Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Hi. If I've seen you over the last year or so I may have mentioned that I have been considering changing my name. Well, that is happening! I'm still here; same guy, same psychologist, just with a different name.
Why? Well, a few years ago I started writing about the big topics of change and acceptance. What and when should we accept and when should we change? What can and can’t be changed? How exactly do we accept or change? Can we do both at once and does one lead to the other? It’s a fascinating area and can be both simple and deceptively complex.
As I got further into the writing, I started applying the principles to myself in order to clarify some of the processes. One of the topics I chose to apply the process to was the sense of discontent I’ve had regarding my given names. I’ve never been entirely comfortable with ‘Roger Barrington Dunphy’. It’s not a terrible name. I’ve never loved it, nor do I don’t hate it. But I have a consistently growing sense of it not representing who I have been, who I have become, and who I wish to be. One thing I don't like about it is that it smacks a little of social aspiration / elitism / arrogance.
Now, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and a Roger by any other name would still get B.O. - names do not define us and are ultimately symbolic. However, we have language-driven thinking and are inherently social, meaning-making animals. When we name our children we take it very seriously because it’s important; we want it to suit them, we want them to feel comfortable with it, and we consider the associations we have with that name as well as how others will perceive it and use it.
I have obviously given this a lot of thought. As part of the acceptance vs change process, I’ve considered radically and unconditionally accepting the name, having an informal alternate name, or imbuing the name ‘Roger’ with my sense of self and the qualities I value. I’ve also looked at a huge number of alternative names. I've discussed it in my own personal therapy. I’ve looked at the pro’s and con’s including the risks, the hassle, putting others out, etc.
I could stay as Roger and life would be pretty much the same; that is, I would still be me, I would have that specific discord that I’ve had with the name for a long time, I wouldn’t have to ‘make a bit deal of it’, and no one would have to change their brains or their behaviour. I’ve reflected on whether the payoff is ultimately worth the effort. And I’ve concluded that, for me, it is.
I prefer the name Jack. I accept that people have always known me as Roger or Rodge and used it an uncountable number of times. If it's ‘just who I am’ to you, feel free to call me what you like. I prefer Jack but I’ll still answer to Roger, Rodge, Ramjet, Doctor Dunphy, Doctor Rodge, Doctor Dodge, or Rog-I-mean-Jack-sorry.
If you don’t change what you call me, please be aware that I will be known to others (including the government and 'the internet') as Jack Dunphy.
New professional website: www.Jack-Dunphy.com
New professional email: Dr@Jack-Dunphy.com
Sorry that you have to go to the trouble of changing your brain, but, you know, that's what I do! Maybe look at it as good practice in mental flexibility and neural plasticity. :)