• Clare O'Brien


Do you have the courage to turn your phone off?
Do you have the courage to turn your phone off?

All devices have an off button. Do you have the courage to use it?

I wouldn’t want to live without my mobile phone. It’s with me every day and I use it every day. I feel a sense of panic if I think I have left it somewhere. I don’t just want my phone I need it because I can’t recall anyone’s telephone number without it.

I once paid £150 to have my phone returned to me after I left it in a hotel safe while on holiday in South Africa. The phone wasn’t worth that but to me the telephone numbers were.

No the numbers weren’t backed up on any cloud!

When I first began working as a Counsellor, phones in the counselling room weren’t an issue. Clearly over the years this has changed. Sessions have been interrupted by parents, children, friends, work, banks, PPI, and wrong numbers.

Today many people switch off their phone once in the room. If a phone does ring I politely ask them to switch it off while acknowledging the importance of their uninterrupted time.

There’s a difference between vibrate, silent and off.

A client may say their phone is off however when the phone begins to vibrate whether it be on the desk, in their pocket or in their bag it’s an interruption. If that was my phone I’d be thinking “Who’s that?”

There are times a client will clearly state they need to keep their phone switched on as they may receive a call regarding a sick relative. That’s fine; I understand life does not stop just because you’ve entered the counselling room.

I was once in the counselling room and a phone started ringing. I was looking at the client, the client was looking at me, then I realised it was MY phone that was ringing. I’d forgotten to put it on silent!

· When the phone is on silent all we need to do is glance at it to see if there has been any calls, texts, or notifications.

That is different from having the phone switched off.

I recently began asking clients if they ever switch their phones off. I’ve been amazed to learn that most people keep their phones switched on twenty-four hours a day and it’s not unusual for them to check their phones during the night. The very suggestion of switching their phone off causes anxiety.

If we allow ourselves to be available twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year we are at risk of burn out.

Mobile phones can cause:

· Anxiety

· Sleep disturbance

· Relationship stress

· Depression

· Reduced attention

· Reduced productivity

I’m aware they can also help with each of these issues. So what’s the answer?

We all have to decide for ourselves. It’s important to remember who the boss is, you are, not your phone!


· What reactions do you have at the thought of switching your mobile off?

· Could you switch it off for one hour per day?

· What would happen if you did switch your phone off?

If you’d like to discuss any of these issues give me a call, although I can’t promise the phone will be switched on!!

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