Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 298675

Shown: posts 1 to 25 of 29. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Therapist first name basis

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

Is anyone on a first name basis with his/her therapist? I am not. I call him Dr. so and so. Is this the norm?

I like to see him as such an authority figure, I don't think I would care to use his first name.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by naiad on January 9, 2004, at 14:57:09

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

I call my therapsit by his first name. He is not a Dr. (phd or md)-- his degree is in social work. I don't think I could call him Mr. ___. Its not a matter of respect or anything but just got started that way.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by antigua on January 9, 2004, at 14:57:38

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

Yes, I call my therapist by her first name and always have.
antigua

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Penny on January 9, 2004, at 15:07:22

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

I called my former therapist (a social worker) by her first name. I call my current therapist Dr. So-and-so. I asked her recently what most of her patients call her - by her first name or by Dr. X, and she said that it depends on the patient but she is fine with either one, except when it comes to her young (teen-age) patients, and she prefers they call her Dr. X. I don't know why I started calling her Dr. X but just did. I may call her by her first name some day, but figure she worked hard for that Ph.D., she deserves the title!

P

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Penny

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 15:15:23

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis Miss Honeychurch, posted by Penny on January 9, 2004, at 15:07:22

Penny, I agree about the Phd title. I figure anyone who worked hard enough for one deserves the title.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by Karen_kay on January 9, 2004, at 15:18:44

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

I call mine by his first name unless of couse I am being rude or attempting to demean him in some way. Since he said from day one, "You can call me Bubba," if he says something I don't like or I find particularly hurtful (due to my own problems, not that he's doing anything wrong) then I try to use it as a vice to show him that "I'm not your friend, you are just a paid doctor to me!" Also, when I leave a message on voice mail I tend to use Dr. Such and Such because the voice mail message says Dr., but only if the message is to reschedule, not if it is of importance or emotional. Come to think of it, now that I reread that post, I'm pretty spiteful! :) Oh well, just another quirk I suppose!!!

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Elle2021 on January 9, 2004, at 15:29:38

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

> Is anyone on a first name basis with his/her therapist? I am not. I call him Dr. so and so. Is this the norm?

I call him Dr. X, but when he calls me on the phone, he says hi this is X (using his first name). I don't feel comfortable calling him by his first name, it feels weird.

Elle

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by lilmsbubbles07 on January 9, 2004, at 16:07:27

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

well with my old i was on a 1st name basis woth and my new i dont call her anything cus i dont like her ugh ugh i miss my old t lol

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Miss Honeychurch

Posted by crushedout on January 9, 2004, at 16:41:13

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

I call mine by her first name but she never said I could (I just didn't ask and went ahead and did it). She always referred to herself as either [her first name and last name] (usually) or Dr. [so-and-so]. But I just started calling her by her first name and eventually, she started calling herself that to me.

I imagine she's more comfortable on a first-name basis (I assume most people are nowadays unless maybe they're from the South or something) but that she uses "Dr." because it's professional and helps maintain boundaries. (I try to run over boundaries, as many of you know.)

The [first name last name] thing (or just using initials) always leaves me baffled because I don't know what they want to be called. It can be awkward to ask, too.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Poet on January 9, 2004, at 16:47:53

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

Mine's an SMW, and I always call her by her first name. Even if she was a PhD or MD, after awhile I would have tried the first name and see what the response was. My therapist did tell me I can call her by her nickname, but I like her actual first name better. I won't tell her that...

Poet

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Dinah on January 9, 2004, at 17:04:38

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

I don't call mine anything. It's an overall issue with me. I consider calling people by their first names to be an intimate and therefore rude thing, which I know intellectually is ridiculous and counter to reality in this day and age.

Oddly I don't have that problem in writing, or with last names.

My therapist tells me that when I say his name, he knows I'm about to say something that is really important to me.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by All Done on January 9, 2004, at 17:05:08

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

I call mine by his first name (he's not a Dr.), but it was and is a bit difficult for me. He has the same as my year and a half old son. In sessions, when I'm telling him about something I thought, sometimes I find myself trying to clarify who I'm talking about and I end up saying things like "my (insert name here)" to indicate *my* son. Funny though, sometimes I think, "aren't they *both* mine?" : ) Hehehe, I wish...

Also, when I mention anything about him or about my sessions to my husband or friends, it gets a little confusing.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by underthecs on January 9, 2004, at 21:11:36

In reply to Therapist first name basis, posted by Miss Honeychurch on January 9, 2004, at 14:45:44

Hmm... good question. I do the first name thing. I never asked. It just seemed more natural.

I understand wanting to see your therapist as an authority figure, but in my opinion using the "Dr." title is too formal and doesn't "fit" the relationship, and sometimes even serves to create distance and avoid (emotional) intimacy.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by Medusa on January 10, 2004, at 7:17:02

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by underthecs on January 9, 2004, at 21:11:36

I call my current therapist the equivalent of "Mrs." She's in training, but old enough that she could have a PhD in something or other, but hasn't mentioned it. She calls me "Mrs." as well, and I prefer that.

A previous therapist (in this country, where first names aren't as commonly used) used my first name, maybe not in speaking with me directly (I can't remember) but in talking about me, for example 'what Mother thinks about Medusa', and in sessions with my then-DH. I don't know if a patient has a chance to say something against that - I'd have felt insolent.

IIRC, with therapists in the U.S. it was first-names both ways, or I just didn't call them anything.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by cubic_me on January 10, 2004, at 8:23:53

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by Medusa on January 10, 2004, at 7:17:02

I've always used first names (I dont think she is a Dr or pHd). It just worked that way as she always put her first name on her appointment cards and called herself by her first name. I didnt even know her second name until she wrote to me - strange!

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by gardenergirl on January 11, 2004, at 11:07:04

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by cubic_me on January 10, 2004, at 8:23:53

Like Dinah, I tend to avoid calling him anything, but I do refer to him as Dr. That's how he refers to himself, and he never invited me to call him anything different. I think it would be really weird to call him by his first name.

That being said, my clients call me by my first name. One actually asked me if she should call me Mrs. [ ], which I immediately said no to. That would also seem weird to me. Don't know if I will go by Dr. when I am done with my degree, or just continue using my first name. I can see value to both. Perhaps I'll ask clients in the initial session what they would like to be called and what they would like to call me.

What do y'all think? Would this be helpful?

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by naiad on January 11, 2004, at 18:22:42

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by gardenergirl on January 11, 2004, at 11:07:04

Gardenergirl,

Good question! I think it helps to get that bit of awkwardness out of the way in the first session. If you say: Please call me _____, then that is one less detail for the client to worry about.

It is good to understand that therapists might be wondering about protocol, too.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by dragonfly25 on January 11, 2004, at 18:55:53

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by gardenergirl on January 11, 2004, at 11:07:04

i personally think using Dr is important. It keeps a boundry that is set and keeps an important distance between patient and doctor. as annoying as it may be, i think it is just out of respect to use and also for the patients own good. (just my opinion) i think the closer (which can mean foggy boundries) a patient gets to their therapist the worse off the patient might be...they become dependent etc. i hope that made sense. does anyone else agree...therapists with unclear boundries can be a problem?

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by Karen_kay on January 11, 2004, at 21:18:23

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by dragonfly25 on January 11, 2004, at 18:55:53

While I agree that unclear boundaries can be a problem, if I had to call my therapist Dr. Spock all the time, I would feel as if there was a real distance there. Almost as if he was very unapproachable. In my case, I keep him further than arms length as it is (in a distant state if possible), and by calling him Dr. Spock, that would only add to the distance. I can see the importance of keeping boundaries. But can't they be placed elsewhere?

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Karen_kay

Posted by dragonfly25 on January 11, 2004, at 23:14:15

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by Karen_kay on January 11, 2004, at 21:18:23

> While I agree that unclear boundaries can be a problem, if I had to call my therapist Dr. Spock all the time, I would feel as if there was a real distance there. Almost as if he was very unapproachable. In my case, I keep him further than arms length as it is (in a distant state if possible), and by calling him Dr. Spock, that would only add to the distance. I can see the importance of keeping boundaries. But can't they be placed elsewhere?

i guess they could
i had a terrible experience with a doctor that went by thier 1st name, maybe that is why i feel this way.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis dragonfly25

Posted by Karen_kay on January 11, 2004, at 23:55:14

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis Karen_kay, posted by dragonfly25 on January 11, 2004, at 23:14:15

I've never called an MD by his/her first name. But, I just couldn't imagine calling my therapist Dr.... I honestly think if I interviewed a therapist and s/he said, "You can call me Dr. Spock" and wouldn't allow me to call him/her by his/her first name I would not seek treatment with him/her. Some boundaries have to be flexible. Others must not be. This one I think should be depending upon the client.

I'm sorry you had a poor experience with a doctor. That's always bad.

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Karen_kay

Posted by Pfinstegg on January 12, 2004, at 21:10:27

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis dragonfly25, posted by Karen_kay on January 11, 2004, at 23:55:14

I don't call my therapist anything. Dr. --------- seems too formal, and his first name too intimate. So, it's just "hi", with a smile. He faithfully greets me with a smile, and though I found it awkward at first, now I see it as a way of mutually acknowledging that we have a real therapeutic relationship. He sometimes startles me by using MY first name, when he especially wants me to notice something that has happened either within me or between us.

On the Christmas card situation, I'm in the same situation as Miss Honeychurch. It was a personal card, with photos of my family, and an appreciative and grateful message from me- but not ONE WORD was ever said about it. I feel angry and let down about that- one more unpleasant thing to have to admit to!

Pfinstegg

 

Re: Therapist first name basis

Posted by Catmom on January 13, 2004, at 1:23:49

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis Karen_kay, posted by Pfinstegg on January 12, 2004, at 21:10:27

This is my first post here ever, so please be nice! I always call my therapist, who has an MD degreee, "Doctor R." (Actually I use her full name). She has, only once, called me by my first name and that, I think, was in a moment of exasperation. When she's had to call me for scheduling sessions, she asks for me by first name, although she could call me Mrs. R, Dr. T, ((I have a Ph.D) or Professor T. I don't feel that using my titles is important: I am on a first name basis with my students and they certainly are encouraged to use my first name too. BUT somehow in therapy this inegalitarian state seems OK.

I've had a couple of friends whose therapists never call them by name either.

 

Hi Catmom! Welcome to Babble. :) (nm)

Posted by Dinah on January 13, 2004, at 6:44:55

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis, posted by Catmom on January 13, 2004, at 1:23:49

 

Re: Therapist first name basis Pfinstegg

Posted by Karen_kay on January 13, 2004, at 8:22:24

In reply to Re: Therapist first name basis Karen_kay, posted by Pfinstegg on January 12, 2004, at 21:10:27

OUCH! My therapist thanked me several times for the cookies and kept going on and on about how good they were, though I know he was lying. He asked what king they were and I said chocolate hazelnut and he said they didn't taste too chocolatey-which was good. He said he's never had hazelnut before except in coffee and I said that I thought he didn't drink coffee and he said he does on occassion. Go figure. So, the encounter wasted about 5 minutes of my therapy time.
Again, my therapist never thanks me for cards. He puts them up in his office but never says thank you for them. If I bring them up, he'll talk about them, but only then.
Maybe it's a male thing???


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