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When we look at the field of psychology, and in particular the talking therapy profession, you may notice that there seems to be a divide in the amount of male and female therapists that exist in the industry. In fact, men only account for around 20% of the students who earn psychology degrees. This has gone down by around 50% over the last four decades.
With this in mind, we need to ask ourselves, why is there a gender gap in psychology and counseling?
Cultural and Economic Influences
One of the main reasons why it’s crucial that we have a balance of male and female talking therapy professionals can be attributed to the people who need the help. Everyone has a wide variety of needs that need to be met when it comes to their mental health. Some people may feel more comfortable expressing their needs to someone of the same gender.
Patients need to have a choice when it comes to choosing their therapist. Therefore, the lack of male talking therapy professionals is concerning and may fail to meet a demand in the industry.
Female empowerment has seen a massive societal shift over the last few generations. This has led to more career opportunities and freedom in a variety of industries. In the long term, this is a very good thing and is leading the way to equality in the workplace. However, in this instance, there could be an opinion that the mental health industry is being “feminized” as there are more women than men in the industry.
Psychiatry is seen to be one of the most “male-dominated” areas of therapy, and tends to be more financially stable than talking therapies. However, it’s important to state that the suitability of a therapist for you may not depend on gender, only on the services that they provide.
Discrimination and Gender Bias
When we think about the stereotypes of each gender, our society still unconsciously pushes women towards more empathetic positions, including as talking therapists. Therapy and counseling are still molded by our societal and cultural expectations.
Therefore, it is more likely that women will be pushed into the counseling side of the psychology profession, while men, who are encouraged to be more assertive, may end up in more management or leadership roles.
It’s important that people consider the type of mindset they have when it comes to the jobs they apply for. Both men and women need to be encouraged to consider their skills and how they can develop them in the future. They need to be encouraged to consider if they would prefer to be face-to-face with clients rather than working in the background.
Ultimately, we need to let people decide for themselves what sort of career would best suit them.
Are You Ready to Join the Talking Therapy Profession?
At the end of the day, your gender will not determine how successful you are as a talking therapist. Focus on developing your skills and where you want to provide your sessions, such as in the most comfortable therapy rooms to rent London has to offer. The choice is entirely up to you!