Preparing for a Courageous Conversation

I’m seeing my psychologist today, and unfortunately, there’s something I need to say to him. Something happened at the end of our last session which needs to be addressed.

We’ve only been talking for a few months. We don’t see each other every week, but during our first session – a transition from his predecessor – I did make it clear that my name is very important to me (my actual name, that is!). I wrote it down for him, the correct spelling, in both long and short forms.

During the last few sessions, he’s been calling me the wrong name: my long name, the only I only use on forms. This annoyed me a bit, and then I corrected him, but still he kept doing it. I went away and thought about it, and decided that as I had made it clear what my name is and how much it means to me, and I had corrected him, so whenever he called me by the wrong name I would gently point it out to him using these words: “You can call me ___; that’s OK.” I thought that would be an appropriately mild yet succinct reminder.

As our last session was drawing to a close, he used the wrong name, and I spoke the above formulation. He snapped at me, with a briefly-glimpsed flash of his canines, “I can’t be expected to remember all those details.” I politely bid him goodbye, but actually I think he was rather rude, almost aggressive.

Of course, as timing would have it, I haven’t seen him for a fortnight, but I am going to begin our session today by saying that we need to talk about what happened at the end of last session. I don’t expect him to think it’s as important as I do, but I don’t feel that I can trust or feel comfortable with a man who pays so little attention to something so fundamental and so important to me.

I’m feeling apprehensive and anxious, alongside my determination. I don’t enjoy these conversations. However, I have been working on my self-respect, and I want others to respect me, too. I don’t think it’s too much to expect a psychologist to remember one’s preferred name after a few months. It’s not like he’s a checkout chick: we have a regular, meaningful relationship. He has to write my name on forms, for goodness’ sake! Maybe that’s part of the problem: he has to regularly write out my long name. Well, mate, it’s not too difficult to write yourself a cheat sheet. For goodness sake, write it on the back of your hand if you need to!

Do you think I’m being too precious? There’s still three hours before the appointment; I’m open to constructive criticism …

Preparing for CC

23 Comments

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23 responses to “Preparing for a Courageous Conversation

  1. Whoa, that is so not okay! Definitely have the conversation with him…his response was TOTALLY inappropriate for any social setting, much less therapy. Like, remembering what people want you to call them is a pretty basic social interaction and yes, you are expected to remember. It’s just a Thing You Have To Do.

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  2. I think what you are doing is important. Definitely keep up your self respect and point out that it’s important to you. I’m concerned about his response last time. Instead of apologizing and asking for patience while he remembers he was dismissive. Nope. Not on. Stay strong!

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  3. You should definitely do it. Good luck!

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  4. You definitely need to so this and can! Hold on to what is important to you and don’t ever let that go. Those little few things ate our foundation in this world.

    It’s especially important with our mental health professionals to not take those things from us.

    Good luck!! You can do this. Hold your ground, and have a cope ahead if it goes bad. Have am exit. You are in control of you and your care. You go girl!

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  5. Pingback: Lots of news this morning | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

  6. I completely agree with you! I have actually ran into similar issues with my name as well. I feel if knowing and pronouncing my name is not that important, then what should I think about “spilling my guts” to that same person. I’m glad that you are holding your ground!

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    • Thank you so much 🙂 Part of the journey for me has been coming to a place where I am prepared to hold my ground, out of respect and care for myself over a misplaced concern for the other person! Thanks again for your kind words.

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