How Cell Phones Are Changing the Therapist-Patient Relationship, written by a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, reviews what we all know about the pervasive and potentially intrusive use of cell phones by our patients. He goes on to analyze several aspects of phone use during appointments.
He analyzes what the selection of ring tones and the choice of whether to answer calls during therapy appointments may reveal about his patients. He notes that phones may be used as a defense against intimacy with the therapist, such as when a patient suddenly pulls out a phone to check for messages after hearing a challenging or difficulty comment from the therapist. He also finds that cell phones can help patients connect with their therapist, such as by showing pictures on the phone or discussing messages received on by text or email and sharing them with the therapist via the phone (this is common, in my experience.
He also discusses potential options for how the therapist can respond; his take is to allow patients to use their phones during their appointments and, in particular, to allow them the share their life with him by sharing using their phone.