I’m not a sweetie!

You know how some older women, perhaps an aunt, a neighbour or even a shopkeeper say “sweetie” when talking to you and it’s not really a big deal? It’s sort of nice and they are usually showing a kind side of their personality. They’re loving. They’re friendly.

Imagine that word coming out of your psychologist’s mouth and it sounds icky and unprofessional.

I had to call Dippy, my psychologist yesterday. We’d made an appointment which happened to fall on a public holiday. I didn’t notice at the time because I’m usually too anxious to be that attentive but I noticed over the weekend so I left messages on her office phone and mobile phone. She called me back and told me that I was right, she wasn’t at work because of the holiday but apparently she had sent me a text about it. I never received it and I don’t really believe that she sent a text but whatever, that’s not the point. We arranged another appointment and she said blah blah blah sweetie. SWEETIE. I cringed.

I’m not her granddaughter, we aren’t getting together for tea and scones.

It wasn’t endearing. It felt weird. Maybe I am used to a more clinical atmosphere and relationship with therapists. I am probably overreacting. I like boundaries though. I like distance between myself and therapists. I like kindness and personality but I am not a sweetie. I am not her sweetie.

It could have been a lapse in her concentration. It was a holiday, maybe she was more relaxed and sort of forgot for a moment that she was talking to a client. She probably calls everyone sweetie, which would be fine if she wasn’t a therapist. Calling me by my name is just fine.

Am I overreacting? Has anyone else had an experience like this? Should I tell her that it made me feel uncomfortable or just hope that it never happens again?


26 thoughts on “I’m not a sweetie!

    • I think I will have to. It’s just such a hassle finding someone new and starting over. I have one more session with Dippy before I have to go back to my GP to get a new referral and apply for another six sessions. I think I’ll ask for a referral to someone else.

  1. Double S if you are not comfortable with your therapist, productive therapy will be very difficult, I am sure you know this, this psychologist doesn’t seem to be a match for you. Perhaps if you sit with your GP and go over what you felt, did not work and what you want from it, they can find you a better match.

    Feeling better today from the pill shuffle?

  2. It probably was just a slip of her tongue (guilt?) but yes, I would NOT like it if my therapist called me “sweetie”. BTW is your psychologist really called Dippy? Sorry, but I find that quite amusing 🙂
    Back on topic … boundaries are absolutely necessary in a good therapeutic relationship. A slip of the tongue doesn’t necessarily constitute a blurring of the boundaries, but I had a therapist once with whom the boundaries became blurred (not in a sexual way, but in other more subtle ways) and then he suddenly had to stop work. I was almost completely destroyed by that experience: it resulted in my longest hospitalization ever. I now ask every therapist or psychiatrist I consult what their contingency plan is for if something unexpected happens to them. I am not prepared to be left in the lurch again, without even a referral to another carer. It literally almost cost me my life once; never again.

    • I’m sorry to hear about what happened with your past therapist. I had something similar happen once where my favourite counsellors ever had to suddenly leave. I was referred to someone else though. It’s good that you ask about contingency plans, I’ve never thought of doing that.
      Haha, no, my psychologist is not really called Dippy. It’s just a nickname I have for her (behind her back, of course!) because she is pretty dippy!

  3. Actually, my mother recently said to one of my sisters, “You could call me a lot of things, but no-one would ever say I was lovely.” She’s right: she’s loving, and energetic, and helps a lot of people in a lot of ways, but she showed great personal insight when she said this: she’s not lovely. And that’s OK.

  4. I don’t think you’re overreacting. Sometimes sweetie or hon doesn’t bother me, but when a certain person says it, like a mechanic or any man basically, it really irks me. It was unprofessional of the therapist.

  5. Yeeeah I don’t think that would sit well with me either. I am okay with the pet names and such (and use them sometimes, when it feels right to do so) but not so much in a therapy setting. Mind you, some people seem to develop a very close relationship with their therapist and they hug and touch all the time. **just writing that made my skin crawl a little** I like a good hug but not really from someone I just spent an hour talking about my deepest secrets with.

    I was thinking the same as your first commenter. Maybe time for another psych? Sometimes it takes a few tries before it clicks.

    • The thought of hugging her makes my skin crawl too. We definitely don’t have a close relationship, I’ve only seen her five times! Maybe that’s part of why it felt so weird, like she is forcing closeness or something.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s