Skip to main content

I read a professional psychotherapy article today, written with the therapist in mind as the audience, which discouraged being on a first-name basis with clients. It was theorized that this would lead to boundary-relaxing problems. That surprised me because I have always been on a first-name basis with my own T. I don't think I would like it any other way. My son, however, goes to a psychologist whom we address as "Dr.", I guess because of his doctoral degree. But I don't like it because it seems too formal for such intimate discussions. So now I am wondering about the rest of you.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

With regard to my oldT... for the first year I would call him Dr.X because of his degree. Then after about a year he sent me an email and signed his first name only. So I introduced the subject of names and he said since we were in a long-term relationship and since we knew each other well, it would be better to use first names. It took me a long time to call him by his first name.

With NewT he immediately told me to call him by his first name because he wanted the relationship to be more balanced. He does not like the use of titles, even though he has one.

TN
Hi MH,

Interesting topic. My T calls himself by his first name when he calls me on the phone but his secretary always calls him Dr. X. I would like to call him by his first name but call him Dr. X. He calls me by my first name.

My last T called herself Dr. X but I always thought of her by her first name in my head.

Wierd, huh?
I've been in T for almost a year now and I still don't know if I can call my T by her first name or not. I don't think we ever use each others names. I did write her a few e-mails here and there and I addressed them to Dr. XXX but she responded with her e-mail stamp thing so I really don't know. We've never talked about it. I use her first name when I talk about going to see her though. I feel like we should be on a first name basis with all the stuff I tell her!
It's funny because I've been thinking about this lately. I have always called my T by her first name as long as I can remember.

However, when I reconnected with her a few months ago after 16 years apart, I noticed that her voicemail says, "Hi, this is Dr. ****....." and that is also how she answers her phone when I call her for our sessions. But I still call her by her first name any way. She's never told me not to. Maybe I should ask her what she prefers. She signs her emails with her initials or her first name.
I dug up this old thread because I have recently come across the issue of addressing each other in my search for a new T/P.

After 3 sessions with Dr.B he offered to refer me to a female psychologist. Although I have a certain respect for Dr.B, he is too cold and distant for me. He even refuses to shake hands with his clients, which just further validates my mental self-concept of being poisonous or demonic, like old T made me feel when she terminated me. In his case, ALL clients always calls him Doctor, but I do not recall him ever calling me anything.

My first session with the female P (which requires a 90-minute drive one way) began with her identification as Dr.S, while she addressed me by my first name. I was annoyed by this and would like to know if anyone else is also bothered by such a practice. It just seems arrogant and condescending for her to expect to be addressed with a formal title and yet assume that I am okay with her addressing me informally. I may not be a doctor, but if she wants to be formal then why not also call me Mrs.Hatter? I didn't say she could call me by my first name. What if I just start calling her by her first name, I wonder if she will say anything about it.

Yes, I know what she would think, that I am being difficult and antagonistic. I admit I feel this way. I am on a mission to scrutinize everything before I trust again.
The first times I saw T were in H's sessions, so I don't think T ever formally introduced himself. I know he's fine with being called anything. I cannot even say his name, only write it in an email, even Dr. (Last Name Initial) which is how I talk about him to H, etc. But a couple of CPs call him Dr. (First Name). One part has called him Captain Obvious a few times. I have heard other clients call him my his first name, no title, and when we have talked about what I might call him, he has referred to himself as either just his first name or Dr. (Last Name Initial), or other similar sounding things, because his name sounds similar to a word that means "crazy," to make fun of himself.

Yeah, I might be kind of put off by a T insisting on titles and then using my name, unless I had introduced myself (or been introduced) that way. I would want them to ask my preference, I guess...but in truth my preference is to hear my name (and especially other parts' names) said out loud as little as possible. I get a weird sort of anxiety about it. I think my T has picked up on it and mostly uses terms like "my dear" and such in a way that feels appropriate. He mostly only uses my name when talking to other parts, which was confusing to them for a while, for a really weird reason I'm too embarrassed to share.
I asked my T during our initial phone call what he wanted me to call him and he said his first name to me; we also address one another by our first names when emailing back and forth. It feels more personal and warmer to me. Even though he has a PhD, he is down to earth, connecting, and attuned to me. My son saw a therapist years ago and we addressed him by his title.

DW
Hi,
T and I both address each other by our first names, but this is also part of the culture here in Finland. First names are used much more widely than I was used to coming from England. Doctors, teachers ect. are are all adressed by first name, in fact I can't think of anyone here I would use a formal title for after first introduction.

Starlight
We have always just used first names - it really never occurred to me to refer to her more formally. The only time I ever call her by her first name is if I call her on the phone. She sometimes uses my name in sessions, but strategically, because I guess she knows it gets my attention (as in, I feel..squirmy..when she says it).

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×