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It is no secret that lots of people hate talking on the phone. In today’s world, most people would rather reply to a text than make a phone call. This is usually because most people feel some anxiety about talking on the phone. As people who enjoy solitude and deep one-on-one conversations, this idea of phone call anxiety gets taken up a notch when you’re an introvert. Phone calls can feel anxiety-inducing, stressful, and exhausting when you have a more introverted personality. From the intrusive ringing to the annoying chit-chat, most introverts straight-up hate phone calls.
Talking with a friend or telemarketer on the phone is one thing, but sharing your mental health struggles via phone is a whole other ball game. While introverts were able to get help with in-person therapy sessions for the longest time, the pandemic sadly changed all that by forcing many people to switch to phone therapy sessions, instead.
As if therapy sessions are not stressful enough, adding the anxiety of a phone call to it can make it feel all the worse. As this idea of phone therapy doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, here are a few tips to help you survive your next therapy session.
When you go to your therapist’s office, there’s usually a comfy couch or chair for you to sit on. So, the same rules should apply with a phone therapy session at home. Find a space where you feel comfortable, whether that be your bed, the couch or a chair. Make sure you have everything you need – tissues, a warm drink, warm socks or anything else that helps you get comfortable.
When you go to your therapist’s office, there’s usually a comfy couch or chair for you to sit on. So, the same rules should apply with a phone therapy session at home. Find a space where you feel comfortable, whether it’s your bed, the couch or a chair. Make sure you have everything you need – tissues, a warm drink, warm socks or anything else that helps you get comfortable. Chances are, if you feel comfortable, the phone call may feel a little less dreadful.
When diving into heavy topics related to your mental health, it’s important to keep your therapy session between you and your therapist. Even if you can’t talk about your problems in a confidential counselling office right now, it’s still good to find a quiet space, far away from your mom, your annoying kid brother, or your nosy roommates. This could be your bedroom or another room that nobody’s using like a garage or attic. You could also try to schedule therapy sessions when you know nobody will be home or even taking the call outside of the house, like a park or quiet coffee shop.
While phone calls are often stressful for introverts, sometimes holding up the phone to your ear can add to the stress. This is because sometimes holding your phone this way can make you feel trapped, uncomfortable or awkward. So, if it feels right for you, talk to your therapist either on speaker or with headphones.
When it’s time for phone therapy, turn off your phone notifications, hold off checking other apps and do what you can to avoid distractions. Even though checking social media or playing a game on your phone sounds way more fun than unpacking tough topics with your therapist, try your best to stay focused during your phone call. That being said, though, some introverts like multitasking with fun activities during phone calls to keep busy and lower that phone anxiety. Some activities you can try include drawing, doodling, colouring, cooking, playing with the dog, or doing a puzzle. As long as you’re still listening to what your therapist is saying and adding to the conversation, then you’re good to go.
Honestly? Phone therapy is awkward for everybody at first. Whether you have been seeing the same therapist for years or are starting with a brand new person, it can be hard in the beginning when you’re not face-to-face. It can be a slow process to build up that relationship with your therapist, so give it time. Keep trying because eventually, it will get easier.
When you’re in a face-to-face therapy session, your therapist can pick up on everything you’re doing – the words you’re saying, your facial expressions, your body language. Sadly, with phone therapy, it doesn’t work that way. Because of this, you might need to get more specific with how you’re feeling. Rather than just saying, “I’m feeling tired,” you could say, “I’m feeling exhausted and burnt out.” It takes some practice, but when you get specific with your emotions, it can help your therapist help you better.
Both therapy sessions and phone calls are not easy. In fact, they can be mentally draining and exhausting. That’s why it’s so important to have something to look forward to post-phone therapy. Whether you watch an episode of a TV show you love, snack on some chocolate, or go for a walk, practice loving and rewarding yourself with some proper self-care.
Phone therapy is a stressful rollercoaster at times full of dread and anxiety for many introverts. Phone therapy can never replace in-person therapy, but with these survival tips, you will be able to get through your next phone appointment in one piece.
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