Choosing the gender of your therapist can be tricky because there are a lot of factors involved. This includes the comfort level of clients considering the opposite gender and what they are looking for from the therapist. Clients are the experts when it comes to making decisions about their life and how they want to transform. Therapists are trained to be inclusive, understand different complexities, and create a non-judgmental and safe space. However, sometimes some clients might prefer one gender over another based on life experiences. This includes sexual health, sexual orientation, past trauma or abuse, and much more. Some clients might feel more comfortable opening up about their identity and/or sexual orientation to one gender over another. Clients sometimes have their own biases and concerns, and to make sure they are best supported, it is important to discuss it with the intake coordinator/therapist for a free 15-minute consult and clear any hesitancy or discomfort.
Due to cultural norms, for some females, it is hard to discuss their intimacy with a male therapist. Therefore, when exploring the right therapist, it is important for the client to know their needs. Not only this, when a client is trying to come out of the closet, they prefer a therapist who would have gone through a similar situation so that they are better equipped with real-life experience. The gender of the therapist is not key, but it is based on the client’s own preference. If you are seeking a therapist and are not sure if their gender would interfere in your therapeutic experience, it is a good idea to explore their qualifications and work experience to know their expertise.
There is no right or wrong answer to whether the gender of the therapist matters. What matters is if the client can fully uncover themselves and dig deeper with the therapist. If gender is an issue, it is important for the client to address the elephant in the room and explore differences. This will help the client and the therapist to know the challenges associated with gender and how it might impact the therapeutic experience. All in all, therapy is about you and if there is anything including gender that might come in your way it is important to address it right away.
Fatima Noorali is our Short-Term Therapist (Intern) and is completing her Masters’s in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University. Fatima uses evidence-based modalities and an integrative approach in order to help her clients receive treatment that is personalized to their unique needs.