Considering a male therapistWhile most people, if asked, will say it doesn’t matter, truth be told, lots of people think a woman is a more natural “fit” when it comes to seeking a therapist. Women think another woman would understand their issues better, while men think a woman would be more understanding and easier to talk to. But there are times when having a male therapist can make a lot of sense. For a woman, working with a male therapist who deeply listens to what you feel, validates what you want and need, and encourages you to trust yourself can be a very healing experience — especially if you haven’t experienced that very often from men in your life. Ultimately, as you feel safer being who you really are with your (male) therapist, you can start to look at and work through any self-defeating patterns you may have developed in your relationships to men as a result of past painful experiences. Also, a male therapist can give you new insights into what’s going on in the heads of the men in your life. From that, you’ll get some new strategies for getting through to them about what you want and need. For men, a male therapist offers a rare opportunity. Deep down a lot of men wish they had one man in their corner who was totally safe to confide in, someone with whom they didn’t have to pretend they had it more “together” than they felt, and could guide them without judging them. Men in general approach therapy a little differently from women and sometimes need different things. Men often want someone who doesn’t “just listen,” but helps them figure out what to do about what troubles them. They want a therapist who’s willing to hang in there and battle through the toughest issues with them, who’s willing to talk about career and work issues as well as relationships and “feelings,” and who’s willing to be straight with them and even a little “pushy” sometimes if they need it. Some of these things come more naturally in a man talking to another man. Then there’s the fact that some feelings and ways of looking at things, not to mention some issues, are simply easier to share with another man than with a woman. There’s another situation where a male therapist can be helpful for a man. Some men never felt they fit in with the way men are “supposed” to be in our society. Maybe they’re not as athletic or sports-oriented, or their emotions are closer to the surface than the average man’s. Simply growing up feeling this way can leave scars. If you’re like this, whether you’re straight, gay or not yet completely sure, you can be helped to make your emotions work for you, and feel good about being the kind of man you are by working with another man who has been where you are and resolved it. In the end, what matters most is not your therapist’s gender but what kind of person, and how skilled a therapist. he or she is. Whether you go to a man or a woman, make sure your therapist is someone who truly listens to you and is attuned to you, and who helps you find and follow your own true direction.