It’s “Annie Doe” to you

Picture of woman's head with hair hiding her face

You may have noticed by now that my last name is nowhere to be found on my blog. I am not trying to hide from the world, but, by omitting my last name, I am trying to retain some privacy. You know a lot about me; is my last name really that important?

Were I not a psychologist, I might make a different decision. Consider this: I don’t particularly want my clients, were they so curious as to wonder what I were up to, to find this blog too easily on the internet. I want to protect any client who may come upon my blog at some point. I’ve told you before I’m very careful about what kind of information I include here, and I don’t disclose everything, although I do share quite a bit.

I have, however, been increasingly open about my shortcomings and my emotional challenges as time has passed. I’m a great believer in being honest and vulnerable with the hope that others can relate to, and perhaps even be comforted by, my experience. If I were to insist that everything was hunky dory, despite the jarring news I get from doctors on a fairly regular basis, you, my discerning readers, would never believe me.

I graduated with my degree in psychology just before the social media explosion. Facebook didn’t even exist back then–I’m really old–or Twitter, or Instagram. My training did not address how to handle an internet presence, so I used my trusty ethical guidelines to sort these matters out. I can assure you I would never want my clients to know about my drunken weekend escapades (I’m a teetotaller, remember?) or me all Spocked out at the Trekkie convention (that would be my friend). You will not find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

I think you’d understand that, for my clients’ sake, I wouldn’t want my blog to be the first thing that comes up in an internet search of my name. If a client finds my blog, that’s just fine. I hope he’ll tell me, and we can talk about it. But the blog is all about me, and our therapeutic relationship is supposed to be all (or at least mostly) about you, and I don’t want that balance in sharing to shift. For this reason, I’ve held back my last name with the intent of making my blog harder for my clients to find.

I could solve this problem by creating a professional website. Some psychologists (not me, of course) used to scorn others with websites. Now having one is the rule, not the exception. I declined a website because I got leukemia when everyone else started jumping on the internet bandwagon. Creating one now would imply I’ve rehung a big shingle, which I haven’t, remember?

Oh, who cares about your obsessive rumination, Annie? Maybe staying hidden doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s time to come out already. My real name is Annie Incognito. Wow, that feels better. But don’t hold your breath for a real picture. That would be going too far.

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