Do You Suffer From Technophobia?

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 12, Number 7

The dog days of summer are upon us. July has brought us heat, rain, and more rain. While many people are on vacation, there are those parents who are counting the days until their children are back in school. In our office, we continue to be busy providing therapy and evaluations. People are frustrated, scared, and angry. We constantly hear comments about the state of our government, no matter what political party they belong to, and worries about what lay ahead. The media, in addition, appears relentless in providing sensational and often dire predictions even though they are usually wrong. The result for many people is feelings of powerlessness and depression. It is important in these days to be aware of how you are feeling and find ways to cope with stress. We suggest that you be aware of your emotional state, limit the amount of news you receive, and practice stress reducing exercises. If need be, seek out a therapist to help and support you.

Our July E-Letter asks Do You Suffer From Technophobia? Dr. K’s blog continues with its tenth installment and our email of the month is about the History of Common Sayings. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous positive and heartfelt comments we have received.

Practice News

Low Cost Therapy. We are now able to provide lower cost therapy. Tara Passaretti, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Board Certified Counselor who has extensive experience working with children and families in private practice and in the court system. As a new associate, she is able to provide counseling at a much lower fee. If you are in need of a therapist but do not have insurance or are unable to afford the high copays, Tara would be willing to see you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our office at 954 755-2885.

Testings. If you are concerned about your child’s placement in school next year, the summer is an excellent time to have them evaluated. Typical parent questions have ranged from is their child gifted to whether they have a disability that can qualify for accommodations at their school. Our practice does the different types of evaluations to help answer those questions. Information regarding the tests can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel or Paul Dolnick.

Support groups. Our ongoing weekly therapy groups have been quite successful and have been running for well over two years. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. This confidential group is educational and supportive and is limited to 8 people.

Benefits of these groups include significant cost reduction, time effectiveness, and the support and understanding of other members experiencing similar issues. If you or a family member would like to participate in either of these groups, please contact Jillian in our office at 954 755-2885.

Downloads of handouts from our previous E-Letters can be found on our website, We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Our world has become increasingly dependent upon technology giving rise to a condition known as technophobia. Although not new, technophobia refers to a consistent and persistent fear of anything technological. It refers to feeling severely anxious about technology. Today, this basically refers to a fear of computers, cellphones, tablets, and any smart devices. Paradoxically, technology is meant to make our life easier but it actually complicates it further. We sometimes have steep learning curves that require us to learn how to use these more complicated devices.

Historically, technophobia became important during the Industrial Revolution when machines began to replace workers. In 1675, a group of weavers destroyed looms that replaced their jobs. In 1811, a group of anti-technology British artisans, the Luddites, destroyed knitting frames and threatened riots. Films and the media have also added to people’s fear of technology. Films such as Frankenstein, the Terminator series, Metropolis, Modern Times, Blade Runner, The Matrix, and The Day The Earth Stood Still among others have led to a perception of a bleak future where machines threaten or control mankind.

Today, people who have technophobia feel anxious or even panicky when faced with using new devices such as computers, cell phones, smart televisions, tablets, or even ATMs. They have self-doubt and tend to avoid these machines, depending on others to use them. They may feel overwhelmed and resist learning what they think are complex instructions. The avoidance of using technology gives them a sense of relief which actually reinforces the avoidance response.

But what is it really that makes people feel anxious? There appears to be no specific cause for technophobia although there are several theories. Often, people have a fear of change and not being able to handle the new. Technology which is constantly changing requires the learning of new instructions and doing processes differently. While the younger generations appear adept at this, many in the older generation resist change, creating a great divide. Sometimes, past unresolved emotional issues can trigger current fears. Personality factors such as low self-esteem and insecurity can also cause people to avoid anything new that might be seen as threatening. Finally, past traumatic experiences with technology such as identity theft can cause avoidance and withdrawal.

Symptoms of technophobia include avoidance or reluctance to use technology, an unwillingness to learn or update one’s knowledge of technological devices, criticizing new technology, or using rationalizations such as: I have gotten by so far without technology and I can get by without it”. Physical symptoms of anxiety include dizziness, heart palpitations, fuzzy thinking, feeling detached, fear of losing control, and a shortness of breath.

The best way to overcome technophobia is to view it as an anxiety disorder. It is important to accept that one has a phobia of technology and admit that this is a problem. Stress reduction techniques, exercise, and changing irrational beliefs to positive ones can be very helpful. Knowledge of the technology from instruction by tech-savvy individuals or by video tutorials can greatly help reduce the fear. Educating oneself slowly and taking baby steps can lead to success. Finally, cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful in overcoming resistance to change and understanding the benefits of technology.

We offer the following information on Do You Suffer From Technophobia?

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded
our humanity — Albert Einstein


  • Technophobia is a term coined in the last 15 to 20 years to describe a consistent and persistent fear of advanced technology especially computers and cell phones
  • It is characterized by severe anxiety related to anything technological
  • A phobia of technology can be very limiting and cause people to shy away from the use of computers, cell phones, and smart appliances which are a mainstay of our lives
  • Technophobia became important in the Industrial Revolution when machines replaced skilled workers; in 1675 weavers destroyed machines that replaced their jobs
  • Technology causes rapid changes in everything in our lives: our work, our social lives, our communications, our health, etc. Nothing is unaffected by technology
  • Technological change occurs rapidly followed by quick acceptance by our culture
  • Change, especially rapid and new, can lead to anxiety, insecurity, and a loss of control
  • As technology advances with new apps and breakthroughs, irrational fears increase
  • Anxiety can be heightened by the media and films such as the Terminator, Metropolis, Frankenstein, Modern Times, I, Robot, etc.
  • Technophobes tend to fear/panic using technological devices because they think they may be too complicated and the instructions too difficult to follow
  • For the older generation, not being able to use computers and electronics like their children or grandchildren can lead to low self-esteem, self-doubts, and avoidance
  • Behavioral symptoms of technophobia include:
  • avoidance of and/or reluctance to use computers, ATMs, cell phones etc.
  • unwillingness to update one’s knowledge of technological devices
  • criticizing new technology
  • Physical symptoms include dizziness, heart palpitations, fuzzy thinking, feeling detached, fear of losing control, shortness of breath
  • The gap, often by age, between technophobes and technolovers increases as technology advances and becomes more difficult to understand
  • People often become more dependent upon technology as it becomes more complex; they simply follow instructions rather than critically thinking things out
  • While technology tends to make our lives easier, it may actually complicate them as the devices can be more complicated and harder to learn
  • Causes of technophobia include unresolved past emotional issues, low self-esteem, negative or painful experiences with technology, and a general fear of change

  • Admit to being a technophobe and recognize that this is a problem
  • Commit to accepting change and learning how to use new technology
  • Educate yourself by taking a class, watching youtube tutorials, using search engines
  • Use stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing when anxious
  • Recognize irrational thinking and change to more rational thoughts
  • Seek professional help if you find yourself unable to overcome your technology anxiety

Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067

Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

Dr. K’s Blog

July 20, 2017
It is now ten months from the day my wife passed. I think about last year at this time when we were planning to celebrate our anniversary on a trip to Oregon and Washington. Instead, we spent those days at Holy Cross Hospital hoping that she would recover from her illness. What a terrible time. She was so full of life one year ago and so excited to be going on vacation and yet in a few short weeks, she would pass.

I am filled with so many emotions and think I am coping better than I have before. I continue to keep busy at work which helps greatly. Maybe I am just getting used to being alone. I am trying to see her passing differently in terms that she did not suffer long, that she did not have to live on a ventilator, that she had a wonderful life, and that she was loved by many, many people. This helps and maybe it is a part of the grieving process. I know the next six weeks will be tough but my family and I will make it through because what choice do we have?

I miss her greatly and often find myself wanting to tell her things that have happened to me or experiences that I would ordinarily share with her. But she is not there. I tell her anyhow. I frequently hear from her friends who are also grieving and have a difficult time accepting her loss. They miss her and somehow I think their telling me this helps them. I still feel her presence at times which is comforting but her absence is huge to me. I am often asked how am I doing and what does one say?

I tell them I just keep going on.

June 20, 2017
This month marks the ninth month since my wife has passed. I still find it hard to believe that she is gone. I think of her frequently and remember many of the great moments we had together. I still expect her to be home when I get home or to pick up the phone and hear her voice. Some days I think I am getting closer to acceptance and other times, it is as painful as the first day.

This is the time of the year when we planned our vacation. I always looked forward to traveling with her which we did every year since we got married. Now vacationing doesn’t really interest me. I do not want to travel by myself yet there is no one I want to go anywhere with. I will visit others but do not look forward to going on any adventure vacations we used to have, by myself. I am sure I will come up with something.

I continue to take yoga classes and feel her presence especially when I let go. There are times at home when I let myself relax and be open that I also feel her presence. I can’t describe it and it is not in words but somehow I know she is there. I am sure she is visiting me and I feel great comfort when this happens. Yet I know that I still have great hurt. I hope that it will heal in time.

May 20, 2017
This is a hard entry to write.

It was a difficult month for me as my wife’s absence was highlighted due to several events.
I was out of the country for two and one-half weeks. Before I left, I did all the preparing and packing. But, we used to do it together. I would usually bring home a present for her but not this time. And when I got home, she wasn’t there for me to share my experiences. I just missed her more.

This was also the first Mother’s Day without her. Again, I could not make it special for her. She was on my mind all day. This was difficult for my children which made it even more difficult for me. Not only do I hurt but so do they and we all miss her.

We also had a Bat Mitzvah to attend. This was the first family event without her and she was missed by all. It just didn’t seem the same without her. How does one participate in a joyous moment when they are grieving?

Finally, the school where my wife opened, developed, and ran the Media Center held a dedication for her. They named the library after her and posted her picture and her favorite quote above the entrance. Colleagues she worked with and former students shared their memories of her. My family and I endowed a legacy award to be given each year in her name to a student who loves to read. The dedication was beautiful and it was very significant to hear how she affected the lives of so many and the future of her students. She would be happy to know that many of her students love books and love to read all because of her love for reading. Her presence was everywhere.

So I have great pride but it is mixed with missing her greatly.

April 17, 2017
I don’t know if time really does help but the pain is not as intense or as frequent. There are moments of intensity where I really miss Jill but they are less frequent. Maybe I am just coming to terms with her being gone. Maybe it’s what we call resilience. Or maybe I am just used to being alone.

Do I miss her? Yes greatly. But not as desperately as before. I think I am just getting used to being on my own. Spring has brought many firsts. For the first time in fifty years, she was not at our Seders. She is not here to plan our summer trips. She is not here to celebrate the birthdays.

But I believe she is with us in spirit. In fact, I don’t know how to explain this, but I have felt her presence. I cannot put it into words as it is just a feeling but I do believe she is with me and that I feel comforting. I miss her greatly but I am determined to go on for myself, for my children, for my extended family, and for my patients. She would want nothing less.

March 20, 2017
First, I would like to thank all of you who read this blog and have been moved to reach out to me. People who I have not seen or spoken to in decades have sent me their heartfelt wishes and their personal memories of my wife. She had a great, beautiful impact on people and she truly had a well lived life.

I question myself sometimes whether I should put my personal experiences out there yet I hope that by reading what I am going through, others can be helped. Our society does not prepare us to deal with the death of loved ones. So in some small way, maybe I can help.

As time passes, the grieving continues. It has changed a bit but there are moments which are still very difficult. The most difficult part now of the grieving process is the loneliness. It is over six months now and I still have difficulty in accepting that she is gone. I still expect her to walk through the door or see her curled up in her favorite position reading a book. But I painfully know that will never happen again.

The house is big and empty without her. I find myself filling my time with chores just to keep busy but when I am alone, it hurts. I miss her and our lives together. I feel so powerless that I cannot bring back those days. We think we are in so much control of our lives. And we are for some things, but for the most part, we are not. We just have to accept what is and what will be. Accepting what you don’t want to accept is quite a struggle.

I am dealing with the loneliness by being with friends, taking a yoga class, and seeing my son and daughter. Yet there are always those moments where it truly hurts; words cannot describe it. But what else is there to do? I have been told by others who have lost loved ones that with time, it will get better. I hope they are right.

February 20, 2017
I wish I could say that it has gotten easier but it hasn’t. Another month has passed and the hurt remains as strong as it has ever been. This month brought the first Valentine’s Day without my wife and my daughter’s first birthday without her. I now realize that there will be many, many “firsts” most of which will be painful.

It is still so hard to believe that I will never look into my wife’s eyes again. Never kiss her or touch her like I always did. Never hear her advice or support again. How does one accept never, especially when you don’t want to?

I go out a little bit more. I see friends for dinner but for the most part, the evenings remain empty. The house also feels empty. My life is different. What I thought was important before is much less so if at all. Death changes your perspective but you cannot give in or give up. I continue to work and feel the satisfaction of helping others figure out their lives.

I am fortunate to have friends who keep in touch to see how I am. I am fortunate to have children who despite their own grief, check in with me. I am fortunate to have had 50 wonderful years with my wife.

So I try to count my blessings.

I now believe that the only thing that will help me in this grieving process is just the passing of time.

January 20, 2017
It is now four months since my wife has passed and I can’t say that it has gotten any easier. I have gotten busier and in that sense, I have been preoccupied and am not dwelling on the sense of loss. But those moments when I am alone and are not doing anything are the most difficult moments. Friends have called me and invited me to make sure I am busy but you always have moments of aloneness which still hurt. I rationally know that my wife is gone but I still haven’t accepted it nor do I want to. My life is different. I am different. And it will never be the same.

I don’t know how long it will take, if ever, to heal from this grief. People constantly ask me how am I doing and I find it a very hard question to answer. I know they mean well and are interested but what do you say. I am doing fine? I am not doing well? I am really just doing okay and keeping busy. That is probably the best I can say right now.

Everywhere are constant reminders of the life I used to have. Some are poignant and other very sad. We dedicated the new office in my wife’s memory and seeing her picture gives me the feeling that she is with me all day long. I am glad we did that.

I also went to the cemetery with my daughter and it was emotionally, one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Yet when we left I felt some comfort.

I think my period of grieving will be over when I can truly accept that my wife has gone and that she had a wonderful life. I hope I can do that one day.

December 19, 2016
Another month has gone by and it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, the holidays highlight the emptiness and the loss. These are very difficult times and the powerlessness of not being able to change what happened is overwhelming. Keeping busy helps as it distracts from the grief yet even around people I feel alone. I grapple with acceptance and I am not there yet and probably won’t be for a long, long time.

I also realize that I have changed. No longer do I have my best friend to travel with, to talk to, to learn from, and to share my private thoughts. My wife and I grew up and grew together and we shared many, many wonderful experiences. Now those experiences are over and all I have left are the memories and the possessions. Yes, my children are wonderful and we have a very good relationship. But they too have their own grief to deal with.

I have found that death is the hardest part of life. Rationally, I understand that we will all pass at some time. But are we ever prepared for it? I give thanks that my wife did not suffer long; that is a blessing in itself. But I miss her.

I have learned that despite all we control in our life, we are never really in control of what matters the most. I am glad that we had such a close and warm relationship yet, precisely because of this, it hurts now that she has passed.

November 21, 2016
It is now 2½ months since my wife died and the transition to acceptance is extremely difficult. Cognitively, it sounds like an easy task. But emotionally, it is one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever faced in my life. I have spoken with others who have lost loved ones who seem to be the only ones who can understand what I am going through. They know the depths of emptiness and loneliness that one can only experience when one loses one’s partner. It is almost like a club of grievers who never ever really stop grieving. They just seem to put it aside to go on with their lives for the sake of themselves and others. They say that it gets better but the pain never leaves.

How does one go from sharing everything with another to being alone? Things we were going to do, places we were going to travel to, renovations to the house, movies we were going to see, friends we were going to visit, and new experiences we were going to learn from are now all gone. They have to be done by me alone and yes I will do some of these but it is not the same. Ideas that I usually bounced off my wife or opinions where I needed her input now have to be decided only by me or by family and friends.

Everything has changed internally since I am now a “me” and not a “we”.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it has always been a family holiday for us. Yes I will be with my adult children but our loss will be paramount. As we always do, we will give thanks for our health and everything we have in life. We will also give thanks for having had my wife in our lives for as long as we had her. We will also give thanks that she is suffering no longer and we will remember her joy, her wit, her love for people, animals, and books, and her love for us.

Email of the Month

We would like to thank Steve K. for the following email:

History of Common Sayings

A SHOT OF WHISKEY: In the old west a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a “shot” of whiskey.

THE WHOLE NINE YARDS: American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.

BUYING THE FARM: During WW1 soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm so if you died you “bought the farm” for your survivors.

IRON CLAD CONTRACT: This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.

PASSING THE BUCK / THE BUCK STOPS HERE: Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it was common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the Knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn’t want to deal he would “pass the buck” to the next player. If that player accepted then “the buck stopped there”.

RIFF RAFF: The Mississippi River was the main way of traveling from north to south. Riverboats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so most people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a “riff” and this transposed into riff-raff, meaning low class.

COBWEB: The Old English word for “spider” was “cob”.

SHIP STATE ROOMS: Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states. To this day cabins on ships are called staterooms.

SLEEP TIGHT: Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame in a crisscross pattern. A straw mattress was then put on top of the ropes. Over time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night’s sleep.

SHOWBOAT: These were floating theaters built on a barge that was pushed by a steamboat. These played small towns along the Mississippi River. Unlike the boat shown in the movie “Showboat” these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the party is showboating”.

OVER A BARREL: In the days before CPR a drowning victim would be placed face down over a barrel and the barrel would be rolled back and forth in an effort to empty the lungs of water. It was rarely effective. If you are over a barrel you are in deep trouble.

BARGE IN: Heavy freight was moved along the Mississippi in large barges pushed by steamboats. These were hard to control and would sometimes swing into piers or other boats. People would say they “barged in”.

HOGWASH: Steamboats carried both people and animals. Since pigs smelled so bad they would be washed before being put on board. The mud and other filth that was washed off were considered useless “hog wash”.

CURFEW: The word “curfew” comes from the French phrase “couvre-feu”, which means “cover the fire”. It was used to describe the time of blowing out all lamps and candles. It was later adopted into Middle English as “curfeu”, which later became the modern “curfew”. In the early American colonies homes had no real fireplaces so a fire was built in the center of the room. In order to make sure a fire did not get out of control during the night it was required that, by an agreed upon time, all fires would be covered with a clay pot called-a “curfew”.

BARRELS OF OIL: When the first oil wells were drilled they had made no provision for storing the liquid so they used water barrels. That is why, to this day, we speak of barrels of oil rather than gallons.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: As the paper goes through the rotary printing press friction causes it to heat up. Therefore, if you grab the paper right off the press it is hot. The expression means to get immediate Information

Till August…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.