The Male Marriage Counselor: Does Gender Matter?
Should you be choosing a male marriage counselor or a female? Does it matter? While it’s most important to choose the right couples therapist, gender does play a role in the decision-making of some couples.
In the broad scheme of human interaction, women do tend to be more comfortable with strong emotions than men. But we are wise to remember that this remains an over-generalization.
While it is true that women tend to be more at ease with strong feelings, comfort with emotion is a family of origin inheritance, regardless of gender.
If you hail from a household where your dad was more expressive at expressing a wide range of feelings than your mom, you may be inclined to be more at ease sharing your feelings with a male therapist rather than a female. Your family-of-origin experience is more shaping of your degree of emotional tolerance than your gender.
When to Choose a Male Couples Therapist
Assuming your primary requirement is science-based couples therapy, There are certain situations when deciding on the gender for your couples therapist, that choosing a male marriage counselor might convey distinct clinical advantages:
- When it comes to issues of sexuality, many men are far more comfortable talking about their struggles with a male marriage counselor. If you’re a man looking for help with questions concerning sexuality, or if you believe your husband might have a better comfort level discussing sex with a male marriage counselor, this an essential factor to weigh carefully.
- If your husband is skeptical or hesitant about counseling, that’s another reason why he might feel more at ease with a male marriage counselor, even if your issues have nothing to do with sex at all. It is not uncommon for men to express the fear that it will be “two against one” with a female therapist. Men often have anxiety that a female marriage counselor will side with their wife from the very start.
- Some relationship challenges, such as stonewalling and passive-aggressive behavior, are predominantly male behaviors. A skillful male marriage counselor can often help a male client reflect on these issues with more safety because they may feel less judged.
- A male marriage counselor can also empower you with ways to connect with your husband that might surprise you. He might be a good “translator,” helping you understand your husband better and help you connect more deeply.
- A male therapist might also help him to understand you better as well.
- A male marriage counselor will discuss feelings openly. Science-based male couples therapists are typically compassionate and trustworthy. They are ever-mindful that they are a model for healthy emotional expression and personal grounding for their male clients. A skilled male marriage counselor will also be familiar with the “guy code” and how many men silently
- Suppose your husband is suspicious of the very idea of therapy. If your main concern for treatment is to find a way to help your husband to acquire skills to work with his more vulnerable feelings and to communicate these feelings more effectively, there is probably no better choice for you both than a male marriage counselor.
- While some therapists might believe that Gay male couples are naturally more comfortable with male marriage counselors, this is a “your mileage may vary” situation. I would still look to the family of origin and unresolved attachment issues with both parents.
- If you struggle with intimacy issues because of a damaged bond with your father, it could be profoundly healing to have the experience of a compassionate and trustworthy male marriage counselor. Relating to a skilled male therapist may help to heal old relational wounds and negative beliefs about men. It could also stretch your capacity to enjoy more vibrant and deeper relationships with a variety of men in other areas of your life. And this is true regardless of your gender.
- My wife and I are sometimes asked to work with a couple together in a marriage intensive. This offers a gender balance that may provide a sense of safety, which often propels therapy forward more quickly. Interestingly, these requests most often come from wives who are seeking to maximize their husband’s comfort level.
Your Marriage Counselor Should Be Highly Trained
An essential factor in choosing a qualified male marriage counselor is to select one with science-based training and specialized experience. Make a shortlist of potential therapists and check your gut. At Couples Therapy Inc., we suggest that you consider a brief phone interview to see if you are comfortable getting started.