Why would women want to see a male counsellor?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Lee Allen Registered Member MBACP
12th February, 2010
In this article I want to explore what motivates women to see a male counsellor and what can a male counsellor provide a female client that feel they cannot get elsewhere. While both male and female clients might have no discernable reasons to pick a male or female counsellor, I have experienced many female clients wanting to work with me because I am a man, why is that I have often pondered in my sessions and on reflection of them? What I have discovered is that some women seek me out as they want to be able to trust in men and need to experience a positive male role model. This need can form part of their healing process, from quite literally what they experienced at the hands of their fathers, brothers , lovers and husbands, be it physical , sexual or psychological abuse . They want to believe and behold a softer, nurturing, sensitive and understanding man to help restore their faith in men. This can be a huge responsibility on a male counsellor to represent the good guys, one in which the counsellor needs to be genuine and willing to be with their clients struggle to heal themselves from the hurt they have experienced through their relationships with men.
Another more subtle and sometimes not fully acknowledged by female clients is their struggle to understand men, particularly in relationship to the men in their lives. They might seek a male counsellor to help them understand their man, this too can be a huge responsibility on the counsellor, as it could feel that the client has brought their man with them, and while the counsellor can acknowledge this need what he cannot do is unlock what could seem to be the clients need to understand what they feel is the dark secrets of men. It might feel like their expectation, is to the counsellor that he can be the key to help them understand these dark secrets, which he cannot do, yet he can enable his client to better understand themselves in how they can relate to men through their relationship with him.
Often what is at the root of womens difficulties in relating with men is the relationship they have had with their fathers when they where children, whether their father was distant, disapproving, uninterested , overprotective , pushy , aggressive, or he left the family home and contact they had with him was little or none existent. This developmental experience with their fathers can result in women, misunderstanding men, being mistrustful of them, choosing men who will be like their father, leading to similar experiences that can be unfulfilling relationships at best or destructive ones at worse. The Counsellors role is very much about enabling his client to accept that they cannot hold themselves responsibly for the actions of their father, that it was not their fault how their father behaved towards them , and that they have choices about who they have relationships with, and do not need to stay in unhealthy ones .The key to any shift in a persons behaviour is about perception and awareness , through this one now has available to consciousness is choices , it still may feel difficult to change , yet the process has started and it is very hard to go back to how things where . Another factor in enabling change is that the male counsellor might be mirroring to his client through their therapeutic relationship is a different way of relating with men, one which is healthy , unconditionally and acceptant , which could enable them to take back their own personal power that they have unconsciously given to men , thus helping empower them.
What is important in the Person Centred Counselling approach I have been describing is that every person who enters into counselling experiences the counsellors desire and willingness to be with them on their journey to heal themselves from whatever psychological scar they feel has been bestowed upon them, whether they feel it was self inflicted or done to them. No matter how painful that journey may be the counsellor should not shirk from being willing to be psychologically available to their client. Fundamentally it is through a genuine, empathic and acceptant relationship clients can heal themselves.
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