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Name Change as Emotional Healing

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From the U.S.: My friend suffered from a lot of emotional and sexual abuse as a child. As part of his ongoing healing he wants to change his name — as a way of leaving his past behind him. He has the support of his family in this. What we are trying to figure out is how to explain to the court why he wants to change his name — is there a psychological term for this that we could use to explain it? *I should mention he is an adult now

Name Change as Emotional Healing

Answered by on -


You should check with a lawyer, but last I knew the courts don’t require an explanation. As long as a person isn’t doing it to commit a fraud or avoid identification for past criminal activity, the courts don’t care. But, as I said, do check with a lawyer in your state.

As for the psychological level: Many people find a name change a wonderful way to separate from a painful past. It reflects a change in identity to a healthier, happier self. I think it’s a great idea.

I wish you friend well.
Dr. Marie

Name Change as Emotional Healing

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Name Change as Emotional Healing. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.