Does the Gender of your Psychologist Matter?
If you’re thinking about starting therapy — whatever the reason may be — finding the right psychologist is the first step.
Studies show that the bond between you and your psychologist has a large impact on the outcome of your therapeutic growth.
However, when sizing up a new therapist, you might wonder: does the gender of my psychologist matter?
Does the therapist gender matter?
All therapists are trained to be accepting, to understand various difficulties, and provide a judgment-free and secure environment. Nevertheless, based on your personal experiences, you might favour one gender over the other.
For example, some people may feel more comfortable discussing their sexual orientation/identity to one gender more than the other. In addition, some clients hold their own concerns and biases.
That being said, the majority of the available research indicates that the factor most strongly influencing whether therapy is successful is the quality of the relationship between client and therapist. The crucial elements are the degree of confidence, the quality of the rapport, and the emotional connection – these seem to be independent of gender. This means that, whether it is a woman or a man, what’s most important is that the person you will spend a significant amount of time in a room with on a weekly basis makes you feel secure, comfortable, understood, and respected.
When gender might matter
There are also many reasons why someone might have preferences based on gender. First and foremost, they might feel more at ease discussing private and confidential matters with someone who has had similar experiences. For instance, a woman may find it simpler to speak with another woman at times.
Some people might be hesitant to talk with someone who shares the same gender as the abuser due to a past trauma or abuse. For instance, a woman who has experienced domestic abuse in a heterosexual relationship might not feel safe seeking therapy from a male therapist. It might be too stressful or upsetting, which could defeat the purpose of a productive therapy appointment.
If someone is interested in therapy that addresses LGBTQIA+ or gender identity issues, a person may want to seek treatment with someone who has gone through similar gender questions or life experiences as they have. For this reason, they might look for a counsellor who identifies as nonbinary or has transitioned.
Additionally, a relationship between two people of similar identities may help the patient and therapist develop confidence much more quickly than one between two people of different identities. Building a confidential relationship may be a little simpler if you see someone you instantly identify with on a fundamental level – like gender.
I don’t know how to choose my therapist?
If you are not sure which psychologist to choose or whether you would like a female/male therapist, why not give us a call to discuss? Our friendly reception team are trained to help match your needs to the most suitable psychologist on our team and will take your gender preferences into account. Then, to make sure you are best supported, we may recommend you begin with ‘My Choice’ 20-minute consult with your recommended therapist. This brief session is a great chance to meet your psychologist, ask them any questions you might have and get a ‘feel’ for whether you might work well together.
What if I start therapy and do not bond with my therapist?
At Positive Mind Works, we completely understand the importance of a good client, therapist connection. If you begin sessions and feel that your chosen therapist is not a good match, please let our reception team know. We will ensure you are smoothly reallocated to a therapist of your preferred gender, who has the relevant experience you require.
There is no right or wrong answer as to whether the gender of your therapist matters. It is a personal decision. The key is whether you can completely open up about who you are and feel comfortable to go deeper with the therapist. If you find that gender is a problem, talk to your therapist about this. This will enable you both to understand the difficulties posed by gender and how they might affect the therapeutic process. Overall, counselling is about you, so it’s critical to bring up any issues, including gender, that might get in the way of your progress. At Positive Mind Works, we will ensure you are smoothly reallocated to a therapist of your preferred gender who has the relevant experience you require.
If you would like to book a ‘My Choice’ appointment or get matched with the most suitable female or male therapist our team, please give our reception a call on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ) or click here to book online.