed with and worried about my remarks'. There are physical things such as 'nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness in response to a phone call' and 'increased heart rate'.

◆ Why do people get phone phobia?
Face-to-face conversation is communication that includes social cues such as gestures, body language, and eye contact, while telephone is communication that uses only voice as clues. As a result, even people who have no problem talking face-to-face may not be good at talking on the phone.

Also, face-to-face conversations aren't just focused on each other, they can be distracted by things like the surrounding environment, noise, and smartphone notifications. Being focused outside the other person can help you feel casual in the conversation, but on the phone there are no external factors other than the other person's voice that distract you, so you always feel like you're in the spotlight. It is said that it will end up.

Text message communication has become more common in recent years, and people with phone phobia tend to prefer text message communication, Sebah said. When exchanging text messages, you have time to think about the wording before replying, but since the phone communicates with the other party in real time, a slight silence tends to be awkward. In addition, you may find your reply impulsive and dangerous because you cannot see the 'previous interactions' on the phone before replying.

◆ How can I cure telephone phobia?
People with phone phobia will avoid calling as much as possible, but Sebah argues that the most effective way to overcome phone phobia is to 'answer more calls.' Telephone phobia may be associated with inexperience, so the more you communicate over the phone, the less anxious and confident you will be. This process starts with creating a 'list of people who need to talk on the phone', simulates the contents of the phone, and acknowledges himself when the call is over to maintain motivation.

Asking for professional help is also an option, and counseling and conversational therapy may help overcome telephone phobia, Sebah said.

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