When couples are considering counseling, they want the most effective counselor for their particular situation. Couples often ask whether they should see a male or female couples counselor. There is no general rule of thumb about the efficacy of a male v. female couples therapist. However, one tip may help you choose the best counselor for your unique circumstance.
Picking the Right Counselor
Typically, one member of the couple is more enthusiastic about, or generally open to, couples counseling. The other member of the couple may have reservations about couples counseling or counseling in general. When choosing a couples counselor, it makes strategic sense to specifically consider the viewpoint of the more reluctant party. Suppose the male in the relationship is hesitant about couples counseling. He may prefer to work with a male therapist, feeling a female therapist might not fully appreciate his perspective. Or he may fear his female partner and the female therapist may “gang up” on him. At the same time, the opposite may also be true. Couples counseling usually involves frank discussions about the couples’ sex life. Some males feel more comfortable discussing their sexual issues with a female therapist, whereas others may feel more comfortable with a male therapist. The key is discussing this issue with your partner before making an appointment. If the more reluctant party prefers–for whatever reason–to work with a male or female counselor, this is usually the best place to start.
A good couples counselor does not take sides. He or she should remain objective, not getting distracted by his or her gender perspective. It’s usually more about the overall quality, style and approach of the therapist than it is his or her gender. That said, sometimes the only way to know if a counselor is a good fit is to meet with that counselor. It’s perfectly appropriate to bring up the issue of male v. female counselor in the first session. After hearing about your situation, your therapist may be able to recommend whether it would be best for you to continue your work with a male or female counselor. And during your work with a counselor, if you or your partner feel that this person is not a good fit for whatever reason, you can simply change directions and pick up with a new therapist. At Whole Life Counseling, we are happy to initially match you with a male or female counselor if you have a preference. But after you meet with this counselor, if he/she doesn’t seem like the best fit, we are happy to match you with a therapist of the opposite gender.