Afraid of Computer Technology? Now There is Help
By Marianne Baskin Gabriel Mejia, MA, LMFT
Know someone who is afraid of technology? Afraid of computers? Afraid of their Mac laptop computer? Has anxiety or shame when thinks computer, iphone, ipad, icloud? Give them the gift of “computer freedom”, self-empowerment, and the capacity to regulate and breathe.
This electronic age has come upon us so quickly, that some people have just missed it or feel that they have missed the first wave, and now it is hard for them to just jump on.
In these latter years of my life, I have met a number of people who are terrified of, or at least extremely anxious when even thinking about computers. They are usually intelligent, right brain people who have, along the way, developed an emotional block and enormous shame in this area.
I have always loved computers since the day I intuitively knew that I could work one, when the Mac 512, now an antique, was current. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t nearly bash in the face of one in frustration. Finally, someone told me one thing to do and from there, I took off. For me, I was able to intuit the process with minimal instruction; it probably helped that I started on Macs.
Almost right away, I could see the vision of what computers could do. Many years ago, when I inherited the newsletter for our therapist organization, it was still literally a cut-and-paste operation, on real paper with real glue and old-fashioned typewriters. So, I painstakingly transferred the process to the new computer technology, the Mac 512. From there, every newsletter editor who took the job made improvements. Finally, it was sent to professionals, because it did take a lot of work.
Since then, computers have come a long way. We now have email, Facebook, computer newsletters, Google, –so many resources and uses of computers and Internet. However, some of us are still scared of computers and their technology, while others of us are just lucky and have an affinity for working in this electronic arena.
Throughout the years, I learned to combine my left and right brain experiences with computers. When I get a new computer, I do a shamanic journey to the computer in order to learn the real name of its hard drive, and then I change its generic name to the name I just learned. In this way, I am able to connect on a right brain level. If something goes wrong, I may do a shamanic journey to see if I can fix it. Sometimes I just wake up in the morning and know what to try. I love computers and the many things they can do.
And now I am ready to help others use these marvelous, magical resources. I have developed a unique variety of techniques to help people with computer phobia attain “computer freedom”.
I use a combination of therapies, my own” bag of tricks”, to help overcome the computer phobia and change a person’s self-image. Shame turns to confidence and self-acceptance; fear turns to mastery and relief.
To formulate an individualized treatment plan, we start with traditional talk therapy. We review and start to explore any traumas or other history that may be triggering this reaction. We set an approximate number of sessions and talk about treatment options.
Next, we may add EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and/or shamanic journey to tap the deepest right brain fear, or simply go on to the desensitization process. This includes in-office hands-on computer instruction and guidance while monitoring and dealing with the emotional reactions and/or any negative ideas that may emerge. Shame is often a component and we work to change that.
I use the Mac (Apple) format because it is so intuitive and easy to guess. The client will need to bring their computer to my office for the instructional part of the treatment. I go at the client’s own pace and carefully talk about what the person is feeling in their body as well as their emotions and their mind.
When I first start to work with the client using the actual machine, I usually see fear and tension as the person approaches and so we may only go as far as turning on the computer and then turning it off. Going at the client’s own pace and being mindful of every reaction or judgment, I have my client scan their body and notice any physical changes as they are happening.
As we progress, we can spend longer times on the computer, and I often see my client’s body begin to let out the tension. The breath deepens and slows. The movement becomes more fluid. I always point this out to give my client the same sense of progress that I see. The client’s self image begins to change as the fear subsides.
As the client continues to lose her/his fear and obtain mastery of the computer process, I often see joy light up the face and the body relaxes and sighs in relief. At this point, we are on a roll and the process starts to actually be fun for both the client and myself. Yes, I get a lot of pleasure from seeing this progress, from seeing the intense fear and shame turn to joy and excitement and confidence. “I can do it!” or “I did it!” is a common and often surprised reaction at this stage.
Usually I continue to teach easy computer technique and to relate it to the client’s intuitive processing. I show the client how to problem solve and how to guess at a process. The client is learning that computers are manageable and that no one knows everything. I point out many ways to accomplish the same task.
If the client is open to shamanic journeying, I may suggest that the client journey to the computer to make friends with it.
I absolutely love helping people get over this phobia. It combines my love for the therapeutic process with my love for computers. I see quick progress with wonderful results. I see joy and confidence blossom in my clients as they master this former fear. When the treatment is finished, my clients usually feel a sense of mastery that they hadn’t thought possible. Their self-esteem rises with this self-empowerment, and the activity that once brought trauma now brings satisfaction, excitement and possibility. They have achieved “computer freedom”. This is how it should be.
Marianne Baskin Gabriel Mejia, LMFT has been in private practice in Santa Cruz County since 1986. Her practice is eclectic, drawing from self psychology, systems work, shamanic work, somatic awareness, mindfulness, EMDR and spirituality. She treats adults and couples dealing with life transitions, aging, trauma, anxiety, dissociative disorders, creativity and more. She sees clients in her Soquel office and through the Internet.
Good through October 15, 2012
10 sessions for $1000.00 prepaid*
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Marianne Baskin Gabriel Mejia, MA, LMFT