Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's In A Name?... Redux

When I remarried I decided to change my last name...including in my professional life. This is a much more complicated issue than it may appear. As a Social Worker/Psychotherapist changing my name opens up my personal life to my patients, which in many ways can be challenging.

In fact this name change has led to a challenge and another first in this auspicious year of firsts...

My first personal experience with antisemitism.

Does one say a Shehecheyanu for this?

Without divulging any confidential information, a patient has clearly reacted strongly to my new name, this new last name which is traditionally Jewish. The comments have been unmistakeably antisemitic. This is occurring in therapy, so how I proceed is dictated by theory and professional standards, yet it still has been an emotional experience.

After dealing with my initial reaction of confusion and anger I grew to see this experience as a gift. The gift of testing my chosen faith, giving me the experience of being seen as Jewish, if even in a negative way and ultimately heightening my connection with the Jewish people.

So I guess maybe a Shehecheyanu is in order...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I see what you mean. I haven't yet experienced that so much, but more an indirect 'why would you do that?' to the revelation of what I'm doing. It's interesting and does make me feel stronger in myself, that I can manage that kind of sheer non-understanding.

Dunking Rachael

Love, Faith and Life