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#298079 - 08/05/09 08:01 AM Therapist - male or female?
sono Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069
Hey guys, I'd like to ask those of you who have been in therapy if you had any thoughts about the pros and cons of a male vs. female therapist. It's a big question as I try to find one.

thanks

_________________________
the family
the perp

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#298080 - 08/05/09 08:20 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: sono]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1123
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Good question. My T is female, a great lady. I've opened up completely with her (though struggle with disassociation often). I'm wondering though if a male T might offer different dynamics. Sharing SSA issues for example... Hmmm.

Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#298082 - 08/05/09 08:44 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: Jim1961]
jls Offline


Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
It is a good question. For me it makes no difference so long as s/he is good at what they do and that we can connect. I would argue though that it must be harder to find a good male therapist due to it being non-traditional work for men. Regrettably as guys we are not raised to put much stock in evaluating thoughts and feelings, not as much as women are anyways. Just my thoughts. JS

_________________________
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.


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#298083 - 08/05/09 09:21 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: jls]
LilacLouie Offline


Registered: 07/02/09
Posts: 359
Loc: Utah
I have had a lot of therapists, and found the most successful to be men. Women therapists tend to minimize what I have been through and focus on what I make of it. In essence, if I quit making a big deal out of it, it's not going to be a problem.

Did I ever tell you guys that I don't like women for a reason? This is one.


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#298087 - 08/05/09 10:04 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: sono]
pseudo Offline


Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 33
Loc: Wisconsin
I prefer working with males, for the reason that there won't be awkward issues surrounding attraction. It came up with a couple of female therapists in the past, and the first time I just denied it, and the second time it was incredibly awkward and addressing the issue didn't make it go away. With a male therapist, I don't have that distraction, and I can focus on actual therapy. Though there might be value in facing those issues head-on in a therapeutic setting. Especially in my specific situation of having been abused by a girl in a position of authority.

_________________________
The sun has left the sky, now you can close your eyes, leave all the world behind until tomorrow.

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#298097 - 08/05/09 11:15 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: pseudo]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
I'd agree with jls here. my evaluation with the university service was from a great chap, ---- sadly it wasn't him I was seeing.

I will say though that I'd have difficulty if my therapist was in any way young enough for me to even feel a vague attraction to, --- to me that just wouldn't be safe, ---- that's to do with me though, not the way the therapist is.

My current T (who I've got on well with on the couple of occasions I've seen her thus far), is also a great and very streight forward lady, ---- though in her fifties.


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#298098 - 08/05/09 11:20 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: pseudo]
oriolesguy Offline


Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 106
Loc: Long Island, NY
Good question.... my therapist is a male, and he's a good therapist. I think it's tough for anyone to deal with sex abuse if they haven't been through it or at least trained to deal with it. But I also think that women can be real sensitive to the issue. For them sexual assault always seems to be out there as a possibility, remote though it might be, hopefully. So in one sense they are more aware of it than we are, on the overall. But when a guy goes through sexual assault.... I dunno. Can the male therapist see what the male patient is going through better than a female therapist can? Food for thought.

My wife, as it turns out, is also a therapist, though she knows I am going to someone she does not know. So in a way I have seen both male and female on this one. Right now, my vote is for the male, and my wife is my backup support. She understands the trauma.

Keep in mind, though, that the bottom line is that YOU have to be comfortable with whomever you choose.

Oriolesguy



Edited by oriolesguy (08/05/09 11:20 AM)

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#298109 - 08/05/09 12:18 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: oriolesguy]
sedanman Offline


Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 43
Loc: Northeast
I gave no thought to whether I wanted a male or female therapist, I just knew I HAD to start talking to SOMEONE. It turned out that I got a female therapist and am very pleased it worked out that way. I was and to a small extent still am very shy around womem. Saying some of the things I have said to my therapist with her being a woman has helped me open up to womwn in general.


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#298155 - 08/05/09 06:45 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: sedanman]
Casmir213 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 845
Loc: Northeast, USA
sono,

For me, my life has always been dominated by my mother. My upbringing was way too onesided. I had way too much mother in my life and hardly no father in my life. Therefore, I've always sought out older males as therapists so that I can sort of work on my father issues and try to get what I didn't get from my father. That's been a theme in my life, even outside of therapy.

Rocco

_________________________
I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.

WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009

My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.

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#298166 - 08/05/09 07:59 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: Casmir213]
NatureDrum Offline
New Here

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 116
sono,

oriolesguy hit it on the head. You basically want to be comfortable with your therapist. Some guys have posted reasons why they aren't comfortable with women and some feel quite natural around them. The same is true with male T's. Who do you think you feel safer with?

Another thing is choosing a therapist isn't a one shot deal. When I chose mine I said if she doesn't work out then I will find someone else. She happens to be a great match for me, but if I get to a spot where she has helped as much as she can I will find someone else if I need to.

Peace to you,
NatureDrum

_________________________
Negotiating the treaty for peace of mind.

My Story

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#298170 - 08/05/09 09:10 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: NatureDrum]
petercorbett Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2433
Loc: TEXAS
Hi my brothers (fraternal).

My view on this, and i've omly been in therapy for 1 year. My first T was a male, and he was ok, he is what I call a jack of all trades. He handles PTSD, mostly from military members in Germany. Where he is at there are military members coming back from Iraq, & Afganistan. So I presume most of his patients are there for wartime PTSD. I probably was his only child sexual abuse patient. I trusted him and gave him my full confidence. But in retrospect, I think that he was more interested in me and my wife getting along, in me dealing with this CSA. I had about 15 T sessions, before I had decided to leave Germany.

From Germany I was seeking a T that would accept me as a patient. I found one whom ONLY deals with child sexual abuse patients. And I found her in this web site, under therapists, but before she would accept me, I had to have a telecom interview. She called mre in Germany and we talked about the interview. She had accepted me and within my first week back in Texas, I had my first appointment. She and I hit it off right away, as I had no objections in telling her everything. Nothing was left out, be it SSA, homosexuality, and my abuse history. With her I had 20 sessions one for every week that I have been back in Texas. We had our differences and misunderstandings on some topics. But she had did more for getting little Pete partly out from out from the depths of darkness than my military T.

Tomorrow I start with a new T. He has been appionted as my Veterans Administration counselor. So I will have to learn on how to trust another with my secret. My fears, my emotions & my anger.

But my brothers (fraternal), I would try if possible for a T that specialises in CSA only.

Now I'm 70 tears old, and i am not bashful in telling my secrets to anybody.
That's my take on it. Hope it helps someone.

" I will take that lost boys hand, and I will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunlight forever into eternity".

Heal well my brothers/friends.

Little Pete & big Pete. but 1 (Irishmoose)

_________________________
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
____________________________________________________________
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.


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#298234 - 08/06/09 05:50 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: petercorbett]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
With me it's not to do with a discomfort woemen women, ---- most of my friends are actually female.

it's purely to do with my phobia about S. Knowing that I'm in no risk of a physical reaction whilst getting into abuse discussion is pretty important to me, ---- that's probably why I've mostly disclosed over the phone.

On a very interesting note, a lady who is a good friend of mine (and in her fifties), is now actually looking at changing her specialization to working with abuse survivers through talking to me.

she's worked as a counseler for a long while, but is thinking of changing specialties, and though we've been very firm that we're friends and not T and patient she says she's picked up an interest in helping abuse survivers through our discussions, ---- it's certainly true that she was the easiest person I've ever disclosed to, ---- though at that stage she'd just about guessed anyway.


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#298235 - 08/06/09 05:53 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: NatureDrum]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
sono,

This question of male and female therapists comes up here from time to time, with opinions falling on both sides. As oriolsguy suggests, what's best for you is what really counts. If you're not already favoring one or the other from the beginning, just go for a therapist who seems to be experienced in male survivor issues and see how it works out. You may find that there's no problem either way in your case, or as you get into the difficult areas you may find you can't talk to your T for reasons of gender, in which case you would want to see someone else.

I have had four therapists over the years: one in Germany, two in the UK and one in the USA. All were women, but that was just the luck of the draw - I never expressed a preference. If I were to see another one I suppose I would ask for a woman just because that's what I am accustomed to by now.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#298244 - 08/06/09 07:15 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: roadrunner]
sono Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069
Thanks everyone for your responses, thoughts and sharing your experiences. I'm hopefully going to find one soon and indeed one who understands this area. I'd always thought it would be too difficult to disclose this to a woman, but some of you have opened my mind on that with your positive experiences with female therapists. I'm going to still start with my gut feeling which many of you do seem to share that a guy would understand some of this on a deeper level. Great to hear some ideas about what to look for. Positive feelings, but nervous as hell!

_________________________
the family
the perp

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#298270 - 08/06/09 01:15 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: NatureDrum]
DJsport Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1742
My experience has been men have fallen asleep on me and MY current T is a wonderful professional who happens to be a female.

Peace,
DJ

_________________________
Live to your fullest potential

Never make someone a priority if your only an option

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#298275 - 08/06/09 01:57 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: DJsport]
stripthesoul Offline


Registered: 04/13/09
Posts: 10
I've been thinking about this lately, in looking for someone. In general, I've had better experiences with women, but I also had one experience of a woman denying that female abuse of men is possible at all. In general, most of my therapists have downplayed the significance of what happened to me. I hope there are people out there who won't do that.



Edited by stripthesoul (08/06/09 01:58 PM)

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#298276 - 08/06/09 02:06 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: stripthesoul]
DJsport Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1742
What is asked for was some who could work with:

PTSD

Male Survivor

Sexuality issues

I was "given" a T who said I can do 2 of 3 and I stated oh I need all 3 addressed and walked out. It was empowering to ask for what I need and demand it from professionals. NO MORE 2nd hand stuff.

Peace,
DJ

_________________________
Live to your fullest potential

Never make someone a priority if your only an option

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#298285 - 08/06/09 04:52 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: DJsport]
KENKEN Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/25/07
Posts: 762
Loc: NOTHERN COLORADO
For me, I had and have trouble "opening" up and talking about my sexuality with women. My first T was a woman and I found myself not telling all the truth/hiding the truth on how I felt. It was awkward for me as I was very shy.

I have since had a Male T. I feel comfortable around him. He has the ability to know when I am not being forward, not telling all that I feel! He has helped me so much with being Open about being gay. It is who I am. My true friends will still be my friends. The other so called friends have slipped away. All to their loss, not mine.

Ken

_________________________
I AM A GOOD PERSON, I AM A GOOD MAN

From the Movie: Antwone Fisher

***WOR ALUMNI SEQUOIA MARCH 2008***

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#298292 - 08/06/09 08:22 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: KENKEN]
1islandboy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 858
Loc: washington
Sono,

It's gonna be hard to follow Roadrunners advice (He's fast, cunning and smart).

So I guess I'll just have to draw on my own personal experience. I have had bad experiences w/men (but it's one of those luck of the draw type things)...I wouldn't rule out seeing a male T.

I have personally had better luck with women...My last T was more like my grandma (attractive and attentive enough that I felt comfortable, but not the point of distraction, from my primary purpose).


Beyond gender (for me), I think it is important to work with someone who has enough of a type B personality that will give me their absolute undivided attention and enough of a type A personality that will challenge (my thoughts and beliefs) and push me only when I am ready. (for me this is all hard to explain...

...and words wont do this justice...

...(trying)... sort of that go with your gut...do I honestly feel comfortable with where I am about to go with this person...

...and if not,the first session was just a meet and and greet and I've got to keep movin on)...


Veteran of the Psychic Wars (BOC)

island

_________________________
Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine ~ M.F. Fernandez

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#298308 - 08/06/09 11:03 PM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: 1islandboy]
M3 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 1392
Loc: Central Ohio
Hey guys,

This is a really interesting topic and I appreciate everyone's feedback. Here's my two cents:

My first attempts in recovery were with female therapists. I was too scared of men to work with a male therapist. They managed to get me to a point where I could work with a male therapist. My last therapist is a gay man - someone I could identify with and felt more safe to be frank about sexuality, dating, etc.

For me, the sex of my therapists was a MAJOR factor is deciding to work with them. I choose the female because I felt safer with a female and then choose a man because I wanted to connect with another gay man to discuss moving forward in life as a gay male survivor.

We each have our own issues to confront and our own comfort levels with the different sexes. I don't think one sex is inherently better equipped to deal with a CSA survivor, is more likely, which therapist are we most likely to work with best. It is a personal decision based on your history and comfort level. Think it through and remember, if it doesn't work, discuss it with your therapist and don't be afraid to change if you have too. But also be open to being challenged. Know your comfort zone and where you are at (and were you want to go) in your recovery.

Peace and love...

Michael


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#298333 - 08/07/09 03:45 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: M3]
Trucker51 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/20/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO
All of my 7 therapists were men except for my last therapist. My first therapist worked in the student counseling office at Cleveland State University when I attended there in 1986-1990. My 1st wife and I also used him for some marital counseling too. The one thing that was great about my first therapist was how patient that he was, as it took 9 months or more for him to gently coax 80% of my story out of me, as I was so withdrawn and frightened to release the information.

In 1997-98 Mic Hunter was my 4th therapist following 2 different therapists that I saw concurrently in the Denver-area in 1996-97, when I also attended a Wings support group in Lakewood, CO. Unless Dr. Hunter's therapy modality is substantially different for his early recovery patients I am of the opinion that it was good that I had had some previous therapy experience before seeing him in St. Paul right after my 2nd trip to Hazelden, while I was still in outpatient aftercare at Hazelden's Fellowship Hall and living in a nearby "sober" house there.

My next couple of therapists worked at Prescott House in Prescott, AZ. I spent maybe 6 weeks there in the Fall of 1999 before I got tossed-out on my ear for a very unusual reason. They were really unhappy that I had told one of my buddies that I approved of his decision to go inpatient at another rehab center that was close enough to his wife that the two of them together could have benefited from couples therapy that was offered there. I was the only "camper" out of the 28 guys there that approved and 5 minutes after the taxicab left with my buddy and his stuff I was told to hit the road myself. Prescott House is a smaller facility that is much more sensitive to money issues than Hazelden is. And I told $5000/month to follow his heart.

Margie at Centennial Peaks in Louisville, CO was my last therapist and by then I had no problem broaching sexual issues either with her or in the support group that she ran there in-house. Margie wore blue jeans and she was the type of gal that seemed comfortable discussing sexual issues. She was not an intimidating sort of gal, and I got along really well with her. After 6 & 1/2 months of once per week individual therapy and groups sessions, I shook everyone's hand and walked with confidence out into the night, almost 8 years to the day before I found this site.

Based on my own recovery experience I would recommend a male therapist to start, and one who is really patient too.

Mark



Edited by Trucker51 (08/08/09 07:53 PM)
Edit Reason: typos
_________________________
"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark



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#298343 - 08/07/09 07:37 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: Trucker51]
sono Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069
Hi guys,

Thanks to the guys who've answered since I last posted in this thread. Trucker51, that is amazing to me that you were able to go to therapy and do all of this work BEFORE finding this site. I don't think of myself as naive (I mean, come on!) but I just couldn't imagine, well I guess I could imagine, what a therapist might say if I had the nerve to bring this up. I thought sexual abuse only happened to very young children, and while there may have been some of that at home, it's the 13 and up part that causes the biggest issues ( I think). anyway I didn't mean to talk about myself. Good on you!

M3 that's quite an interesting point about the orientation of the therapist...hadn't even considered that really.

1islandboy, You made me really laugh as I imagined my grandmother as a therapist...sometime I'll be able to write seriously about her. But in the meantime, a few years ago I remembered something she would say when I was little that I didn't get at the time...it was about her sister-in-law, my great-aunt...these women were both born around 1900 remember...so grandma would say "if she had as many pricks sticking out of her as she had stuck in her, she'd look like a porcupine". couldn't work that out as a kid! So picturing that warm, compassionate person as a therapist would be a good Saturday Night Live skit I think.

this is great guys, THANKS

_________________________
the family
the perp

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#298456 - 08/08/09 07:42 AM Re: Therapist - male or female? [Re: sono]
sono Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069
update if anyone's looking:

I have found a therapist and will have my first session in a couple of weeks. For the record it's a male doctor who specializes in this field, so I am feeling very lucky and optimistic indeed! Thanks again for all the thoughts, it really helped me decide what was for me the way to go.

_________________________
the family
the perp

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