Choose a psychotherapist: he or she

Who is better to contact – to a man or woman? This is one of the first questions that we ask ourselves when choosing a psychotherapist. Is this really important, or in this matter the sex of a specialist does not matter? Experts tell.

Often future patients ask themselves and others: “I now have a conflict with my mother, should I go to a woman for a consultation with a woman?”;”I am a woman. My personal life is a catastrophe, maybe a psychotherapy man will help me better?”.

The opinion of experts is generally as follows: it does not matter. Do as you think correctly. Only the professionalism of a specialist plays a role in therapy. “A professional psychologist is firstly, and a man or woman is fifth,” Anna Varga’s systemic family psychotherapist emphasizes.

Nevertheless, the preferences of customers affect, if not the course of therapy, then the first step. “Even a waiter in a restaurant, some people prefer their gender, and others opposite,” notes the psychotherapist Victor Kagan. – What can we say about psychotherapy, which is built on a relationship between the therapist and the patient?

When the patient is already sitting in front of me, of course, I will not hear from him: “You know, I want to work with a woman’s therapist”. If this is important to him, he has already made a choice before coming to me. Usually I come across such preferences when they ask for advice on applying for psychotherapy. If a person does not talk about this, I always ask him himself before recommending someone. “.

However, the history of the healing of the soul shows that the sex of the psychotherapist may be in some cases an important factor.

Love at first sight

Let us turn to the origins of psychoanalysis. In 1880, Freud’s associate, psychiatrist, Joseph Broier, received a young patient Berte Pappenheim, known in the annals of psychoanalysis under the name of Anna O.

She passionately fell in love with him, up to an imaginary pregnancy. The scientist stopped treatment and, in an attempt to regain his lost spiritual balance, went on a trip to Venice with his wife, who became pregnant on this trip … He did not do the desire of Berta in this way – even with another woman?

A few years later, Sigmund Freud, who was at the very beginning of his discoveries in the region of the unconscious, also began to besiege the patient. Freud, intrigued by these inexplicable love impulses, developed the theory of transfer (transfers) – the special connection that is established between the patient and his psychotherapist.

Transfer – the driving power of psychoanalysis: he returns the patient the feelings and spiritual conflicts that he survived, being a child and which determine his adult life. The psychotherapist becomes for us a father, mother or ideal parent, who was missing us: this past is returning to our present.

In parallel to this, the psychoanalyst develops a counter -transperture, which is expressed in emotional reactions and bodily sensations

“For example, I can realize that this man whom I listen to has become a little girl for me,” says Diana Pellisolo, the head of the seminar about the influence of sexuality in psychotherapy. – This awareness allows me to understand that my notorious patient actually suffers from the fact that he is not a girl that his mother wanted so much. “.

Perhaps modern psychotherapists simply fall into denial when they claim that their floor does not play a big role? Freud in the work “From the history of one childhood neurosis” notes that male patients tend to develop a hostile transfer against it. And also adds that the psychotherapist man, when other men come to the reception, risks facing the hatred that they experienced for their father at 5 years old, in the Oedipus phase.

And in the work “On Female Sexuality” he claims that female psychotherapists are more likely to cause negative transfer from their patients. But, since they are easier for them to be the role of a deputy mother, they will more like their patients – both sexes – on the memories of the key moments of early childhood.

Questions for thought

“To begin with, it makes sense to find out what is the qualification and specialization of the therapist: where he studied, what methods he prefers, what problems it works with, what reviews that the therapy has been given by him,” advises the psychotherapist Victor Kagan. – If the question arises about the field of the therapist, it is useful to answer a few questions for yourself. What feelings arise in me at the thought of contacting the therapist of this sex? For example, fear.

What exactly scares? Why do I need a therapist of this particular sex? You can turn to the so -called “square of Descartes”, answering 4 questions as much as possible:

  • What will happen if I go to the therapist of this gender?
  • What will happen if I do not go to the therapist of this gender?
  • What will not happen if I go to the therapist of this gender?
  • What will not happen if I do not go to the therapist of this gender?

Games in seduction

“Women-psychotherapists admit that often patients take a rival line of behavior in communication with them, begin to multiply sexual adventures to prove to themselves that they are more desirable than their psychologist,” says Diana Pellisolo. -Many admit that their own femininity is more often questioned when they accept male clients. And sometimes they have to fight, so as not to allow the patient to start the game in seduction or in a demonstration of strength “.

As for male therapists, they explain that sometimes they abandon beautiful and seductive clients, fearing the temptation. And that they can be removed from balance, male patients who cast doubt on their masculinity. However, the psychologist is

already learning to realize his feelings in the course of education.

“If the psychologist begins to flirt with the client of the opposite sex and does not notice this – this means that he is poorly trained,” Anna Varga is convinced. “If he notices, he is not hopeless – he can go to his supervisor,” that is, to a more experienced specialist who will help him to make out this case ”.

Paul or gender?

Our experts come to the conclusion that for therapy the sex of the therapist does not matter much, but the views and habits of the client affect his choice.

“It happens that mom and son are turning for help. There are no dads, but there are three grandmothers, ”says Anna Varga. – Everyone lives together. Here it is better if there is a therapeutic man, because the boy will receive a chance to confidentially talk to the bearer of the male model of behavior. But this is not so much about therapy, but about the expansion of life experience for the boy. “.

As for adult patients, their preferences can be consciously or unconsciously related to relations in the parental family.

“Someone is more comfortable in soft supporting relationships that they expect more often from a woman,” Viktor Kagan believes, “and someone, on the contrary, in a firm male style of communication is another matter that the anatomical sex of the therapist does not determine his communication style. All these are the problems mainly on the onset of therapy, when the patient and therapist only meet. Then, if the patient and the therapist develops what is called the “psychotherapeutic alliance”, this becomes not so important to specifically talk about it ”.

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