The Male Marriage Counselor: Does Gender Matter?

The Male Marriage Counselor: Does Gender Matter?

Should you be choosing a male or female therapist? Does it matter? It is widely understood that in the broad scheme of human interaction, women do tend to be more comfortable with strong emotion than men. But we are wise to remember that this still remains a sweeping generalization.  While it is true that women tend to be more at ease with strong feelings, comfort with emotion is essentially 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 Counselor

There are, however, certain situations when choosing a male or female therapist, choosing a male might convey a distinct clinical advantage:

  •  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 issues concerning sexuality, or if you believe your husband might have a better comfort level discussing sex with a male couples counselor, this an important 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 couples therapist. Men often have anxiety that a female couples therapist will side with his 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 is trained to talk about a whole range of feelings openly. Science-based male couples therapist are typically compassionate and trustworthy.  They are ever-mindful that they are a model for healthy expression and personal grounding for their male clients. A skilled male couples therapist will always seek to consciously model healthy adaptive behavior.
  • Suppose your husband is leery of the very idea of therapy. If your main concern for therapy 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 a no better choice for you both than a male couples 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 couples therapist may help to heal old relational wounds and negative belief about men. It could also stretch your capacity to enjoy richer 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 offer a sense of safety which often propels therapy forward more quickly. Interestingly, these requests most often come from wives who are seeking maximize their husband’s comfort level.

The most important factor in choosing a qualified male marriage counselor is science-based training and specialization.  Make a short list 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.

If You Think This is Right For You, We Can Help You Reserve a Science-Based Couples Retreat with a Male Therapist!

Call us for more information 844-926-8753 to reach me, Daniel Dashnaw, use option 2.

About the Author Daniel Dashnaw

Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.

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