Help My Cell Phone is Taking Over My Life; Using Solution Focused Techniques to Find My Balance

    Words with friends is taking over my life, article by ramona taylor  As I look at the leader board on “Words with Friends” and gloat over my high scores, I start to wonder if my phone use is becoming excessive. Rather than focusing on the problem, trivializing the problem, or shoulding myself;  I decided to use some solution focused techniques I have found effective in helping clients, to activate my creative juices and make positive changes in my life and relationships.

While this article focuses on my cell phone use, the principals are the same and can be applied to most problems. This article will break down the process into seven simple steps:

  1. Identify how the problem is problematic

  2. Recognize the problems as they point to what I value

  3. Identify times when the problem is not a problem or it is less problematic, what was different?

  4. Describe what would be different when the problem is no longer a problem ( in therapy this is sometimes called the “miracle question”)   the miracle question

  5. List small ways you have already seen some of those differences, (glimpses of the miracle)?

  6. Identify ways that could help you move closer to the miracle state.  

  7. Chose one likely thing that you could do (or keep doing) this week that would bring you closer to the miracle.

Here is what it looks like:

  1.  How is my using cell phone a problem:

    1. When I pick up my phone in the morning I find myself getting sucked into working, or playing games,  I end up checking my e-mails and before I know it my morning time is gone I miss working out, journaling, and doing stuff around the house
    2. The National Sleep Foundation of America associated cell phone use an hour before bedtime with sleep problems.  I often use  my phone in bed to help me “wind down”  and  sometimes the notification alert will sound and distract me from sleep as well (oops!).
    3. When I visit with my mom who has no media access,  I look stuff up on my phone and sometimes get absorbed in researching a question rather than having a nice conversation
  2. How do these problems help me see what I value:

    1. I want to take care of myself, my home, and have fun and I value work.  Getting a good start in the morning is also important
    2. Sleep is important to me, staying connected is also important
    3. I want to be helpful to my mom, and I want to have nice conversations with her
  3. When is the problem not a problem?

    1. Checking messages for work
    2. Using my phone while commuting or short periods of time
    3. Using my phone to schedule,
    4. Checking prices while I am shopping at thrift stores
    5. Taking calls, texting
    6. When my phone is not charged
  4. When the problem is not a problem what will it look like?
    1. I will wake up listen to the radio, work out, journal and do the dishes
    2. I will read, have tea, play cards or have other “face time” an hour before bedtime; I will sleep easier and feel closer my family.
    3. I will enjoy engaging I conversation with my mom, speculating on answers to questions and not feeling like I need to have immediate answers from the net *tea by candlelight
  5.  Have I already seen glimpses of the miracle? (what was it that I did differently)

    1. Yes before I had internet access and aps on my phone, I had to wait to go on line, or someone else would look it up (which interestingly seemed to be a conversation stopper).
    2. When my phone is not charged in the morning,  I spend time doing what I need to do
    3. When I  do morning walks with my neighbor  network not working
  6. What else could I do or keep doing

    1. I could wait till morning to charge my phone
    2. I could start walking with my neighbor again
    3. I could have black out nights where my husband and I read to each other or play cards
    4. I could leave my phone in the car when I visit my mom
  7. What one thing can I do this week?

    1. I will move my charger out of the bedroom so that I will not have access to it first thing in the morning.
*This is an example of problem focused thinking (what I don’t want, what I won’t see, what I won’t do what won’t be there).   I stated what I would not be feeling.   Instead I should ask myself, “If I am not feeling like I need to have immediate answers from the net; what would I be feeling instead?”    I would feel like exploring the question, possible answers, speculating, and be ok with the unanswered question,
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Ramona Taylor, M.A. LMFT a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT97652)


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embrace 1Many people are surprised to find that they begin to notice positive changes from the moment they make their appointment. As a Marriage & Family Therapist registered intern, I pull from a wide range of treatment modalities to create a treatment plan that will benefit each individual client. As former teacher I carry with me the desire to teach myself out of a job. So, along with effective individualized treatment, I make it my goal to teach clients to use what they learn in session, where it counts: in their everyday lives.   I see couples, families, children, young adults and teens. I have varied hours of availability, including late afternoons, early mornings at The Inland Integrated Wellness Center. Our office is located in the historic district of Corona about 1 mile South of the 91FWY :
817 West Grand Blvd (map)
at the Inland Integrated Wellness Center.
Please feel free to view the pages of my website or call the office toll free at
(888) 634-6999 ext 16 if you would like more information or would like to start therapy.
Often same day appointments are available so why wait healing can start today!

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