Should men ever go for therapy? Should men be therapists?
Wondering what you think about this? A friend sent me a copy of an article that said there are fewer male therapists than ever before and that some men prefer to talk to another man about their problems. Now I know there are lots of fine female therapists, but this got me thinking. Do the characteristics of the therapist affect the results? Gender roles are such a huge issue in our culture. Male clients have told me it is hard for them to relate to a female therapist. Men, some men, if I may stereotype here, want to solve problems, get it done. Women seem to always want to talk about feelings, those pesky things many men wish they didn’t have. In couples counseling, I find men are willing to talk about feelings if that will make their partner happy but in fact, they would rather just solve the problem whatever that is, and get on with things. Women seem to care more about feelings than men, that Mars and Venus stuff if you will. Ever since women’s lib moved center stage men have been expecting that for women to be liberated somehow it must be their fault that the woman did not feel liberated in the first place. We are used to being blamed for a lot. But why do we need to pay to be blamed? Many in the therapy field come to the business because of healing their own hurts. Men have told me that they felt that the female therapist sided with the woman, decide it was all the man’s fault and promptly suggested that she would be better off without him anyway. This is not what they signed on for in coming to therapy. I am sure women have felt dismissed and unheard by some male therapists also. One very effective form of family therapy has been multifamily group therapy led by a man and a woman who can model appropriate behavior towards the other gender. This type of treatment is not available very often. So yes, I find that there are times when a male client will benefit from seeing a male therapist. Male children and adolescents might benefit from seeing a man who can talk about his feelings. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer men who are entering the counseling field, leaving us with a shortage of male therapeutic role models. Today I am thinking that “gender-specific treatment” shouldn’t be all about treatment for women. Last time I counted there were at least two genders, maybe more. Just my thoughts. So what do you think? Appropriate comments welcomed.
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