Why is a therapist’s gender important to you?
Each psychologist has their own unique combination of skills, aptitudes and experience which they can apply to help you achieve positive outcomes. How can you know if a psychologist is right for you?
More specifically, how can you know if your preference for a male psychologist is right for you? Will having a male psychologist make a difference?
Why is a male psychologist preferable?
It is not uncommon for people to specifically seek a male psychologist for their therapy. For example, among the growing number of men seeking therapy, many have a strong preference for a male psychologist. They may feel a male psychologist will have a greater capacity to identify with their personal feelings and their view of the world. The trend of men seeking out a male psychologist is especially strong among male patients who are starting therapy for the first time.
Does it make a different if you see a female or male psychologist?
Sometimes the sex or gender of your psychologist can make a significant difference, especially when starting out, and especially when therapy will address gender identity, sexuality, or sexual orientation. Over time, however, the gender of you psychologist will become less important to you.
Is it acceptable to specifically ask for a male psychologist?
Yes, you definitely can ask for a therapist of a specific gender. Most centres with more than one gender will even ask you if you have a preference. There are many valid reasons why you would have a preference.
You may feel more comfortable speaking about personal and intimate topics with someone who shares certain experiences because you are the same gender. Trauma and abuse in your past may also make you hesitant to speak with a therapist of the same gender as the abuser for fear it will be too stressful or triggering.
For similar reasons, men going through a painful separation, divorce or custody negotiations often seek out a male psychologist.
Women also seek out male psychologists. For example, a woman finding it difficult to form and maintain a relationship with a male partner may feel a male psychologist can help her develop greater insight and understanding about her relationship.
If you are looking specifically for a male psychologist, it may be insightful to ask yourself ‘why?’. It may also be informative to discuss your preference for a male psychologist in one of your therapy session.
There are many reasons why you may feel a male psychologist is preferable for your situation. If this is the case, you should trust your instinct. It is very possible in the initial therapy sessions having a male psychologist will help you feel comfortable and progress in your therapy. However, once you feel safe and comfortable with your therapist, their understanding, empathy, compassion and skill as a therapist will probably become far more important than their gender or any other attribute.
The best psychologist for you
Ultimately the best psychologist for you will have a history of successfully treating many patients similar to you who once suffered from psychological issues like the ones you are experiencing now.
Treatment is very private and personal so people often don’t share their therapy experience openly, even to dear friends and close family. So it is difficult to get a clear understanding about how appropriate a specific psychologist or psychological treatment would be for you.
However, many people feel so strongly about the positive outcomes from their therapy that they do share information about their experience. Some even share it openly and publicly on independent review sites, hoping their comments might help someone struggling like they were, to find the positive outcomes that they now enjoy. Reading these positive reviews can help you identify with the circumstance of the reviewer and the outcomes achieved through their therapy.
For example, Google Business contains independent reviews made by customers about businesses they have personal dealings with. These reviews are made through the customers real account, and cannot be posted anonymously.
We invite you to read the Google reviews for Larfield Psychology and ask yourself if Kelvin Larfield might be the best psychologist to help you work through the issues you face.