Once you have made the decision to see a professional, you are only half way through the struggle. The other half is about actually choosing the therapist. It is common to have confusion about choosing a male or a female therapist. The biggest fear or challenge before starting a therapy is of choosing the right therapist in order to develop a healthy relationship with them. After all that you are going through, fruitless therapy sessions is the last thing you want.
It’s All About Your Comfort
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There can be a lot of factors to consider while choosing a therapist, but it all boils down to your level of comfort and trust with the therapist. That has to be the most important factor of all. Finding a therapist is all about finding a professional with whom you are comfortable taking ahead the treatment with. And the truth is that all of us have different comfort levels and may have preferences when it comes to choosing a therapist. Depending upon your key issues, you could prefer working with a therapist of specific Gender or age or even sexual orientation. What really matters is for the two of you to click. The connection you establish with your therapist is one of the determining factors if therapy will be successful or not.
Gender Can Make A Difference
You might simply feel more comfortable discussing your specific issues with a therapist of a specific Gender. There’s nothing wrong in it and it is completely normal to have such a preference. There is no denying that sometimes it is simply easier for a woman to talk to a woman, especially when topics like Gender identity, sexuality etc are involved. There can also be particular cases where a therapist of specific Gender would be preferable. Like for example, someone with a past trauma or abuse may not find it easy to trust someone of the same gender as their former abuser. It is important for you to feel safer and better understood, thus making Gender preference important in particular cases. So, in simple words, Gender CAN make a difference depending on the issue(s) that someone brings to their therapy.
But Honestly, Gender Doesn’t Matter
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It is important to go with your inclination and gut feeling while choosing a therapist. But, if you DO NOT have any such preference, please do not believe in any of the propagated myths. EVERY therapist irrespective of their gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation etc is well equipped and skilled to provide you with suitable therapy and treatment. The assumption that some type of similarities between the patient and the therapist is required or can be helpful is completely invalid.
Every individual has their own unique experiences. Thus, “shared experience” between patient and therapist in order for the therapy to work is not only an illogical prerequisite but also an impractical one. In fact, therapists are trained never to assume that they understand the meaning of a patient’s experience until they have allowed the patient to look at it from various angles.
I hope you find a therapist you can truly connect with, if you ever need one!