It’s only recently that therapy has become a more normalized and accepted part of everyday life. Mental health issues are less stigmatized than they once were, and seeing a therapist is now something that people feel like they can do with less judgment and scrutiny.
Finding the right therapist can still be a big challenge for those seeking help. With a therapist, you’re looking for someone you can make a true and strong connection with. It is understandable to be nervous about making this connection, and you are justified in feeling worried about how to find the right person for you.
Does gender play into it? Some people feel having a male or female therapist might better help them to reach their therapy goals. Does the gender of your therapist have an impact on the help you receive? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Why Someone Might Seek A Male or Female Therapist
Therapy is a difficult thing and something that does require a great deal of patience and vulnerability. As such, it’s understandable that some patients would want to take extra steps to ensure their own comfort.
The gender of the person they’ll be speaking to might play into that.
One common reason is that a person might feel more comfortable sharing their experiences with someone who has gone through something similar. As much as a man might be able to empathize with a woman’s experience, they’ll never know what it’s like to truly walk in a woman’s shoes.
A woman seeking a therapist, then, might prefer to speak to a woman who can relate and understand their experiences through a more direct lens. This is just one example.
Some individuals might also just feel safer with a certain gendered therapist. A person recovering and working through sexual abuse trauma, for example, might be more comfortable speaking to a woman instead of a man. It can help put them at ease.
Someone may even seek out a therapist who is nonbinary or has specific experiences more related to the individual’s. Finding common ground can be a big part of building trust with another person, and it makes sense why someone would look for a therapist with these kinds of experiences in common.
Is It Okay To Want A Therapist Of A Specific Gender?
Some people looking for a therapist get nervous about their desire to see a therapist of a specific gender. They might feel as if they are being sexist, picky, or some other kind of feeling such as these.
At the end of the day, therapy is all about comfort and opening up. A person shouldn’t feel bad about who they feel they can open up to best. Sometimes, men have an easier time opening up with women instead of other men. Men also sometimes prefer to talk to other men, where they feel like there can be some common ground between them.
No matter what your personal preference may be, you should feel no shame in searching for a therapist that would help you relax and feel more comfortable.
Looking The Issue In The Eye
That being said, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings you’re having and explore them. Your preference for a specific gendered therapist may be related to the very feelings and experiences you’ll need to unpack in a therapy session.
Why do you feel as if you need a male therapist or a female one? Being able to articulate and examine these feelings will help you to better understand yourself and your unconscious mind.
Digging into these questions may even give you a lot of good fodder to discuss during your first therapy session. We all have feelings toward gender identities that might not have had the opportunity to process. Examining these can go a long ways towards opening up conversations about the relationships in our lives.
Don’t Be Afraid To Change Your Mind
It’s important to feel relaxed and open in therapy. However, you should always be open to the idea of change. If you’ve sat down with a few different therapists of your preferred gender and can’t seem to make a solid connection, it might be worth trying something new.
Seeing a therapist of the opposite gender of your preference might actually challenge you in a way that can be constructive for you. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone might actually help you to open up even more. You should not be resistant to this opportunity if your initial sit-downs with others aren’t going as planned.
At the end of the day, both make and female therapists can offer amazing service. There is no advantage that one gender has over the other in the realm of psychoanalysis. You should seek help from the person who you think you’ll be able to connect with the most.
At the end of the day, it’s the strength of this connection that will be the true determining factor in how well your therapy sessions go.
Seeing A Male or Female Therapist
If you’re looking to start therapy, it can be hard to decide between seeing a male or female therapist. The above information should help to inform your decision-making process. As long as you are comfortable with the person you pick, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made the right decision.
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